Nawi in Darling Harbour- 30 May 2012 Photographer- Andrew Frolows © reproduced courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum
Lingmarra

An Aboriginal Australian Chant arranged by Tom E. Lewis
Possible Translation: Calling all people
Photo: Nawi in Darling Harbour, by Andrew Frolows

I learned this song in the Goldenbridge Choir from Maggie Wheeler, whose source was the Melbourne Millenium Choir. The song has since traveled and now can be heard frequently in song circles; few people know it was written by the Aboriginal Australian performer, Tom E Lewis. You can listen to his recording with Stephen Costello and Melanie Shanahan below. I have a memory of being told that the song originated while Tom was looking for his brother after a flood; no one else seems to remember this story so it’s quite possible that the story came in my imagination through the searching, expansive feeling of the song.

Note: Don’t forget to stagger your breathing. Think didgeridoo.

Lyrics:

Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra
Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra
Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra
Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra gamba, Lingmarra lingmarra

Ehy, ya-weri
Ehy, ya-weri
Ehy, ya-weri
Ehy, ya-weri

ALL:


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LOW:


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HIGH:


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ngurunderi-comet-mega-tsunami-australian-300x274
Left: artistic rendering of the Aboriginal Australian myth of Ngurunderi, a story that contains a catastrophic flood (Source)
Tom E Lewis
Right: Tom E Lewis
Below:
Tom E Lewis’ recording with Stephen Costello and Melanie Shanahan