For the sake of a song

Karra Balhak-ve

CD 4, Track 23

TRACK 23 (Moy59-03-s01, s02) Song 12: Karra Balhak-ve (two items)

   
Sung text   Free Translation  
karra balhak-ve bangany nga-bindja-ye(repeated)ii  Older brother I am forever singing a songii 

This song, recorded by Alice Moyle at Bagot in 1959, is noted in her fieldnotes as a ‘song for Peron Island.’ This is not only the earliest recording we have of Lambudju, but it is also one of the few recordings of him singing with Rusty Benmele Moreen. It is unlikely that this song was composed by Lambudju, indeed the minor mode quality of its melody suggest that it probably derived from the upper generation of singers that included Lambudju’s father’s brothers, Aguk Malvak, Alalk and Tjulatji (Marett, 2005, p 195).

In the notes to the CD recording, Rak Badjalarr: Wangga songs from Peron Island by Bobby Lane (Marett, Barwick & Ford, 2001, pp 29-30), we were misled by a spoken version of the text given to Alice Moyle in 1962 and mistakenly identified this as a song about the brolga. Our consultants, and indeed our own ears, confirm, however, that the penultimate word is bangany (song), not belleny (brolga). The song is, however, addressed to ‘older brother,’ a term used to address Dreamings as well as actual kin. Could this have been the Brolga Dreaming?

There are two dovetailed items.

Song structure summary

Item 1

VOCAL SECTIONS 1-3

Melodic section 1

Text phrases 1-3

Rhythmic mode 4a (moderate even)

   
karra  balhak  -ve  bangany  nga  -bindja  -ye 
SW  older brother  forever  song  1MIN.S  sing  SW 

Older brother I am forever singing a song

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 4a (moderate even)

   
ii 
SW 

ii

INSTRUMENTAL SECTIONS 1-3

Rhythmic mode 4a (moderate even)

Item 2

VOCAL SECTIONS 1-2

Melodic section 1

Text phrases 1-3

Rhythmic mode 4a (moderate even)

   
karra  balhak  -ve  bangany  nga  -bindja  -ye 
SW  older brother  forever  song  1MIN.S  sing  SW 

Older brother I am forever singing a song

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 4a (moderate even)

   
ii 
SW 

ii

INSTRUMENTAL SECTIONS 1-2

Rhythmic mode 4a (moderate even)