Agwagas July 28, 1972 - 33B Peno

01 Track 1.mp3

Recording #33B

Place of Recording: Peno

Date of Recording: July 28, 1972


Informant: Agwa Alemo

Date of Transcript: March 24, 1973

1 000 Dancing song.

Information: Sung against Adongo people when they were wanting to fight the king of Adongo. He refused to fight against the Anyanyas.

Text: He said how can I fight with those who are thin. They don’t have something to eat in the forest. When they went to war, they captured girls and some other boys. Because of the result of that the people of Adongo said, don’t kill my daughter or my son. Let me give you demoui so you can give my daughter or my son back to me. Repeating. Let me change for my daughter.

2 020 Agwaga.

Information: When the fought against Arabs in POCALA, Solo male singer. (In that war, Agwa was in 3rd grade. They kept Arabs from getting water from the river for 7 days. Without water to drink, Arabs thought of something. They collected AJIBA tribes to go and get water for them from the river but Anyanyas told them you come to our side and don’t join Arabs. When the Ajiba side refused to go to Anyanya side, they were killed but those who agreed came to their side.)

Text: The leader who was there was ABAC (ABA CH) they defeated the Arabs who were there and captured the daughter of the governor. The governor is called ABAC. We are revenging our sons who have been adopted or who have been used to eat Arabs food. (They say that because the war broke away between Arabs and Anyanyas, they thought they would never see their sons any more) (This governor they said that he refused to go to Khartoum because of the food we are eating and having in our area. Insult the Ajiba tribe. Because you believed Arabs more than us, you have seen your consequences. Because you believed Arabs more than us you have seen your consequences. Means they were killed. By that time, there were only a few guns. 8 or 10 people. Fellow the person with one gun. So about 14 people with one gun.) Said, when we went to war, we divided ourselves into 2 parts, one group took the right hand to fight against those who are circumcised (Arabs). Second group to Adongo people. The second group who went to fight with Adongo people defeated them. The people of Adongo did not come for war, there were looking for grain or corn because of the starvation in their village. (Used to name the people of Adongo after the Ajiba tribe meaning that they’re not pure Anuak) When they are insulting one eye person that they killed, why did you come to attack us if you know you have only one eye. Those who caused war (are singing against the Adongo people, not the Arabs) they did not come for war but because of the starvation in their villages, when they came for attacking, they went directly to where the corn and grain was kept. Insulting. A lady supporting Adongo people but they killed her. From OWELO.

3 161 Agwaga.

Information: Stopped after beginning.

Text: Advising the people who are liars not to tell lies anymore. Between Adongo and Anyanyas. Because of that the liars who used to go around, there was one person who went for hunting and he saw a group of liars and he shot them.

4 189 Marching song.

Information: Swore not to eat wild pig. (In our area, there are young fellows who want to cause a war between two villages, they will be sent by the old men saying, if you don’t want war you better go and fight an elephant in the forest. An elephant buffalo or a lion. Old men used to say that to young boys who don’t know war at all.) In 1970 when Agwa was teaching in Gilo river, I went with my brother, if we get an elephant, what will you do. Agwa said, if we see an elephant or a lion I will never run away. Or never climb a tree) They saw a buffalo, Agwa shot it first, in the hip the animal chased my brother away. Agwa shot it 4 times.) Slow drum accompaniment. Change the drummer of it but the same song. Very interesting accompaniment when they came from hunting, the girls went to them singing this song in the form as they slowed it down. We are glad you are coming. Speeds up the accompaniment when the girls went to the young boys singing in the form with the hands out and going up and down, they reached there, they beat the drum in a dancing form and danced together. This is why the music speeded up again.

Text: Wild pig looks like a person who has played in the mud. When we kill an elephant, everybody in the village will buy a gun. After that they went for hunting to kill an elephant and they fought with an elephant. If you don’t know war then you better go fight an elephant. If there is a war now in the village, I know now that you are going to fight.) Repeating. When they fight an elephant, said we didn’t fight an elephant because of the meat but because of the ivory. Continuation with instruments. When we fought elephant, we captured a small one. Repeating. Captured a small elephant. Daughter, repeating this part. Said, you refused the old men that the young boy that is going to marry you will give you the ivory of an elephant that we killed.

5 383 Dancing Song.

Information: flute, drum, bottles and voice. Produced when you are ready to go for a long journey or when you are coming from a long journey.

Text: Requesting your girlfriend saying you better sing me a greeting when I go. Means, greeting many people. You can greet the people that you know well. Though he is in Addis or Gilo, you can greet them. Are making agreement with these girlfriends, saying in the evening, you better come to the house of my brother. He’s saying I’ll never leave the girl because the old man can kill her. Never leave her. Repeating. A rich man is eating alone rather than in a group. The rich man doesn’t have relatives or friends. His friend and relatives are lonely food he’s going to eat and not a person.

6 536 Dancing song.

Information: Begins with solo flute. Dancing song.

7 578 Dancing song.

Information: Flute with gourd and bottle. Very nice. Actually, the same as 5 383. A song of greeting. No vocal. Can be danced as KRUMA or in Dancing form. Beating of the drum is the same as KRUMA sounds like this. This can be dancing also. Boys and girls in opposite lines. The girl will select a boy to dance with. If it is a greeting or love song, the singer will go to where the drummer is. The singer will sing with the drum but not everybody is going to sing. The singer sings by himself in the KRUMA.

8 740 Demonstration.

Information: Bottles. Demo of sound of the beating bottles. Into the ground. Can see this in Gambela and everywhere. Melotti and Ambo water bottle. Note the changes in rhythm (or timbre). As the thumbs are taken off the top of the bottles.

ANUAK Project: FIELD NOTES – July 28, 1972

Retyped: June 14, 2019

9:40 We leave Pokwo, heading downstream to Openo (Peno). It is cloudy with a hint of rain. A cool traveling day.

10:20 We stop at the police post in Etung and check in with the Amhara lieutenant to inform him of our destination.

10:40 We arrive at Peno. We land at a clear flat area and sit with the men, the Burra. Paul first holds conversation with the fellow we have come to see, Nyingoni Ajwiar from Owelo. Being friends, they discuss the injuring of the chief by one of the Anyanya while being drunk several days before.

11:15 Taping session begins with Ningyoni seated in front of us. The chief seated on a raised section under a tree, the men of the Burra watching in a circle, the younger boys at a distance under the shelter of a house roof, close enough to do whatever the Burra requests. (If they fail to, they will be fined a goat or more or whipped) The women and children are seated at a distance by the houses. Ningyoni is a song composer of great repute and also a person who has traveled around to a great extent within the tribe. So, his songs have been composed in a variety of places at a variety of times.


235 A War Song written in 1966. N. Composer. About Anyanya fighting Arab supporters in Otello. N. was present and made this song. Made on behalf of the Anyanya movement.

(N. wants to find a drum or a tin for rhythm, but has difficulty. Soon a man with a gourd and a man with two bottles: a beer bottle and a whiskey bottle arrive and form the accompaniment. The gourd is played as a drum and the bottles are played alternately pounding them on the ground causing two different pitches to sound. The placing of a finger over and then off the top of the larger bottle also causes a pitch change.)

273 Love song. N. composer in 1966. From Tedo village. Anyanya headquarters from 1966-70.

310 Love Song. N. Composer from Tedo.

335 Love Song. N. composer. A new song made in Peno.

360 Love Song. N. composer in Peno early this year.

420 War Song. For the Anyanya. Composed in April, 1966. Can hear one two three four referring to company numbers. These companies took part in the actions at that time fighting the Arabs. “la la la" – ladies were in a circle. Singing don’t shoot again, surrender so you are not killed.

MOVIE FILM: Of man singing at Peno and man with bottles and drummer. Closeup on hands.

PHOTO: No 20 5.6-4F 50’ shot of general recording area at Peno.


  1. 000 War song. Against certain village that supported the Arabs called Adonygol. N. Composer.

  2. 013 Love Song. N. Composer.

  3. 022 Love song. When Anyanya were in Tedo Sung there at Christmastime.

  4. 038 Love song. Written this year at Peno. N. composer.

  5. 062 Love Song. Made in Gambela 66-67. N. Composer.

  6. 084 Love song. Tedo in 66 N. Composer.

  7. 095 Love song Tedo in 66. N. composer.

  8. 107 Love song Tedo 66 N. Composer.

  9. 129 Love Song 71 Written in N. way to this place (Peno)

  10. 147 General Dancing. Written by N. in 72 at Peno. Sung by Okelo Okoth.



25 4f 10’ Shot of older singer t another angle.

11 183 Love song. Written by N. at Tedo sung by Okelo, a young fellow of about 18.

12 199 Nirnam about an elephant from Peno by N. Sung by Okelo.

13 222 Nirnam about an elephant from Pokedi. Ny. N. sung by Okelo.

14 228 Love song from Pokedi. By N. sung by Okelo.

15 251 General dancing. For the chief of Okedi written and sung by N.

16 414 Love Song. Composed while in Gambela 65-66 by N. and sung by N.


1 000 Love song written by N in 68 at the time that Anyanya got into trouble with the Ethiopians. This was made against that accident but made like a love song. Sung by N.

2 044 Love song against accident with Ethiopian police. Mentions machine gun captured from Ethiopians at that time. Made like a love song but with the words of the action. Sang by N.

3 071 Love song. Made in Owelo in 71. (N. village Sung by N.

4 089 Nirnam made in Okadi in 1966. Sung by N.

5 101 Love song. N. includes his wife in this. Made in Gila.

6 135 Love song. Concerning himself at Oboa in 1970.

We now move to a hut to get away from the wind and the rain.

1:15 Numbering interrupted by move and will have to be listened to again.

Agwaga. Against the village of Paul may years ago. Sung by Ogato Onywac from Pino. He is a man of this village and he also composed this.

Agwaga. Against the village of Paul sung by Ogato and composed by him.

1:45 Stop for dinner.

2:05 resume.

Love song for Owelo made by N. sung by N.

Love song made while in Gambela in 1965 by N. sung by N.

REEL TAPE 33a 2:30

1 000 For general dancing for Peno. N. made this song when he was young. Sung and composed by Ogato.

2 047 General Dancing. Ogato made this when he was young. An older man in his late 50s or 60s.

3 121 General Dancing. Sung and composed by Ogato.

4 138 Repeat of Agwaga about fighting between Peno and Paul sung and written by Ogato.

5 247 Agwaga. Fighting between Peno and Paul. Refer to above. Written and sung by Ogato.

6 270 General dancing by N. for Peno. 1 or 2 years old.

7 New song with voice only with drum. Love song by N.

8 350 Love song by N.

9 386 Love song by N.

10 414 Love song by N.

REEL TAPE 33b 3:15

1 000 Love song written in66 in Lur Waro (the forest-shoes) written and sung by Ni

2 031 War song written in Owelo March 1970 against Otallo village. Owelo was attacked by Otallo in 1970. Written and sung by N.

3 096 War song written in Okadi in 1965.

4 102 Nirnam written in Okadi about an elephant (Naech) in 63 by N.

5 124 Nirnam written in Oedo about Elephant in 63 by N.

6 140 Love song written in Okadi by N. (Notice the form of this song: fast-slow-fast) Against the old men.

7 210 Gourd, flute and voice and 2 bottles. Love song. By N.

8 235 Gourd, flute, bottles and voice; love song. By N.

9 262 Very short love song. Gourd, flute, bottles and voice.

10 272 Love song. Same above sung by N.

11 299 Dancing. Flute solo.

12 322 Dancing. Flute, bottles and gourd.

13 420 Bottles played by themselves.


1 000 Thom song.

2 Thom pitch demonstration.

4:30 Finish session. A highly rewarding day with a great deal of material gained in a relatively short time. The individuals involved worked extremely hard singing and playing their best and doing their best to please. Mark handled all photography including the measurement of the flute.

We pay Ningyoni $6.00 for his service.

6:30 Finally return to Pokwo.