For the sake of a song

Walakandha No. 8

TRACK 1 (Kof86-3-s07) Song i: Walakandha No. 8a [103]

Sung text  Free Translation 
karra walakandha kimi-nginanga-wurri kavulh-a  The Walakandha has always sung to me and I can’t stop him 

According to Frank Dumoo, this was the first Walakandha wangga song ever composed, probably sometime in the late 1960s (see chapter 1). Like most songs from this period, the text asserts that songmen have always received songs from Walakandha, and—since the Walakandha appear unbidden in their dreams—that there is no way for them to resist this. The songman’s lack of agency in this process is indicated by the adversative pronominal, -nginanga (see chapter 3). There is nonetheless considerable evidence that once a living songman has been given the germ of a song, he does a significant amount of cultural work in order to render it suitable for the ceremonies of the living (Marett, 2005, p 45).

We do not have a recording of Stan Mullumbuk himself singing this song. The performance on track 1 is by Thomas Kungiung and others, and was recorded by Frances Kofod in 1986. This performance uses beating accompaniment that shows influence from Belyuen singers (see music analysis section for further details). Marett (2007, pp 70-72) has suggested that a number of stylistic features of the early Walakandha wangga can be traced back to the songs of Muluk in particular (chapter 5). Two earlier recordings of this song by Kungiung are included below at tracks 6 and 7 (see further discussion there).

Song structure summary


Melodic section 1

Text phrase 1

Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)

karra  walakandha  kimi  -nginanga  -wurri  kavulh  -a 
SW  walakandha  3MIN.S.R do   1MIN.ADVERS  towards speaker  3MIN.S.R lie [104]   PERF 

The Walakandha has always sung to me and I can’t stop him


Rhythmic mode 5c (fast uneven quadruple)