For the sake of a song

Karra Mele Ngany-endheni-nö

TRACK 8 (Mar88-40-s13) Song 6: Karra Mele Ngany-endheni-nö

   
Sung text  Free Translation 
nyele nye nyele nyenyele nye nyele nyekarra mele ngany-endheni-nöngawanya-bet-mörö-gumbu ngayi yanyele nye nyele nyenyele nye nyele nyekarra mana ngindivelh-ni-bik-mi-nikan-djen-ndja-wurrikani-gulukgulukkinyi-ni-venggi-tit-ngangga-wurri kaninyele nye nyele nyenyele nye nyele nyekarra mele ka-me-nganila-ngana-yingany-endheni-nö nganya-bet-mörö-gumbu ngayi yanyele nye nyele nyenyele nye nyele nyekarra mana ngindivelh-ni-bik-mi-nikan-djen-ndja-wurrikin-verri-wut-wurri kani ya  Nyele nye nye nyele nyeNyele nye nye nyele nyeThis is for my brother nowlet me always sing it for him all night longNyele nye nyele nyeNyele nye nyele nyeYou have to always look out for my brother,who is really here now singing to usand who keeps coughingand who keeps appearing in number four leg and
singing to us whether we like it or notNyele nye nyele nyeNyele nye nye nyele nyeThis is from my brother who sang this for me now let me always sing it for him all night longNyele nye nyele nyeNyele nye nye nyele nyeYou have to always look out for my brotherwho is really here now singing to meand he keeps walking towards me 

Marett recorded this at the same 1988 rag-burning ceremony as track 4. Vocal sections 1 and 3 are in Mendhe, while vocal sections 2 and 4 are in Marri Tjavin (Mandji’s ancestral language). It is rare for songs to mix languages in this way; we may speculate that this song may have been formed from two previously independent songs, which here have been interleaved. Instrumental sections occur after every two vocal sections, that is, following the Marri Tjavin vocal sections 2 and 4.

Although there is still a great deal that we do not understand about this song—including the reason for the combination of these particular two languages—the subject matter of the two pairs of vocal sections is clearly a totemic song-giving ghost. The word for ‘brother’ (mele in Mendhe or mana in Marri Tjavin) is the relationship term used in these languages and other wangga songs to address totemic ghosts (Marett, 2005, p 114), and the reference to ‘number four leg’ evokes a characteristic of song-giving ghosts that is mentioned often in wangga songs (see, for example Muluk’s song ‘Piyamen.ga’ chapter 5, tracks 10-12).

It may be noted that there seems to be some instability in the form of the vocable text that begins each vocal section. The Mendhe expression mörö-gumbu, literally ‘buttock-foot’, is an idiom meaning ‘from top to bottom’ or ‘right through,’ which here means ‘all night long.’

Song structure summary

VOCAL SECTION 1 (Mendhe)

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 2 (slow even)

nyele nye nyele nye

nyele nye nyele nye

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
karra   mele  ngany  -endheni  -nö 
SW  brother  1MIN.PRO   now  DAT 

This is for my brother now

   
ngawanya  -bet  -mörö  -gumbu  ngayi  ya 
1MIN.A.IR.make  open  buttocks  foot  1MIN.S.IR lie  SW 

Let me always sing it for him all night long

VOCAL SECTION 2 (Marri Tjavin)

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 2 (slow even)

nyele nye nyele nye

nyele nye nyele nye

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
karra   mana  ngindivelh  -ni  -bik  -mi  -ni 
SW  brother  2.MIN.IR lie  3.MIN.M.IO  look-  eye  PURP 

You have to always look out for my brother,

   
kan  -djen  -ndja  -wurri 
near DEIC  now  really  toward speaker 

who is really here now singing to us,

   
kani  -gulukguluk 
3MIN.S.R.move  cough 

and who keeps coughing

   
kinyi  -ni  -venggi  -tit  -ngangga  -wurri  kani 
3MIN.S.R.make  3MIN.M
.REFL 
knee  bend  1/2.ADVERS  toward speaker  3MIN.S.R walk 

and who keeps appearing in number 4 leg and singing to us whether we like it or not

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 1

Rhythmic mode 4a (moderate even)

VOCAL SECTION 3 (Mendhe)

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 2 (slow even)

nyele nye nyele nye

nyele nye nyele nye

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
karra   mele  ka  -me  -nganila  -ngana  -yi 
SW  brother  3MIN.A.R  say  1MIN.BEN  from  PERF 

This is from my brother who sang this for me now

   
ngany  -endheni  -nö  ngawanya  -bet  -mörö  -gumbu  ngayi  ya 
1MIN.PRO  now  DAT  1MIN.A.IR.make  open  buttocks  foot  1MIN.S.IR lie  SW 

Let me always sing it for him all night long

VOCAL SECTION 4 (Marri Tjavin)

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 2 (slow even)

nyele nye nyele nye

nyele nye nyele nye

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
karra   mana  ngindivelh  -ni  -bik  -mi  -ni 
SW  brother  2.MIN.IR lie  3.MIN.M.IO  look-  eye  PURP 

You have to always look out for my brother,

   
kan  -djen  -ndja  -wurri 
near DEIC  now  really  toward speaker 

who is really here now singing to me

   
kin  -verri-  -wut  -wurri  kani  ya 
3MIN.S.R.make  foot  walk  toward speaker  3MIN.S.R walk  SW 

and he keeps walking towards me

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 2

Rhythmic mode 4e (moderate doubled) with Walakandha wangga cueing patterns