For the sake of a song

Yendili No. 5

CD 6, Track 29

TRACK 29 (WASA23-s06) Song 16: Yendili No. 5 [138]

Sung text   Free Translation  
yendili yendili yendili yendilikarra karrila karrila yendilingatja windjeni ngumunit-nginyanga-ndjenwudi yendili ngil-dim-mi-nginanga-ndjen  Yendili, Yendili, Yendili, Yendili!Hill, Yendili Hill!My child, I have to tell you something badI have to close down the spring at Yendili 

This song is about the death of Honorata Ngenawurda, the mother of Frank, Wagon, Terence, Claver and John Dumoo, all of whom are or were key figures in the Walakandha wangga tradition. Here, her spirit appears in a dream to her son, Wagon Dumoo, announcing that because of her death, she has to close down a particular Dreaming waterhole at Yendili, causing it to dry up. As in ‘Walakandha No. 4’ (track 34), we see the country itself responding to death.

The date, occasion and recordist of this performance, which is in the collection of the Wadeye Aboriginal Sound Archive, are unknown.

Song structure summary


Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

yendili  yendili  yendili  yendili 
place name  place name  place name  place name 

Yendili, Yendili, Yendili, Yendili!

Text phrase 2

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

karra  karrila  karrila  yendili 
SW  hill  hill  place name 

Hill, Yendili Hill!

Text phrase 3

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

ngatja  windjeni  ngumunit  -nginyanga  -ndjen 
child  bad  1MIN.A.R pick up  1MIN.ADVERS  now 

My child, I have to tell you something bad

Text phrase 4

Rhythmic mode 1 (without clapsticks)

wudi  yendili  ngil  -dim  -mi  -nginyanga  -ndjen 
water  place name  1MIN.A.cut  sink  spring  2MIN.ADVERS  now 

I have to close down the spring at Yendili


Rhythmic mode 5a (fast even)


Rhythmic mode 5b (fast doubled)

D: The Walakandha wangga in the decade 1996 to 2006 (tracks 29-37)

By the mid-to-late 1990s, the singer/composers Thomas Kungiung, Wagon Dumoo and Martin Warrrigal Kungiung, as well as many of the dancers and the didjeridu player John Dumoo, had either passed away or ceased to be ceremonially active. In the early part of this period, Les Kundjil, a singer who had played a key role both in the initial creation of the Walakandha wangga and its blossoming in the golden age, emerged as the senior songman, but he was already quite old and his powers were dwindling. Before long Philip Mullumbuk, the much younger brother of Stan Mullumbuk, eclipsed Kundjil as the most active songman, composing many complex and beautiful songs and taking on the main ceremonial role, which he continued until his death in 2008.

Thomas Kungiung’s son Charles is now emerging as the leading singer in this tradition. We have some recordings of him leading a ceremony in 2009 but have not yet had a chance to work on these with him.