For the sake of a song


CD 7, Track 13

TRACK 13 (Mar98-14-s08) Song 5: Tjerri

Sung text  Free Translation 
karra mana tjerri(kagan-dja) kinyi-ni kavulhkarra mana tjerrikinyi-ni kavulh (kagan-dja)purangang kin-pa-diyerr kavulh kagan-dja kisji  Brother Sea Breeze!(Right here and now), he is always manifesting himselfBrother Sea Breeze!He is always manifesting himself (right here and now)The sea is always breaking at the creek, right here, like this 

In the second rendition, Ngulkur shifts the emphasis squarely onto the immanent, self-creating aspect of the Dreaming (ngirrwat). T.G.H. Strehlow maintained that the core meaning of altjira, the Arrernte term cognate with ngirrwat, is ‘that which derives from … the eternal, uncreated, springing from itself,’ or ‘that which has sprung out of its own eternity’ (Strehlow, 1971, p 614). The way that the Murriny Patha at Wadeye spoke to Stanner about the Rainbow Serpent Dreaming (Kunmanggurr) resonates with this. Kunmanggurr was said to be a kardu bangambitj, a ‘self-finding’ person (that is, ‘self-creating and self-subsistent’) (Stanner, 1963 (1989), p 249).

In text phrase 2, vocal section 1 of ‘Tjerri’ we have an expression that points directly to this self-creating aspect of the Dreaming while at the same time referencing the intersection of the present moment and the eternal, ‘Right here and now, he is always manifesting himself.’ The idea of self-manifestation is expressed by the verb kinyi-ni, which combines the third-person singular form of the intransitive verb ‘he moves’ or ‘he is active’ (kinyi) with the third-person masculine reflexive suffix (‑ni) to mean ‘he makes himself active.’ The notion of the Dreaming springing out of the eternal is carried by the auxiliary verb kavulh, ‘he lies’ or ‘he has done it forever’ and the fact that this happens in the present moment by kagan-dja, ‘right here and now’ (Marett, 2005, pp 27-28). Indeed, the intersection of the eternal and the present is here underscored even more strongly than in the previous item.

This is the item transcribed and discussed as an example of the formal conventions of wangga in chapter 2.