For the sake of a song

Duwun

TRACK 1 (Moy62-27-s09) Song 1: Duwun

   
Sung text   Free translation  

dagan mele dagaldja dagan mele nele

dagan mele dagaldja dagan mele nele

ee

karra duwun-ngana-yi

gidji-djedjet-mandha-ya

karra ka-me-yi

 

Dagan mele dagaldja dagan mele nele

Dagan mele dagaldja dagan mele nele

Ee

This came from Duwun

Where he sat down and sang out that song

That’s what he sang

 

This song, which was composed by Robert Man.guna (an Emmiyangal songman who lived in the first half of the twentieth century), belongs to a series about pörrme (Mendhe ‘sea’) made by Man.guna’s brother ‘Darkie’ Appang Wanggigi and was first recorded by Alice Moyle in 1962 at Bagot (Darwin). It is about Duwun, the island off the west coast of the Cox Peninsula known in English as ‘Indian Island.’

Melodic section 1 comprises untranslated ghost language (this melodic section is presented twice in vocal section 1, but only once in later vocal sections). Melodic section 2 comprises text in Emmi, which explains that the preceding ghost language came from Duwun, where ‘he’ (that is, the song-giving ghost) sat down and sang it. Note that the composer is here describing his dream vision. Speaking to Alice Moyle 1968, Billy Mandji said, ‘I sat down and sang the song from Duwun’ (nginen-djedjet-manhdha duwun-ngana-yi).

After every second vocal section there is an instrumental section using fast uneven quadruple beating (rhythmic mode 5c).

Song structure summary

VOCAL SECTIONS 1-4

Melodic section 1 (repeated in vocal section 1)

Text phrases 1-2

Rhythmic mode 2 (slow even)

dagan mele dagaldja dagan mele nele

dagan mele dagaldja dagan mele nele

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

ee

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 2 (slow even)

   
karra  duwun  -ngana  -yi 
SW  place name  -from  -PERF 

This came from Duwun,

   
gidji  -djedjet  -mandha  -ya 
3MIN.S.R use arms  -sit down  -song  -away from speaker 

where he sat down and sang out that song

Text phrase 5

Rhythmic Mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
karra  ka-me  -yi 
SW  3MIN.A.R say  PERF 

That’s what he sang

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 1 (follows vocal section 2)

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven (quadruple))

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 2 (follows vocal section 4)

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven (quadruple))