For the sake of a song

Karra-ve kanya-verver

CD 4, Track 11

TRACK 11 (Mar86-04-s01) Song 4: Karra-ve kanya-verver

   
Sung text   Free Translation  
karra-ve kanya-verver-rtedi kay[a-ndhi]karra-ve kak-ung-bende badjalarrribene ribene ribene ribene ribene ribene …ii aa ükarra-ve kanya-verver-rtedi kaya-ndhi  It [a breeze] is forever cooling my backAway now to Badjalarr foreverRibene ribene, ribene ribene, ribene ribene …ii, aa, üIt [a breeze] is forever cooling my back 

Here a ghost sings about its journey to Badjalarr, the Wadjiginy island of the dead. Feeling the wind on your back is a sign of the presence of a ghost. Lambudju described getting this song from a Wumymalang ghost as follows: ‘the wind’s blowing and I’m lying down here. I slept and dreamt and a maruy (Wunymalang) spirit came and sang the song. I got that picture and I sang that song’ (Marett, Barwick and Ford, 2001, pp 13-14).

The song is in a mixture of Batjamalh and Emmi: text phrase 1 (karra-ve kanya-verver-rtedi kaya) is in Emmi, while text phrase 2 (karra-ve kak-ung-bende badjalarr) is in Batjamalh. Such mixing of languages is unusual in wangga songs, but Lambudju is said to have frequently mixed the two languages in everyday conversation, perhaps because he was brought up in an Emmi-speaking family though his own ancestral language was Batjamalh. Despite Lambudju’s claim to have composed this song himself, Marett has suggested that it is entirely possibly that this song is older, being one of the songs originally in Batjamalh transmitted to him from his father’s generation via his adoptive father, Mun.gi, whose mother tongue was Emmi (Marett, 2005, p 195). This may be another explanation for the macaronic nature of the text.

Fluent speakers of Emmi assured us that text phrase 1 should end with the enclitic –ndhi (towards speaker), which would give the meaning, ‘it [the wind] is always blowing on my back,’ but it is not present in this performance, although careful listening suggests it is present when the text phrase is repeated at the end of the song. It can also be heard in the performance of this song that follows (track 12).

Song structure summary

VOCAL SECTION 1

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 4c (moderate uneven triple)

   
karra  -ve  kanya  -verver   -rtedi  kay[a  -ndhi] 
SW  forever  3MIN.A.IR.make  cool  back  3MIN.S.IR.lie  towards speaker 

It [a breeze] is forever cooling my back

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 4c (moderate uneven triple)

   
karra  -ve  kak  -ung  -bende  badjalarr 
SW  forever  away  PURP  now  place name 

Away now to Badjalarr forever

   
ribene  ribene  ribene  ribene  ribene  ribene  ribene  rib 
SW  SW  SW  SW  SW  SW  SW  SW 

ribene ribene, ribene ribene, ribene ribene …

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 4c (moderate uneven triple)

   
ii  aa  ü 
SW  SW  SW 

ii, aa, ü

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 4c (moderate uneven triple)

   
karra  -ve  kanya  -verver   -rtedi  kay[a  -ndhi] 
SW  forever  3MIN.A.IR.make  cool  back  3MIN.S.IR.lie  towards speaker 

It [a breeze] is forever cooling my back

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 1

Rhythmic mode 4c (moderate uneven triple)