Chronology of recorded collections of Murriny Patha
- Colin Simpson, 1948.
The broadcaster Colin Simpson with ABC audio technician
Ray Giles visited Delissaville (later known as Belyuen)
in 1948, and made recordings there that were later
broadcast and published by the ABC (see Simpson 1948, in
Audiography, and Simpson's book
Adam in Ochre, published in 1951). A group of
people visiting Delissaville from the Daly/Fitzmaurice
region (that is, the area around present-day Wadeye)
performed 5 items from a song series in balga style about a trip in a
truck. It is likely that the non-secret song item in
balga style by a "Brinken" group recorded at
Delissaville and published in the recordings of the
American-Australian Expedition to Arnhem Land by
Charles Mountford in 1949 was also recorded by Simpson
and Giles during this session.
- W.E.H. Stanner, 1950s.
Some of the earlliest recordings of Murriny Patha song
were made by the anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner in 1954
and 1957, providing a valuable indication of performance
practice at that time. Stanner recorded a total of 14
items from Murriny Patha performers, including Joe
Birrarri Malakunda and Wagin (wangga, purratjang
balga and malgarrin genres) (information
from Allan Marett report to AIATSIS) (Marett
- Alice M. Moyle, 1962.
On one of her earliest field trips, the ethnomusicologist
Alice M. Moyle recorded a number of Aboriginal
performances at the Darwin Eisteddfod in June 1962. One
of the performances recorded mixed djanba and balga songs, led by the
Murriny Patha speaker Barney Munggin and his wife
Sugar Garbat, residents of Daly River who performed
with a group from Auvergne Station (one of a number of
cattle stations on the Fitzmaurice River where people
from Wadeye and the eastern Kimberley often worked).
An excerpt from this recording is published in Moyle
1967 (Songs from the Northern Territory 5 ).
This is the earliest known recording of
djanba songs, which according to L.
Kolumboort were first composed by his brother Robert
the year before, in 1961 (p.c.).
- Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, 1963.
Four tapes were recorded in Sydney in 1963 on the
occasion of a concert by the Aboriginal Theatre, which
toured Sydney and Melbourne and included performers from
Bathurst Island, Yirrkala and the Daly River area. The
recording includes several djanba song items (AIATSIS
tapes A1766-1769). Two of the performers (Barney
Munggin and Sugar Garbat) are the same as those
recorded the year before at the Darwin Eisteddfod by
Alice Moyle (see above). Another performer, Frank
Artu, was later recorded by W.E. Hoddinott at Daly
River in 1967 (see below).
- John Cleverly, 1966.
John Cleverly, a linguist working on Jaminjung language,
was a collaborator of W. Hoddinott. He recorded Murriny
Patha song on two occasions: Tape 6, recorded at Timber
Creek in 1966 (AIATSIS LA160B), which includes
wangga (12 items from the Jimmy Mulluk series)
and djanba (6 items) both
performed by people from Port Keats (Wadeye), and Tape
9, recorded at Bullo River station in 1966 (AIATSIS
LA158B). This tape includes 24 Murriny Patha songs
(not yet checked).
- W.E. Hoddinott, 1967.
The collection of the linguist W.E. Hoddinott includes
songs recorded at Daly River in 1967 with Frank Artu, a
Marri Tjevin man who was one of the dancers on the 1963
Elizabethan Theatre Trust tour of the Aboriginal Theatre
and who went on to become one of the main ceremonial
organisers at Wadeye. Hoddinott tapes 28-29 include 7
djanba song items and one
wangga item (performed without didjeridu),
evidently taken from the repertory of the Aboriginal
Theatre (AIATSIS A1409-1410).
- Alice M. Moyle, 1968.
In 1968 Alice Moyle undertook an extensive field trip to
record the main singers in the Kimberleys. She recorded
Murriny Patha songs on two occasions: Field tape 68/6,
(AIATSIS A2670A) includes two djanba song items recorded on
3 June 1968 at Delissaville (Belyuen) from Billy
Mandji and Philip Mileru. Field tapes 76-78 (AIATSIS
A2700AB), include 32 djanba song items recorded at
Kununurra, 28 August from Pannikin Manbi and others.
Although the songs are in Murriny Patha language, most
of them are not familiar to Murriny Patha speakers at
- Michael Walsh, 1972-74.
The linguist Michael Walsh (one of our team members)
began his linguistic fieldwork at Wadeye in 1972 (see
reference list for his publications on
Murriny Patha language). His recordings include a
total of 165 song items, of which 73 belong to Murriny
Patha genres (djanba, wurlthirri, malgarrin, Joe Birrarri
wangga), and the remainder to
various other song genres (including balga, wangga and
lirrga) belonging to other language groups
resident at Wadeye (Jaminjung, Marri Tjevin and Marri
Ngarr), or visiting Wadeye from elsewhere.
- Lesley Reilly nee Rourke, 1974-76
The lay missionary Lesley Rourke (later Reilly) first
came to Wadeye in 1974, and then returned in 1976 and on
various other later occasions. She made recordings mainly
for her own interest or at the request of performers, not
for academic study. She recorded a total of 111 song
items belonging to the various Murriny Patha genres
(djanba, malgarrin, wurltjirri, and Joe Birrarri's
wangga), and many more
wangga and lirrga songs belonging to
Marri Tjevin and Marri Ngarr people resident at
Wadeye. For further information about the Reilly
collection and its contents, see this account of the digitisation of the
collection by Linda Barwick. Copies are deposited
at the Wadeye Knowledge Centre and at AIATSIS.
- Deborah Bird Rose, 1981.
Anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose undertook fieldwork at
Yarralin (NT) in the Victoria River District in the early
1980s. During her fieldwork a circumcision ceremony was
held that included performances by a group from Port
Keats (Wadeye), who performed both wangga and
djanba songs (see Rose 1982 for an account of
circumstances surrounding the performance). Rose kindly
provided Allan Marett with a copy of her fieldtapes of
this occasion. 15 Murriny Patha songs (djanba and malgarrin) are included on the
- Allan Marett, 1988.
Ethnomusicologist Allan Marett (one of our team members)
was based in Barunga in 1988, pursuing research on
wangga. He made two brief trips to the Wadeye
area, where he recorded a total of 119 djanba song items during two
days of a circumcision ceremony at Wadeye and a later
ragburning ceremony at Nadirri. He also took
significant video footage of djanba dancing
on these occasions (on the second occasion with the
assistance of linguist Nick Reid, another chief
investigator on the present grant).
- WALC collection, 1990s.
The Wadeye Aboriginal Languages Centre (WALC) was
established in the early 1990s and coordinated recordings
of local songs, languages and oral histories. Phil
Costigan and Mark Crocombe undertook much of the
recording and organising of the collection, which also
included copies of recordings deposited by visiting
researchers such as Allan Marett and Lesley Reilly. The
collection was transferred from cassette tape to CD in
2002 with a grant from the National Library of Australia
(work undertaken in 2002-3 by Alberto Furlan). Not
counting WALC collection copies of tapes indexed
elsewhere in this document, unique WALC tapes contain a
total of 265 Murriny Patha song items (including
djanba, church djanba, wurltjirri and malgarrin).
- Allan Marett and Linda Barwick, 1998, 2001
Ethnomusicologists Allan Marett and Linda Barwick visited
Wadeye regularly from 1998, with an initial research
focus on wangga and lirrga. In 1998 and
2001 they recorded a number of ceremonial occasions that
included a total of 225 items of Murriny Patha song
(djanba, church djanba, malgarrin and wurltjirri) including 9
djanba items performed by Murriny Patha
speakers resident at Kununurra in the Eastern
Kimberley region of Western Australia.
- Alberto Furlan, 2002
Anthropologist Alberto Furlan spent a year at Wadeye
(2002-2003) undertaking research on the social
significance of song at Wadeye for his doctoral thesis at
the University of Sydney. In addition to recording a
total of 183 items of Murriny Patha song
(djanba, church djanba, wurltjirri and
malgarrin genres) on various occasions, Furlan
also digitised the WALC tape collection and collected
information and song texts on various older recordings.
The song texts and information collected in his PhD
thesis (Furlan 2005) provided a valuable point of
departure for the work of the present project team.
- Joe Blythe 2005
Linguist Joe Blythe, a postgraduate student on the
present ARC project, undertook two lengthy periods of
fieldwork at Wadeye in 2004 and 2005. In addition to
assembling information for his doctoral thesis topic "A
grammar of reference in Murriny Patha conversation", he
also worked intensively with knowledgeable Murriny Patha
performers to transcribe, gloss and translate song texts,
in the course of which he recorded several elicited
performances. In July 2005 he recorded a funeral that
included 17 song items (djanba, malgarrin and church djanba).