For the sake of a song

Ya[garra] Nga-bindja-ng Nga-mi

TRACK 7 (Moy68-05-s08) Song 5: Ya[garra] Nga-bindja-ng Nga-mi

               
Sung text  Free translation 
ya[garra]  Ya[garra]! 
nga-bindja-ng nga-mi  I’m singing 
(yagarra yine nga-ve-me-nüng  (Yagarra! What have I come to do? 
nga-p-pindja-ng nga-p-pur-ing-djü-nüng)  I’m going to sing and then go back) 
yagarra nye-bindja-ng nya-mu  Yagarra! You sing 
yagarra  Yagarra! 
dawarra wagatj-maka nga-bindja-ng nga-mi ni  I was sitting on the curve of the beach singing ‘ni’ 
yagarra nye-bindja-ng nya-mu  Yagarra! You sing 

The text of this song, which is the most complex in Barrtjap’s repertory, contains the most explicit sung depiction that we have of the interaction between a song-giving ghost and a song man. Thus, in melodic section 1 (except in the truncated vocal section 1 of track 7) the ghost sings, ‘I’m singing. What have I come to do? I’m going to sing and then go back,’ and then commands the singer, ‘you sing.’ In melodic section 2 the ghost sings ‘I was sitting on the curve of the beach singing ‘ni’,’ and then once again commands the singer, ‘you sing.’

This is one of only two songs in Barrtjap’s repertory to use the unmeasured rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks). In Barrtjap’s practice, rhythmic mode 1, like rhythmic mode 2, is associated with gravity and seriousness. While this song is no longer sung today, the other song with an unmeasured vocal section, song 10 ‘Karra Ngadja-maka Nga-bindja Nga-mi’ (track 13) remains part of the repertory of Roger (Rossie) Yarrowin.

Because there are the only two examples of Barrtjap performing this extremely moving song, and because of some variation in the way that they are performed, both of the extant recordings (tracks 7 and 8) have been included here. Vocal section 1 of track 7 has a truncated form of the text; it is as if Barrtjap were working his way into the song. Moreover, the use in instrumental section 1 of a unique form of beating that moves from very fast to fast and then to slow marks vocal section 1 off from those that follow, suggesting that the truncation might be a quite deliberate strategy.

Song structure summary

VOCAL SECTION 1

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
ya 
SW 

Ya!

   
nga  -bindja  -ng  nga  -mi 
1MIN.S  sing  SIM  1MIN.S  sit 

I’m singing

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
yagarra  nye  -bindja  -ng  nya  -mu 
EXCL  2MIN.IR  sing  SIM  2 MIN.IR  sit.IR 

Yagarra! You sing

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
yagarra 
EXCL 

Yagarra!

   
dawarra  wagatj  -maka  nga  -bindja  -ng  nga  -mi  ni 
belly  beach  PERF  1MIN.S  sing  SIM  1MIN.S  sit  SW 

I was sitting in the curve of the beach singing ‘ni’

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
yagarra  nye  -bindja  -ng  nya  -mu 
EXCL  2MIN.IR  sing  SIM  2 MIN.IR  sit.IR 

Yagarra! You sing

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 1

Rhythmic mode 5b (fast doubled) followed by Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even) followed by Rhythmic mode 2 (slow even)

VOCAL SECTIONS 2-3

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
yagarra 
EXCL 

Yagarra!

   
nga  -bindja  -ng  nga  -mi 
1MIN.S  sing  SIM  1MIN.S  sit 

I’m singing

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

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

Yagarra! What have I come to do?

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
nga  -p  -pindja  -ng  nga  -p  -pur  -ing  -djü  -nüng 
1MIN.S  IR  sing  SIM  1MIN.S  IR  go IR  IR  CONT  PURP 

I'm going to sing and then go back

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
yagarra  nye  -bindja  -ng  nya  -mu 
EXCL  2MIN.IR  sing  SIM  2 MIN.IR  sit.IR 

Yagarra! You sing

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 5

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
yagarra 
EXCL 

Yagarra!

   
dawarra  wagatj  -maka  nga  -bindja  -ng  nga  -mi  ni 
belly  beach  PERF  1MIN.S  sing  SIM  1MIN.S  sit  SW 

I was sitting on the curve of the beach singing ‘ni’

Text phrase 6

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
yagarra  nye  -bindja  -ng  nya  -mu 
EXCL  2MIN.IR  sing  SIM  2 MIN.IR  sit.IR 

Yagarra! You sing

INSTRUMENTAL SECTIONS 2-3

Rhythmic mode 5d (fast uneven triple)

CODA

Rhythmic mode 5d (fast uneven triple)

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