For the sake of a song

Bangany-nyung Ngaya

TRACK 3 (Moy68-05-s04) Song 3: Bangany-nyung Ngaya

           
Sung text  Free translation 
bangany-nyung ngaya bangany-nyung nga-bindja-ya  For a song, ngaya, I’m singing in order to give you a song 
bangany-nyung ngaya bangany-nyung nga-bindja-ya  For a song, ngaya, I’m singing in order to give you a song 
yagarra nga-bindja-ng nga-mi yakerre ye di di  yagarra! I’m singing, yakerre! ye di di 
ii  ii 
yagarra nga-bindja-ya nye nye nye  yagarra! I sing ‘nye nye nye’ 
yagarra nga-bindja-ya  yagarra! I sing 

This is one of several songs in Barrtjap’s repertory (we have already encountered one in song 1) that reproduce the words of a song-giving Wunymalang ghost singing to the songman in his dream and telling him that he has come to give him a song. When sung in ceremony by a living songman, the same words convey the fact that he, the songman, has come to the ceremony ground in order to sing the song for the dancers and audience there.

This is the most popular of Barrtjap’s songs. There are dozens of recordings of ‘Bangany-nyung Ngaya,’ sung by a range of different performers, including Marett. The song has been discussed in chapter 4 of Marett’s book (2005) in far more detail than is possible here.

The song text is almost identical from performance to performance, although as in most oral cultures, there is scope for variation: the number of vocal sections may vary (in addition to performances such as this with two vocal sections, performances with three vocal sections are also common), the precise form of some song words may also vary, and in the case of those sections of text which are set as continuous isorhythm, the number of cycles and the precise place in the text where the singer stops is also variable. For example, in this track, Barrtjap truncates text phrase 6, stopping halfway through the text phrase. Another performance of this song where he sings the whole text phrase in this position can be heard on the next track.

In most performances, the song is performed with fast uneven quadruple beating (qqqQ) for all vocal and instrumental section and for the coda, but Barrtjap’s son Kenny Burrenjuck occasionally used fast doubled beating for some vocal and instrumental sections.

Song structure summary

VOCAL SECTIONS 1-2

Melodic section 1

Text phrases 1-2

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
bangany  -nyung  ngaya  bangany  -nyung  nga  -bindja  -ya 
song  DAT  SW  song  DAT  1MIN.S  sing  SW 

For a song, ngaya, I'm singing in order to give you a song

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
yagarra  nga  -bindja  -ng  nga  -mi  yakerre  ye  di   di  
EXCL  1MIN.S  sing  SIM  1MIN.S  sit  EXCL  SW  SW  SW 

Yagarra! I'm singing, yakerre! Ye di di …

Melodic section 3

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
ii 
SW 

Ii

Text phrase 5

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
yagarra  nga  -bindja  -ya  nye  nye  nye 
EXCL  1MIN.S  sing  SW  SW  SW  SW 

Yagarra! I sing, ‘nye nye nye’

Text phrase 6

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

   
yagarra  nga  -bindja  -ya 
EXCL  1MIN.S  sing  SW 

Yagarra! I sing

INSTRUMENTAL SECTIONS 1-2

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

CODA

Rhythmic mode 5c

yit ngayi ngayi yit ngowe …