For the sake of a song

Lame Fella

CD 2, Track 13

TRACK 13 (Moy 62-26-s06) Song 7: Lame Fella (slow version)

         
Sung text  Free translation 
yele mele delhe  Yele mele delhe 
yele mele delhe  Yele mele delhe 
yele mele delhe  Yele mele delhe 
yele mele delhe  Yele mele delhe 
karra kuman-na-dherr pöndör kaya yawa-ndha  He is always truly there propping his cheek on his hand with his elbow bent 

At the beginning of this track, Wadjiginy songman Brian Henda is recorded giving the following explanation in Aboriginal English to Alice Moyle, saying that the song is about a lame man. Lameness is associated with the dead, and limping movements are often included in men’s dancing. In the slow version (track 13), each vocal section comprises text in both ghost language and Mendhe. The text in Mendhe describes the ‘lame fella’ as being ‘always truly there propping his cheek on his hand with his elbow bent.’

What’s the name? Old man, lame fella. That, down this way. Old man, lame fella. Im bin very lame, when im bin lay down, im bin you know cripple fella. This one corroboree, that’s what they bin gettim.

‘What’s the name of the song? Lame man. That [comes from] down this way. This old lame man was very lame, he was lying down, he was a cripple. This is the corroboree song they received.’

Lying down leaning on one elbow and propping one’s head on a hand is associated with receiving songs from ghosts, and is a posture occasionally adopted by old men in ritual dancing.

‘Lame fella’ is performed using two contrasting tempi. In this track, the song is performed in a slow version, while on track 14 we hear a version with fast even beating (see further details in the musical analysis section of this chapter).

Song structure summary

VOCAL SECTION 1

Melodic section 1

Rhythmic mode 2b (slow even, stick beating suspended)

Text phrases 1-4

yele mele delhe

yele mele delhe

yele mele delhe

yele mele delhe

Text phrase 5

   
karra  kuman  -na  -dherr  pöndör  kaya  yawa  -ndha 
SW  3MIN.A.R poke  3MIN.M.REFL  cheek  elbow  3MIN.S.R lie  3MIN.ANAPH DEIC  really 

He is always truly there propping his cheek on his hand with his elbow bent

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 1

Rhythmic mode 4a (moderate even) with Walakandha wangga cueing pattern

VOCAL SECTIONS 2-4

Melodic section 1

Rhythmic mode 2 (slow even)

Text phrases 1-4

yele mele delhe

yele mele delhe

yele mele delhe

yele mele delhe

Text phrase 5

Rhythmic mode 2b (slow even, stick beating suspended)

   
karra  kuman  -na  -dherr  pöndör  kaya  yawa  -ndha 
SW  3MIN.A.R poke  3MIN.M.REFL  cheek  elbow  3MIN.S.R lie  3MIN.ANAPH DEIC  really 

He is always truly there propping his cheek on his hand with his elbow bent

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 2

Rhythmic mode 4a (moderate even)

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 3

Rhythmic mode 4* (moderate doubled followed by moderate even)

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 4

Rhythmic mode 4e (moderate doubled)