For the sake of a song


TRACK 2 (Mar88-40-s12) Song 1: Duwun

This recording was made at a burnim-rag (rag-burning) ceremony at Batchelor in 1988. It was the one and only time Marett recorded Mandji, who was already advanced in years. We are able to compare this version with track 1, recorded over a quarter of a century earlier by Alice Moyle.

It is remarkable how little ‘Duwun’ has changed over the course of 26 years. The two vocal sections present the same text, to the same melody, using the same rhythmic modes as the first two vocal sections of the 1968 performance, right down to the repetition of melodic section 1 in vocal section 1. The most striking differences between this version and the version in track 1 lie in the instrumental sections.

Firstly, in the 1988 performance, instrumental sections follow each of the two vocal sections, whereas in 1962 instrumental sections occurred only after every second vocal section. Secondly, he used different beating patterns in the instrumental sections (see further details in the music analysis section at the end of this chapter). The reason for these changes is that in 1962 he was performing the song at Bagot for Belyuen dancers, whereas in 1988 he was performing for a group of dancers from Peppimenarti, where the Walakandha wangga is used for all public ceremonies. In order to make the performances work, Mandji chose to adopt the form of stick beating that his dancers were familiar with, thus displaying his command of the wangga style as performed across the whole Daly region.