For the sake of a song

Wedjiwurang

CD 6, Track 38

TRACK 38 (Croc04-01-s01) Song 25: Wedjiwurang [149]

   
Sung text   Free Translation  
CHORUS: kurzi namadjawalh namadjawalh(repeated)awu kanyi-nginwedjiwurang-ga yivi-ndja kurru-kut-a-gayi kanbirrin devin-dangadja-wurl-da-niCHORUSyimurdigi na-ndjenkimelh-a-wurrimeri karru-tjip-wurringadja-wurl-niCHORUSku-muyi-ni masri-ndjen ka-niyelhi-ndjen kundjiny-vini-yanang-ga mutjirr-ga viyinang-ga ka-rri-birr-a vi-rtadi-gu ka-ningadja-wurlCHORUSnang-ga wedjiwurang-gakurzi-varrvatj-alhambudinbu na-ndjen ka-ni-thung-mi-yaKuwa-wurl-a yivi-ndjanamadjawalh-dja nang-ga yivi-ndjaka-ni-wurr-a-gu  He lives at Namadjawalh, Namadjawalh(repeated)The animal is our totemIt was the Wallaroo that went down thereAlone again, to Kanbirrin over yonder,I’m going back again(Chorus, repeated as above)Then at YimurdigiHe peeped out [from the bushes]A black man is coming towards himI’m going to go back(Chorus, repeated as above)Then, he kept coming out of the swamp to him (Emu)The two of them had a stick fightAs for that fellow, Emu, his head [got hit by Wallaroo]Emu grabbed the same stick and hit Wallaroo on the top of the spineI’m going to go back(Chorus, repeated as above)As for that fellow, Wallaroo,He was still jumpingAt Lhambudinbu he cracked open the ground and made a waterholeHe went back yonder to that place properly called NamadjawalhThat place Namadjawalh over yonder, which is his true placeThat is where he died 

This song about the Marri Tjavin totemic Dreaming Wedjiwurang (‘Wallaroo’) is structurally quite unlike other Walakandha wangga songs. In its verse-and-chorus structure it is more like an English ballad (Ford, 2007, p 76). Vocal sections comprising narrative text about the activities of Wedjiwurang in the ancestral period alternate with a chorus that asserts over and over that the ancestral Wallaroo lives at Namadjawalh. This text phrase, ‘He lives at Namadjawalh, Namadjawalh,’ is repeated isorhythmically with a single melodic section. The text phrases on the vocal section are, in contrast, more like those of other Walakandha wangga. Each text phrase is sung to a melodic section comprising only two notes. Each move from a vocal section back to the chorus is cued by the sung phrase, ‘I’m going back again’ or ‘I’m going back.’

Another unusual feature, also encountered in the songs of Jimmy Muluk, is that in some of the narrative vocal sections, the singer starts singing without clapstick beating, then introduces a very quiet tapping that gets gradually louder throughout the vocal section. [150] It is possible that Mullumbuk learnt this technique from recordings of Muluk that were circulating in the community.

Even though the quality of this recording is less than ideal, we have included it because it represents the only record we have of this extraordinary song. Despite a number of attempts, we were unable to make another recording before Philip Mullumbuk’s unexpected death in 2008. Ford has written about this song in considerable detail elsewhere (Ford, 2007, pp 76-89).

Song structure summary

CHORUS

Melodic section 1

Text phrases 1-5

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even)

   
kurzi  namadjawalh  namadjawalh 
3MIN.S.R sit  place name  place name 

He lives at Namadjawalh, Namadjawalh

Song structure summary

VOCAL SECTION 1

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks) moving to rhythmic mode 5a (fast even)

   
awu  kanyi  -ngin 
animal  totem  1MIN.O 

The animal is our totem

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even) [sticks getting louder] [5a (var)?]

   
wedjiwurang  -ga  yivi  -ndja  kurru  -kut  -a  -ga  
wallaroo  TOP  far DEIC  true  3MIN.S.R go down  go down  PERF  TOP 

It was the Wallaroo that went down there

Melodic section 3

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 5a (getting louder) [5a (var)?]

   
yi  kanbirrin  devin  -da 
farDEIC  place name  alone  again 

alone again, to Kanbirrin over yonder,

CUE [sung on tonic]

   
ngadja  -wurl  -da  -ni 
1MIN.S.IR.walk  go back  again  PURP 

I’m going back again

CHORUS

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1-5

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even)

   
kurzi  namadjawalh  namadjawalh 
3MIN.S.R sit  place name  place name 

He lives at Namadjawalh, Namadjawalh

VOCAL SECTION 2

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks) moving to rhythmic mode 5a (fast even) [5a (var)?]

   
yimurdigi   na  -ndjen 
name  LOC  then 

Then at Yimurdigi

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even) [sticks getting louder] [5a (var)?]

   
kimelh  -a  -wurri 
3MIN.S.Rpeep  PERF  towards speaker 

He peeped out [from the bushes]

Melodic section 3

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 5a (getting louder) [5a (var)?]

   
meri  karru  -tjip  -wurri  
man  3MIN.S.R travel  be black  towards speaker 

A black man is coming towards him

CUE [sung on tonic]

   
ngadja  -wurl  -ni 
1MIN.S.IR.walk  go back  PURP 

I’m going to go back

CHORUS

Melodic section 1

Text phrases 1-5

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even)

   
kurzi  namadjawalh  namadjawalh 
3MIN.S.R sit  place name  place name 

He lives at Namadjawalh, Namadjawalh

VOCAL SECTION 3

Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even) [sticks getting louder] [5a (var)?]

   
ku  -muyi  -ni  masri  -ndjen  ka  -ni 
3MIN.S.R Ø  come out  3.MIN.M.IO  belly  then  3MIN.S.R  walk 

Then, he kept coming out of the swamp to him (Emu)

Melodic section 2

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even) [sticks getting louder] [5a (var)?]

   
yelhi  -ndjen  kundjiny  -vini  -ya 
weapon  then  3AUG.A.R make  UAUG  PERF 

The two of them had a stick fight

Melodic section 3

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 5a (getting louder) [5a (var)?]

   
nang  -ga  mutjirr  -ga  viyi 
3MIN.M.PRO  TOP  emu  TOP  head 

As for that fellow, Emu, his head [got hit by Wallaroo]

Melodic section 4

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 5a (getting louder) [5a (var)?]

   
nang  -ga   ka  -rri  -birr  -a  vi  -rtadi  -gu   ka  -ni 
3MIN.M.PRO  TOP  3MIN.A.R  use hands  grab  PERF  head  back  DTOP  3MIN.S.R  walk 

Emu grabbed the same stick and hit Wallaroo on the top of the spine

CUE [sung on tonic]

   
ngadja  -wurl 
1S.IR.walk  go back 

I’m going to go back

CHORUS

Melodic section 1

Text phrases 1-5

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even)

   
kurzi  namadjawalh  namadjawalh 
3MIN.S.R sit  place name  place name 

He lives at Namadjawalh, Namadjawalh

VOCAL SECTION 4

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even)

   
nang  -ga  wedjiwurang  -ga 
3MIN.M.PRO  TOP  wallaroo  TOP 

As for that fellow, Wallaroo,

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks) moving to rhythmic mode 5a (fast even) [5a (var)?]

   
kurzi  -varrvatj  -a  
3MIN.S.R sit  jump  PERF 

He was still jumping

   
lhambudinbu  na  -ndjen  ka  -ni  -thung  -mi  -ya 
place name  LOC  then  3MIN.S.R  walk  crack open  eye  PERF 

At Lhambudinbu he cracked open the ground and made a waterhole

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks) moving to rhythmic mode 5a (fast even) [5a (var)?]

   
kuwa  -wurl  -a  yivi  -ndja 
3MIN.S.R stand  return  PERF  far DEIC  true 

He went back yonder to that place properly called Namadjawalh

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks) moving to rhythmic mode 5a (fast even) [5a (var)?]

   
namadjawalh  -dja.   nang  -ga   yivi  -ndja  
place name  really  3MIN.M.PRO  TOP  FarDEIC  true 

That place Namadjawalh over yonder, which is his true place

Text phrase 5

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks) moving to rhythmic mode 5a (fast even) [5a (var)?]

   
ka  -ni  -wurr  -a  -gu 
3MIN.S.R  walk  die  PERF  DTOP 

That is where he died.

INSTRUMENTAL CODA

Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even)