For the sake of a song

Yagarra Tjüt Balk-nga-me Nga-mi

CD 1, Track 22

TRACK 22 (Mar86-03-s04) Song 16: Yagarra Tjüt Balk-nga-me Nga-mi

       
Sung text  Free translation 
yagarra nn  Yagarra! Nn 
yagarra tjüt balk-nga-me nga-mi yagarra nn  Yagarra! My foot has swollen up, yagarra! Nn 
yagarra yine nga-ve-me-nüng  Yagarra! What am I going to do? 
nga-p-pindja-ng nga-p-pur-ing-djü  I’m going to climb up and go now 

As in ‘Yagarra Nedja Tjine Rak-pe’ (track 20), this song has two alternative interpretations. Both agree that Jimmy Bandak composed it for his ‘son,’ Jimmy Havelock. The first interpretation, given to Marett by Barrtjap, asserts that the song refers to an event when Havelock was working at Murgenella on the Coburg Peninsula. After getting an infected foot from a cypress pine splinter, Havelock had to ‘climb up’ into an aeroplane and return to Belyuen. The second explanation was that Havelock had hurt his foot in Belyuen, and had to ‘climb up’ onto a tractor in order to be taken to the clinic. This second explanation, which emerged at the time of the Kenbi Land Claim, emphasises links between the Wadjiginy people and Belyuen.

Observant readers might note that the question and answer in the last text phrases yine nga-ve-me-nung? nga-p-pindja-ng nga-p-pur-ing-djü has been translated elsewhere (song 5, tracks 7-8) as the utterance of a song-giving ghost meaning ‘What have I come to do? I’m going to sing and then go back.’ This third possible interpretation rests on the fact that the verb -bindja (-pindja) means both ‘to sing’ and ‘to climb up’.

Like ‘Yagarra Nga-bindja-ng Nga-mi-ngaye’ (track 2), this song uses moderate quintuple beating (rhythmic mode 4d). Barrtjap is the only wangga singer to use quintuple beating.

Song structure summary

VOCAL SECTIONS 1-2

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 4d (moderate uneven quintuple)

   
yagarra  nn 
SW  SW 

Yagarra! Nn

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 4d (moderate uneven quintuple)

   
yagarra  tjüt  balk  -nga  -me  nga  -mi  yagarra  nn 
EXCL  foot  swollen  1MIN.S  do  1MIN.S  sit  SW  SW 

Yagarra! My foot has swollen up, yagarra! Nn

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 4d (moderate uneven quintuple)

   
yagarra  yine  nga  -ve  -me  -nüng 
EXCL  what  1MIN.S  IR  do  PURP 

Yagarra! What am I going to do?

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 4d (moderate uneven quintuple)

   
nga  -p  -pindja  -ng  nga  -p  -pur  -ing  -djü 
1MIN.S  IR  climb up  SIM  1MIN.S  IR  go IR  IR  CONT 

I’m going to climb up [into the tractor/plane] and go now [I’m going to sing and then go back]

INSTRUMENTAL SECTIONS 1-2

Rhythmic mode 4d (moderate uneven quintuple)

CODA

Rhythmic mode 4d (moderate uneven quintuple)

yit ngayi yit ngowe yit ngowe …