For the sake of a song

Rak Badjalarr

TRACK 6 (Tre08-01-s26) Song 1: Rak Badjalarr

This performance was recorded by Sally Treloyn at Lee Point, Darwin. The performer is once again Colin Worumbu Ferguson. On this occasion Worumbu introduced several innovations to the text. One striking feature of this performance is its use of only two instead of three repetitions of the text phrase in melodic section 1. As in Worumbu’s 1997 performance, text phrase 1 is repeated at the end of melodic section 2 (vocal section 1); but in vocal sections 2 and 3 melodic section 2 is omitted altogether. Various features, including the fast doubled beating and some textual variation, remind us of Wurrpen’s 1961 performance (track 3). By this time, the CD Rak Badjalarr: Wangga songs for North Peron Island by Bobby Lane (Marett, Barwick, & Ford, 2001), which contained the Wurrpen performance, had been in circulation for seven years and Worumbu was very familiar with it. He is quite candid about the fact that he learns songs from CDs and thus it is that modern technological media aid the transmission and maintenance of these traditions. Marett (2003) discusses the role of recordings in sustaining tradition, and the fact that in terms of local epistemology, recordings are regarded as being intrinsically identical to ghosts.