Agwagas July 25, 1972 - 27A Pokwo

01 Track 1.mp3

Recording #27A

Place of Recording: Pokwo

Date of Recording: July 25, 1972

Performance: Olok Okae from Cham


Date of Transcript: August 4, 1972

1 000 Agwaga.

Information: Cham has another name; they are taking the name of an animal. Believe in they take the name of bees (KEETCH) they believe that their grandfathers believe in that as God. Believe in their ancestors. Area of Nikane is mentioned.

Text: Cham fought the Ethiopians. Repeats the song.

2 062 Agwaga.

Information: These are old songs, the oldest Agwagas existing. The dancing songs, love songs die out quickly but Agwagas are remembered. These are special songs in all villages that are to be sung before attack or succeeded to do something. A hunt for example. These are the old songs, blessing songs. OLOW. When a man dies, he might have a special spear. Then when he talks to his friend tells the people what the dead many says. He will mention the name of the spear or rifle that he loved or likes or with which he killed a lot of things.

Text: He mentions the spear. Will mention the favorite song and take the rifle or spear. This is OLOW also.

3 082 Agwaga.

Information: This song is against the village that the village Cham was enemy of. If they really mean it, they will stop all villages from passing through Cham. Other villages thought that Cham would be destroyed. Many villages were against Cham at this time.

Text: They said no they would not be destroyed. They mention that when the Anuaks believe that other people killed others, poisoning those of Cham said that wouldn’t do that. When the don’t like someone could go out and said that man should die. That man will die. They were against poisoning.

4 135 Agwaga.

Information: Song is made to a certain chief.

Text: He is begging something from the chief. They praised their village of Cham There were no cowards.

5 160 Agwaga.

Information: Keetch: people who made arms. Considered the white men as making arms factories. Jurmac or Jurmach. This they called the white man. They fought the white man. The Italians. Even at that time they were fighting the Ethiopians and other powers. We’re fighting alone were not united with any others. The worst part of Anuak life is unable to unite with others. Even in the Sudan, the Egyptians were left in the hand of Okway. He was left alone to fight the Egyptian troops and therefore defeated. Division brought by their many leaders. Chief and Nuers. If ruled by one man then it would be easy to unite. Since any small village has its own leader, do not go together. Many leaders. No unity Still don’t work together. A repetition of a song sung previously.

6 301 Agwaga.

Information: Fought villages on river Gilo collected themselves and planned for an attack on Cham. They agreed all and went and attacked Cham to crush it. Cham defeated the collective villages.

Text: They seem a very small village but they will not be defeated. Go back to your villages and advise your sons not to come again.

ANUAK Project: FIELD NOTES – July 25, 1972

Retyped: June 12, 2019

1:00 We arrive at our place of recording at Pokwo and meet with a man who has come up river earlier in the day. He has come with the express purpose of singing. He is an older man, very dignified in appearance proud in bearing and very ready to sing. He is a singer from a village where he is no longer living. Therefore, it has been a long while since he has been able to lead a people in singing. The songs he knows are not known by the village where he is at present living. In addition, being a foreigner to the village where he is living now, he has not been called on to sing. And so, he is coming full of songs and anxious to begin.

We sit down immediately and he seats himself on the mat in front of us and begins with great power and fervency. As he continues one song after another, the sweat begins to pour off his face and down his short beard. He lifts his shirt to cool himself but he keeps on singing. The only reason he stops at first is for me to change tapes.

Rain interrupts our efforts and so we move under the protection of the clinic roof. And the singing goes on until 4:30. By this time, he is obviously tired though not as tired as we are and the session ends. He would have continued if encouraged to do so but he was anxious about starting down the path back to his home again. The following towns are represented in his songs. He sings the songs in groups, first from one town and then from another: Cam, Nyigila, Oedo, Ojalo, Adongo, Pocala, Okadi. (Recheck these spellings.) The gentleman’s name is Olok Okae.

We pay him $5.00 for his efforts.


35 4F 13’ 125x closeup of man singing.

36 4F 3 ½ ‘125x Closeup of man’s face.

0 2.8F 3’ 25x closeup of man’s face at different angle.

1 2.8-1.4 3’ 60x same as 0 except camera on end.

This was an extremely profitable day as far as quantity of songs sung, the authority’s nature of the singing and most important, the wide range of villages represented.

Recording #27A2

Place of Recording: Pokwo

Date of Recording: July 25, 1972

Performance: Olok Okae from Cham

Informant: Agwa Alemo

Date of Transcript: February 3, 1973

1 000 Agwaga.

Information: A leader called Warabwoola. (He had engaged a beautiful girl from Cham. The King of Cham also wanted to engage the girl. Because of this, Warabwoola wanted to fight against the king of Cham.) The man who produced this song, appreciated the king of Cham because of what he has done before. (In the village, when one village wants to attack another, they will call a meeting and agree upon a time that they are going to attack that village. Before morning. (When people want to go to war, at 9:30 when they call for meeting, they will say something a sort of prayer. God if we are mistaken when we got war, we will be defeated, if not give us strength to defeat them. General idea of the song is the war started between the two villages because of the girl. The idea is throughout the song he made this song before to inform the people what the other village had done. Song intended to inform the people so that they will get ready to fight. The song is being repeated from the middle of the end. Still the same song. (Old man in the villages when they sing a song they will start in the front time and finish it after that, they will l go back to the place where the king or a person who is famous is mentioned and keep repeating the song to the end.) The young men when they sing a song, they will they have finished it, will go back to the beginning and sing it to the end. Some special songs are called OLAW and is sung only when the is a war against another village and never at any other time. Every village has these special songs. In a village when old man get leader, they will teach their song. All the young children of the village will learn this special song from their fathers. This is one of those special songs. This war was fought and Cham won.

Text: Saying, our king, fought against the Ethiopian government with his friends who cannot kill the persons to death but simply to wound them. (In Cham village, there is a wife of the old king. He appreciates her in this song saying, You and our leader were left by the previous king to rule the Cham village. Appreciating a person who is powerful in his village. When they fought against this king, Warabwoola, there was a man beside Warabwoola, was killed by a friend of the king of Cham. How powerful we were to be able to kill a man by Warabwoola’s. And he was eaten by a vulture. Appreciating those who chased away the people of Warabwoola, saying because of the war we made, you better give me something (a spear for example) which will make me very glad. The singer is saying this to the friend of the king of Cham. Singer appreciates the wife of the king saying, then we came back from the war, our king’s wife had seen our hunger. We were very hungry. She gave us something to eat and to drink. She is our mother. Singer saying something about the war. We agreed to fight against you because of the lady our king engaged. Even our commander agreed to fight against you. For we saw that we were not mistaken. Singer saying to his friend, when we drank the beer, I heard something people saying about you. Let’s give the singer simple beads and not the special ones. Appreciating the big men. The leaders of the village. The singer of Cham village was saying that when we go to attack another village we will never be defeated. Because you can see the strength of us in the village we will never be defeated. So, you must marry the girl. Even in different ways one village can attack Cham. There is no village that can attack Cham. Even a group of villages go together because they have seen what we have done to the Warabwoola people. It is a curse from God to kill our brother who was famous in our village. But when we go to war, I hope everybody will kill at least one person (People in the village who have been chased away from other villages: refugees, if there is a meeting in a village, they will not be called by the leader. They went to inform those of the other village that they will be attacked. The singer said that these who say lies against Cham village will be considered as a criminal. Mentioned something about fish. When that fish comes up to eat, air the waves will go in every direction.; they will go around. The same also like Cham village. Cham cannot be attacked in one direction or even in every direction because it is surrounded by powerful warriors. Talking about the liars, liars are going to cause something very difficult in our village which will make us very sad. Singer I was asked when I was in the meeting, asked if he was present or not. A meeting for the village. I produced many songs but I have resisted the gifts. You have known that Cham has fought against many villages. If you still want war, we will fight against you like what we have done during the Italian times. (Warabwoola was a leader of the other village and the leader of Cham was Cham.) What a tremendous thing when we wanted to kill our king because of the girl. Appreciating those of his village and the animals that they have killed and the wife of the king also. Saying this is a special song four our village. Sung to the younger boys)

2 Agwaga.

Information: A war song produced by Cham people against those living along the Gilo River. In this song they did not fight. The war did not break out) If you are known in the village the king will give you an animal name. He will give you a cow, the different colors of the cow will give you many ways to appreciate to appreciate the King. You will praise the king using the colors of the cow he gave you. Like proverbs. It doesn’t’ make any difference if the individual wants to kill an animal named for them. Brothers and father especially the old men of the village are not named after their own name. Instead they are named after their animal name.

Text: Singer says when I went through Gilo river village I found many people bowing down and crying. They were very upset. Singer said, if Gilo people agree to fight against Nikane people (a group of villages around Cham they will be chased away up to Gore. Because we count them as women and not like men. (a certain name for a certain generation called, THALWAN This group or generation group in Gilo river were a very, very powerful group because of this there is a man in Gilo river who is known by Cham people. The singer mentioned the powerful men in Gilo river saying, you better inform your song not to fight against us. Thalman means these who cannot agree what their father says. Therefore, disobedient to their fathers. Generations by generation is given a name like TORAJAHA because of many they are like dust. As the dust of cattle being moved. POYHAMARA; During the influence of the Galla people, because of the influence often an Amhara there is no war during this generation. Means peace of this generation. In this song, the Thalman people are being insulted. Singer informing Neibur saying, I if you are not ready to fight against Nikane, we want your people (Thalman) to forget about the war. Repeats the song.