Agwagas Aug 3, 1972 - 37A Tierlul
Place of Recording:
Date of Recording: August 3, 1972
Performance: Cham Moses from Akobo, student 22; Obong Odiel Agwa Alemo
Informant: Omot Ochan from Akobo, student, 25; Henry Akway from Pochalla, 19, student
Date of Transcript: September 2, 1972
1 000 Agwaga.
Text: Mentions the names of the people living in the area telling chief about his poorness. Praising the chief: He’s great as a mountain. I just found a chief as great as a mountain. That is, as strong as the rocks of a mountain. Comparing him with God. Almost worshiping the chief. I came from Gilo, having no penny so I expect something from the chief like demoui. (In the village, under chief – man responsible for problems) He’s now praising this man who is second to the chief. NIKO Poor man is saying there are many riches in the assistant’s house. I don’t have land to go and farm. The land is plenteous, he came after the people had cultivated. I have no grain or anything where chani eat. Expresses in the village I have no relatives. Send people outside and survey, demanding something form the village. Encouraging the people to go out and inspect there may be enemies coming. Still praising the same man and bringing in his wife. You go see your wife, what is she doing. Perhaps preparing beer. I’m going to see the family of the chief. Maybe I can get demoui. There are people working against me, liars and so forth. Continues to praise the chief. (When a guest comes, he has to wait till something is given to him. Observe. Must wait) who could give him a gun or a cow. He a fighting some people. People are backbiters in this land, you can simply go while trying to do malicious things without getting into trouble. In your name (the chief) I swear, these songs are all my own. I didn’t try to get the words from someone else just came to this village because of you. You know that all in the village ae praising you. Assured the chief, from Abol (Near Pumo) when he came, he got one piece of demoui from the chief, and it was so nice that everybody liked it. This bead came on from this chief. Singer assured the big people of the village; the chief is strong because of you who are strong in the village. Expresses unluckiness says the new generation are blaming them…have forgotten about the chief. About respect for him. This generation who are dishonoring the chief it is good to arrest. A boy making a mistake can be arrested and fined before the vice chief. Telling someone, you are really very important to me. May have forgotten him in another song. But now is praising him. Praising the chief giving him the name DEJAZMACH. Assured the chief we can make Agwaga here until your name is heard in the other tribes. Conclusion, we have got the real chief who can we compare him with. We can compare him with the men who brought the rifles. The Italians. We have so many cattle; we can eat meat without problem.
2 061 Agwaga.
Information : Expresses à certain person. In his home, you can drink at any time. For the same chief as the song before.
Text: Praising the chief. This chief is so generous that you can’t pass by without going to his court and enjoy. I’m coming to show myself to you. Telling the chief this. All the people all the singers have become rich. It is only I who is still poor. Since your name is known among the Nuer the Dinka, etc., I have come to become rich like all others. Telling the people, who will overthrow the chief, he will be there for long, because he is the one helping the people like in a hospital, one who helps the patients. I’m tired, Hes so poor can’t help himself. Your word is your word. No one will change what you have said. The garden near the river has become larger, the chief is able to feed the whole village. Now is the time you can give the people you have all the regions under you from the North to the south. Many cows are there, everyone can eat from it. Praising somebody that thing which is in the forest is very strong and can take from the people. A title one assumes, called by that, Man is praised as being a hyena. Man is being called names. A hyena has come and taken a goat by night. (actually, this man is being praised)
3 087 Agwaga.
Text: Praising the chief, I don’t know where to go again. You have a demoui spear worth $40 to $60. If you can give this to me, I will be grateful. Since I don’t have a wife, though on the way going from village to village will always be tired and sick and thin. With a wife will be fat and healthy and settled. I don’t have a wife and so I am poor and unsettled. Making my father (the chief) to help me. Somebody is trying to block my way from going to the chief He is actually a liar. Why should he do that to me. The chief has given somebody a garden within 4 days of his arrival, the people were saying the chief was bad because of this. I say no, the chief s as good as he was before. My request to you is not for food but something to put on, something to wear.
4 103 Agwaga.
Text: He has wasted his time somewhere and is blaming himself. Had I come earlier to this chief, to whom he is singing the song, he could have gotten rich. When he arrived to this village, that chief is so (the chief doesn’t look at the face rather he looks at the stomach and sees if you’re in need. He is the best witch doctor for the stomach) Concerned for the wellbeing of the person. He has turned against the people. People asking why the singer doesn’t talk. He says my business is only to sing. If I sing to you it is our business to give a return on my songs. He praises the chief; the chief could give a lot to the poor people. In my state, I’m experienced so many good and bad things. I’m sure the chief here can make things better for a poor singer like me. The singer says I don’t take things seriously the bad things I just wash them out of my body and I am clean of them. I’m presenting myself to you I don’t expect anything that is good. Things that are great I don’t expect. But clothes that I can put on my body, that can I take. Telling the chief, since you have been so generous to all of us don’t leave me out of the category of those poor people to whom you always give and also accommodate me in your cabinet here. Join the Jo-jaa. He is turning against the people, all of the people in the village have their food. But I who am poor has nothing to eat. People are not eating in a group. He’s alone so has nothing to eat. So, you better accommodate me. Concluding: you are somebody who is so faithful to everybody and can give to any stranger food. You are the head of all the chiefs. (He is above all the chiefs).
SEPTEMBER 9, 1972
5 124 Agwaga.
Information: Fought with another village, now they want to invade that village. Are going to capture all the corn that they have. Trusting the chief that they are going to do that.
Text: They burned down that area and a certain liar is one destroying their villages. Bringing disunity between the villages. It will be related tomorrow. Those who have been cursed by a certain man named ODOL OLUAL. This man has been defending his tobacco field. How could you disturb him now and then? Now the Gallas have come (Ethiopians) Home has been captured. The ones that they invaded, praised that it was light like feathers. Very easy to do. War Song.
6 137 Agwaga.
Text: Praising one of the chiefs or the kings, saying that we have a very strong life. Against a person. A form of cursing. A great mistake has been made. He is blessing the chief. You are a fine ruler and you are going to live more. We in Pingbago hope you will continue to live. Area backbiting other people. We have been cursed by the other village and now our people are dying OWILLI is a person who has been chosen by another boy called OWAI to marry. He is praising another man. Assured his that those people are going to burn and destroy Pingbago.
7 147 Agwaga.
Information: Incomplete. The singer began and then left this song.
Text: Praising another man, when they fought the village a certain man with a bad hand was killed. The hand had been destroyed by fishing. Many have been injured.
8 150 Obero.
Information: Praising another man, a king. An Obero for a king still alive.
Text: Where shall I go to whom shall I go. I better go to Ocudho my father. Praising another man, he is like a certain cutter that cuts anything. This man (the king) is being aggressed against by certain people. People are trying to prepare certain things against him. Politics against him, but he knew what these people are doing. Starting from Gilo to Openo he is stronger than anybody, any chief, any king ruling good through thinking. Every time when I go there, I simply look into the gourd hoping that there will be beer for him. Now praising all the people. Other pig people in the village. Saying I have done no wrong (no mistakes) I still bow to you that you are my fathers and I am your son. Now mentioned another man telling him that we have been sleeping (the village). Nobody was aware of him. Because other people have become angry with the village, among themselves. Asked the chief to give him a spear, a dem, please give me a spear (dem) $60 - $40. Turned against the young boys. You the young boys enter have the discussion to those of big men of the village don’t concern yourself. In the soul of DIPA (Near Gilo River) Near Pingbago.
9 181 Agwaga.
Information: This singer gave himself to the Sudan government and he was hung. He fought the Ethiopian government and the Sudan government during the time 1949-52.
Text: All the Anuaks are blaming me that the rifle of the Italians are confusing people. (If all have rifles, the people will show aggression to each other. Therefore, confusing the people) People do not know when it will shoot. (gives a sound) (A certain king called ABULLA OGWAL, a well-known man has gone to a certain village and killed some people, and that village is called NYIWIR. Mentioned a king, the king has become angry to the certain people living around GILO and he says that the singes of GILO do not know anything. When the king comes to that place, all the GILO people plus their singes just run like women.
10 200 Dancing Song. Dudbuli.
Information: This Ochre is that once you love a girl and want to marry her, you take that bead from her. It assures her that you are going to marry her. Worn around middle. Green in color and very expensive. About 13 small strung beads. Costs as much as $20.
Text: Ask the people of the Luak (the same generation) explaining to them that he is poor. Although I am poor, I know that everybody is good when he is at home among his people. He wants those people to contribute something for him. When I was in a certain village, that village is like a forest. I didn’t know that people were against me, I knew only my poorness and I love everybody. Praising 2 people saying that there are people who are talking that the village is now corrupted and badly, but what has made the village bad? Praised a certain girl, telling her please don’t try to prevent me that bead (OKUER). Praised 2 or 3 people. Third man said, that the third man, please I know you very well and try to give me something for the dowry. Praised a certain girl, tried to put that lady’s words, the lady has been crying for him. Lady says what could I really give you. Praised another man and said, who could really blame the man in power now, after his father’s death. Supports the father of the man in power has been killed by a living thing we would have hunted for that thing. Come back to himself, asking when all your generation have married. When will you marry? Speaking to himself. Asked that man that what has overcome you, is it lady’s problem or dowry problem? Try your best, now our village has returned back to its former place. How could the song whom do you really blame? He who likes the song will give something. He's showing himself. I’ve never have stolen any person’s songs. But it has been started by my grandfather (his grandfather was a singer) I couldn’t talk of likes against you; I trust you that you can really contribute something for me. He’s sure that this lady has something for dowry, and he really hopes that the lady can give him something. Still praising other people, asking them for something to give. Now accused another tribe (an insult) a certain tribe called MURLE, saying that those popes are used to eat raw meat and don’t live like other human beings.
11 262 Dudbuli. Dancing song.
Information: He did not finish the song.
Text: Asking the old people, that he who doesn’t know rain, with what shall he cultivate. Talking to the king, I am your son. I have to ask you telling the people, the king has returned back and will be heard from all over the Anuak area. He had been taken by the government (Sudan) now has returned back. Now praised the wife of the king and assured him that we have been confused. (In their generation they were looking to one person only who should get the chance of being paid something) this king has been chosen father to remain in his place. Praising the wife of the king. Asking when shall I really get rich/ asked the king, you talk with your wives and when I come you will have completed your talks. (try to negotiate on what price can you give me with your wives) Next time we are going to dance a very big dance which will be head all over the other villages. Mentioned or praised a wife and husband. Telling the lady, it was not up to date. But this song is the real song that you are really going to contribute something to us. You are going to become our real wife. Now praised about 2-3 people, saying that what has been said by the liar before, I have never touched with my tongue (I have never said anything about it) Praising another person, I didn’t ask for poverty. It is God’s will that gave me this poverty. Other people’s feeling towards him. When they told him that you be poor, because you didn’t have any parents to take care of you. Don’t try to beg with your songs. Song is good when you praise a big person. I don’t know really if I can get something from this person. Now praised another person and asked even you can give me a person (a daughter) still asking the same man comparing himself with a vulture, if I get something, like a vulture which does not kill an animal but finds a dead animal and eats it, how could I refuse it, you talk with your wife about me. Now has praised many people, assured people that when you re poor don’t disturb other people’s daughters. Just keep quiet and look. Now told another person called AAKWAY, assured him when you leave this village, village people will talk against you but I’m your ear whenever you go. I remain as your ear. If I try to tell you what h seen said by other people some you will love and some you will cry about.
12 323 Marching Song.
Information: These people have refused fish having scales.
Text: I’m greeting all of you, you the generation of a certain man called LION. This man having this title, he is the president of that group. Now telling the people, let’s talk of this and have one decision, whatever we have talked about strongly, or promised to do shall not be left. Shall not be ignored. They found what they had been looking for. The sound of bullets shall be heard at a village called DHIRMAC. People have asked them, what have you killed. He replied, there is no particular thing. Whatever we will find we shall kill it and we won’t tell the number of what they have killed. This generation shall be counted among the top. The strongest and then they were asked, where are you going. He said we are happy we shall be marching with our shoes. We have refused this fish and we shall never eat it. He is saying that even though 4 or 5 people among us try to kill something, it is still we, the generation who has killed it. We are the first and the strongest. We have a decision that is hidden. Which means that they will never expose it until told to the chief. Greeted the chief. There are 2 groups, the first group will be leading called AWERO: A kind of bird like a duck. Black and numerous white spots, some blue on the head and no hair on the sides of head. The second group shall follow the first group called GWENO (CHICKEN) These groups shall cross the river through a certain village called ABOL.
13 350 Agwaga.
Text: Asked the chief and praising him, saying that I need to know the title given to the mother of the chief. I am ready to give a nice title. Mentioned the big people of the village accused the chief that what you preached before; you didn’t discuss it with your wives. Our village could be asked that what kind of village it is. Because it was a large before, but how did it become small? It is nothing else but death. And liars that give other people discouraged and move out from the village some died and went out. This village of OBWOA has killed some other people from another village called, DIPA and they are now saying if you want revenge, you will not succeed, we will still kill you and chase you back to your village. Now asked, when the wife of the chief talked of me, that she is going to give a certain piece called OKWER, now I trust all my sides, and got some people to cooperate with him. Now praised the chief saying that at the time that we went or when we fought near the river, some people ran like women. One of the strong people, asking this person, you get up. The fight has come we just leave some bones here. The people’s bones who are coming will be left after the fighting. Next month where shall we go. We have to go to Pinybago where people fear us. Ignoring the village called TEDO, telling them why should you look at us, you are just drunkards, the drink shall kill you. Asked a certain person, I am just a thrown-out singer. Who has no place. (there is a certain group who has gone to a village called THONY to fight, but what about this village called AKEK, I didn’t know what she is involving herself against me. This village, AKEK has come like a snake. Crawled down and can’t be seen, are not concerned with this fighting. Asked another man to give him something. He has asked a certain man to be given something, told him don’t be cheated, there is a certain type of love called AKWANTENGE (Not true love, love simply expressed without feeling) a liar is just like a chicken that mess up the place, makes holes here and there. Scratches around. He has gone back to the liar. He is telling not so many lies as he was before. Talking about the liar. When you get tired of telling lies, nobody shall hear your words and will move out from the village. I have become like a woman. Simply walks without destination, I have no place to go. No place at all.
SEPTEMBER 12, 1972
14 400 Agwaga.
Information: Calling to the chief. Paul was in the village during this fight and was about 10 at the time. Now about 22.
Text: Informing him that Anuaks have no knowledge of death, because they don’t know what would cause death. Saying: Two cocks cannot be cooked in the same saucepan, meaning, two great villages cannot be fought by one village. Talking about Illea as the third village. They are very brave, even though all the villages could contribute people to fight them, they would resist and could not be defeated. Mentioned a certain man they killed on the way just passing the village, saying that this man has died in the street like a bowl that women carry. (Anuak women carry the bowl. Drop from the head and break) Saying that their people are strong that wherever they fight they are so strong that they kill people. During the fighting, a man who had committed adultery was killed. Therefore: you who don’t have any wives, who don’t choose for ourselves, and look for other people’s wife are fit to die. We are going to cut the horns or the ivory of the elephants. Meaning we are going to kill the great men of that village. A gun has got a long arm. A rifle can go any distance and can kill but they have killed a person in a village called OKAGO. A distant village. Mentions the name of the chief, says POKETI has been unable to destroy the village, so we must make a big Agwaga for the chief and we shall declare another war. (Song from POCHALLA) Praised the chief he is like rain that simply comes and no one can stop it. Praising 2 or 3 people, saying we have to go outside and fight them in the field rather than fighting them in the village. Praised the king, saying the king has left OKAGA with sorrow. People there are unhappy because many of them have been killed. He has deceived those people. Be careful there are some people that are in the village looking for people to kill. Now informing the people, that wherever we go we will leave some bad things behind us. They commit some wrong. So, they don’t go without committing something bad. We are going to GILO and the cowards are going to run naked but the hyenas are going to run after them while eating and satisfied. The cowards are those they are fighting. And the hyenas will be eating those whom they have killed.
15 459 Agwaga.
Information: This song is from Poketi (Pokedi) against the people of Pochalla.) (Ethiopian government forces interfered in the demoui problem. Therefore, when the village began fighting while the forces were still there, they joined with the village of POCHELLO and fought against POKETI). (Village of POCHELLO surrounded the village of POKETI outside the walls of the village and prevented them from getting water from the river. They tried unsuccessfully to drill for water and so went thirsty for 3 days) After this the Gallas came. Had to run inside the village for water. And exposed themselves to spears and death.
Text: Poketi people will not be scattered by a simple thing, we ae praising the brave people of Poketi, we are going to collect all of ourselves. What has the chief of Poketi done (He might have been hurt) He is angry and this might be the reason. A crime of killing a person. This crime was not paid. They should not pay anything for the man who had died. Rather they should fight (the Ethiopian government intervened and said that 5 demoui should be paid. One was paid and immediately the people fought though no one was killed at that time. At POCHELLO but the people of POCHELLO killed some people of POKEDI that day. Accused an old man that that old man cried, so what has been caused by OGUT will cause a hard time for those people who have stayed there. (He is the man accused of committing adultery) (He is a man from POCHELLO. Song says, what the Gallas have caused has happened and they don’t like the results. We are going to kill one of the Gallas because we always fight. Praising the chief. They have punished people of not getting the water. Making them thirsty. Preventing them of get the water from the river. Now they insult a certain woman. Saying that woman haw cried. I’m very thirsty and could not get water.
16 481 Agwaga.
Information: From village of PERBUNGO when they were fighting with POKETI.
Text: Praising the chief and saying that the chief is very brave and he went to Poketi and invaded it and brought us many cows. The buffalo is at the watering place. Praising the chief. Has become very wild like a buffalo. Now one can approach him or fight him. Standing near the fence, the wall that has been made for fighting, standing surprisingly at the gate of the wall. Couldn’t be able to come to us and fight us. Now we have come normally, anybody who wants to fight us, let him go to a certain place and ambush us. Suppose you come to us. We would have left some of the bones of your sons. The child was too small for me to shoot him with a rifle until the child cried. They had captured this small boy. They beat him till he cried. If you were a big man, we would have shot you with this rifle. Those people boasting are wasting their time they won’t come to us and we won’t listen. First time, when they came, we said sit down and eat, you are our sons. Asking another man called, where were you when we burned your village. You liars are condemning each other. The father Paul’s mother is ONGOM. Against whom is this song? Those people have run until reaching a certain place called GUJUNG (People of Pochallo) we the people of Poketi are near you. This man has warned the people of Porcello. Go back to Gilo and the crimes that you have committed there. Praising the chief, you have done no wrong. God is going to help you. Whenever you fight you are going to defeat those people. We are going to defeat them and a certain man will cry saying surprisingly many people have died. People have suffered with thirst and some ran and didn’t know where to run. (Chief was arrested when he was arrested, found to be innocent, so he has praised the chief, you have come out, found not guilty, now fight for your right. Now noticed the people of POCELLO, don’t deceive us by bringing an oppressor meaning the Ethiopian government. Now told the people of Porcello, I have seen you. You can’t resist us. You are very weak. Says, indirectly some people’s farms been ruined by grass. Grass has become too much. Nobody can cultivate it. Mentions names of 2 people saying no chief can accommodate the, because all of them are criminals. One has committed adultery and one is risking his life. People of NIKANI asked the people of the surrounding area, Pochello, why did you come soon, you didn’t stay there for a long time. At the time the Ethiopian government interfered, people of Gok and others came along with the Government instead of following the government in a nice way there were looting the area, so the people of POKETI turned against them and fought them, saying you go back to your region with your government. Informed the people of POCHELLO, you have a liar there, whenever he comes from fighting, he spreads lies and he say you people of POCHELLO why don’t you come and invade us. We are now very powerful; we don’t like any other people to come and invade us. You people of POCHELLO, go away, we don’t have lame people along the river, because by that time, the man of POCHELLO was lame. Annoying that man. Get out of here.
17 562 Agwaga.
Information: Praising the village OBWOA
Text: People of many places are constructing it. I like it very much because of its corn and the big Agwaga and the beer that they drink. He has turned against people saying what if you like OBWOA like me, what are you going to do if it is destroyed. Where are you going to get all of these things? Drinking, corn, etc.
18 593 Dancing Song.
Information: Praising the chief and the people.
Text: Our great chief is going to give something to us. Who is kind like him? BUL: a part of the dance. He’s dreaming of something, he the singer, like a cow, but I’ve been singing and nothing has been given to me. What have I done, anything wrong, nothing?
19 608 Koro.
Information: A singer talks about his poorness much. Once he puts some hope in his songs, then he gains wealth. Continual talking about poverty. They don’t get the chance and often die very poor. This singer is not a good singer. The performer uses insults. Talks of his poorness. A well-known singer. His songs will gain great recognition. One who doesn’t sing well doesn’t get anything.
Text: We the young boys of OBWOA have come back to OBWOA, and OBWOA has gone back to its former place the goodness that it was. We are brave and strong. Mentions the names of the girls. Beautiful ones. Mentions another woman, I’m sure I’m going to get something from you. I’m singing this song because of you, so you contribute something for it. Mentions another person, I’ll be glad and happy like honey. What has been promised must be fulfilled, like our wife. A certain woman. Whenever she pounds it gives a very big sound. A coward would run at that sound saying it is the sound of a bullet. Mentions a certain woman she is a hard worker. She could feed all the people. Praising 2 people. After my mother’s death I was just left without anybody, that’s why I’m still roaming. Because of my poorness. If I had a sister I could get demoui so I could marry. Talking about a certain liar. Insulting him. Look at this liar. Making many problems. Forget what I have done. Forget I’m talking about my girlfriend My songs I do sing, but I gain no reward. I’m not paid anything.