For the sake of a song

Truwu [Truwu A melody]

CD 5, Track 16

TRACK 16 (Mar88-39-s02) Song 5: Truwu [Truwu A melody] [124]

   
Sung text   Free Translation  
karra walakandha purangang kuwa-vapa-winyangatruwu nidin-ngin-a walakandhakarra munggum kimelha kuwa karrivirrilhyitruwu nidin-ngin-a walakandhakarra walakandha  Walakandha! The waves are crashing on themTruwu! My dear country! Walakandha!Munggum! He stands behind a beach hibiscus and peeps outTruwu! My dear country! Walakandha!Walakandha! 

This most popular and enduring song of the Walakandha wangga repertory was composed by Thomas Kungiung. It refers to a specific Walakandha, a deceased ancestor called Munggum (the father of Bruno Munggum Berrida), who flourished around the turn of the twentieth century (also mentioned in ‘Walakandha No. 4’ (track 35)). Here Munggum stands behind a beach hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus) at Truwu beach and regards his descendants—whom he refers to as ‘Walakandha’ (see the notes to the previous track)—being battered by the waves. Waves in this case stand for the exigencies of life. When sung in the context of a mortuary ritual the song stands as an expression of ancestral sympathy for the pain being suffered by the living as they mourn a dead relative. This performance was recorded by Allan Marett at a burnim-rag ceremony held at Nadirri on 19 June 1988, and is discussed in detail in Songs, dreamings and ghosts (Marett, 2005, pp 112-116).

The text of ‘Truwu’ is sung to three different but related melodies. Marri Tjavin people whose traditional estates lie at the coast (such as Thomas Kungiung, heard here) perform the song to the Truwu A melody. This was the most frequently used melody for this song during the golden age (see further Marett, 2005, pp 117-20). The other two melodies, Truwu B and Truwu A/B, can be heard in tracks 17 and 18 respectively.

Song structure summary

VOCAL SECTIONS 1-3

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
karra  walakandha  purangang  kuwa  -vapa  -winyanga 
SW  walakandha  sea  3MIN.S.R stand  crash  3AUG.ADVERS 

Walakandha! The waves are crashing on them

   
truwu   nidin  -ngin  -a  walakandha 
place name  country  1MIN.O  PERF  walakandha 

Truwu! My dear country! Walakandha!

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
karra  munggum  kimelha  kuwa  karrivirrilhyi 
SW  person's name  3MIN.peep out  3MIN.S.R stand  beach hibiscus 

Munggum! He stands behind a beach hibiscus and peeps out

   
truwu   nidin  -ngin  -a  walakandha 
place name  country  1MIN.O  PERF  walakandha 

Truwu! My dear country! Walakandha!

Melodic section 3 (lower octave; vocal section 1 only)

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

   
karra  walakandha 
SW  walakandha 

Walakandha!

INSTRUMENTAL SECTIONS 1-2

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even)

INSTRUMENTAL SECTION 3

Rhythmic mode 5b (fast doubled)