For the sake of a song


CD 7, Track 12

TRACK 12 (Mar98-14-s07) Song 5: Tjerri

Sung text  Free Translation 
karra mana tjerriwumburri kin-pa-diyerrkayirr-a kagan-dja kisjikarra mana tjerrikin-pa diyerr kavulhpurangang kisjikarra mana tjerrikagan-(dja) mana tjerri kin-pa diyerrkarra mana tjerrikin-pa diyerr kavulhpurangang kagan-dja kisji  Brother Sea Breeze!The wave is breaking at the creekAll along! In this place here! Like this!Brother Sea Breeze!It is always breaking at the creekThe sea! Like this!Brother Sea Breeze!In this place here, brother! It is breaking at the creekBrother Sea Breeze!It is always breaking at the creekThe sea! In this place here! Like this! 

‘Tjerri’ refers both to the Dreaming (ngirrwat) for Sea Breeze, which is addressed as ‘elder brother’ (mana), and to its Dreaming site (kigatiya), a beach not far from Pumurriyi in the south of Marri Ammu country. During the didjeridu introduction, Ngulkur announces, ‘Now I’m going to take up “Sea Breeze.” It’s our Dreaming.’ In this rendition of the song, Ngulkur focuses on the waves that break at the creek mouth as a result of the action of this Dreaming. Notice how the song text emphasises both the immediacy of the Dreaming in the present moment—‘All along! In this place here! Just like this’—as well as the aspect of ancestral power deposited in that place at the beginning of time—‘It is always breaking right here at the creek’ (literally ‘it lies here [from the beginning] breaking right along the creek’).

Here the dominant Ma-yawa wangga melody is rendered in an unmeasured and elaborated, often melismatic, form, which is fitted to the highly variable text in the moment of performance.