FOCUS Page 32 Song teaching by repetition


32 Track 32.mp3

SONG TEACHING (Over 3 evenings)

Teaching of a song. Tierlul. We wend our way through the village to the Burra where there are about 13 men sitting, anticipating our arrival. They have mats ready for us and invite us to sit down. I ask permission to take pictures, mentioning that flash will result. They say it is all right. After setting up my equipment, the song leader stands and begins to sing. He sings with very little delay or stop. As he continues to sing, others start to join him little by little. The process is slow and long and the singing at first is tentative but increases in authority as the evening wears on. Soon children and young women assemble. As the children come, we notice that they come out the strongest and quickest. During the evening the singer takes about three breaks but otherwise sings continuously. The men retain a noble independence. They join in if they wish, or talk among themselves if they feel like it. They are continuously smoking their water pipes, passing them around. By the third night, the singer has had too much to drink. As the drum beat is added, the singer gains great animation and the singing is much improved with the addition of the drums.