HYMNS (First half) January 7, 1973 - 42A Pokwo

01 Track 1.mp3

Recording Series B 3A

Place of Recording: Pokwo

Date of Recording: January 7, 1973


Informant: Agwa Alemo

Date of Transcript: April 25, 1973

1 000 Agwaga.

Information: If we enlarge it: many years ago, during Adam and Eve, they were cheated to eat the fruit of the tree. The trick made at that time now: the devil cheats us to make beer for him.

Text: God who blesses the people. When will you clear away our sins so that we can be good? We are begging God who teaches the truth. We were being cheated by a snake to eat the fruit and those who make beer will be led by Satan. This snake cheated us to make beer for him. A snake is an animal of the forest which cheats you to make the beer for him and it is better for you to leave the gods of the earth. Those who are making beer for the snake (devil) will suffer and I will ask Jesus who is going to come to chase or clear away our sins.

2 028 Agwaga.

Information: Brief moment of confusion before this one starts.

Text: People don’t agitate to ask Jesus who is our father. Those who refuse to accept the devil, his spirit will be taken to heaven. Let’s believe before Jesus comes. We are asking for the new spirit.

3 043 Agwaga.

Text: God who is brave who unites people in his way, he will take a lead us to only one way. Our God has a long hand to help the people of the world. You are called by Jesus to be his witnesses. Repeats. All of us are called by God who gives us rain because of our belief.

4 074 Special number.

Information: Praise him, Praise Him, special number in Amharic. Group of men.

5 141 Christmas song.

Information: Amharic song sung by group of men. Christmas song: halleluiah.

6 173 Christmas song.

Information: Amharic song: German Christmas song. Group of men.


7 218 Dancing song.

Information : James Brown Dance. Sunday afternoon, January 7. Beating on a tin drum. Different than other beats – modern beat.

Text: People are praising their animal that they are named after. One can be a leader and he can praise my beautiful girl. By saying that when our generation dances, they dance very nicely, well-built people. Well dressed, dancing in this form. One singing at present, just the form of the dancing.

8 282

Information: Leader is starting to sing. Much random crowd noises. In the dancing form you can praise any girl that you like. Odiel singing.

Text: Praising a certain girl after the permanent thing.

9 416 General dancing.

Information: Change drum beats. Anuak beat. (sometimes you can play 2 bottles with a tin together) General dancing beat. Can sing any song to that beat. Modern love songs.

Text: “I got a better one than you.”

10 440

Information: Sung by wives of students who are learning in Addis Ababa. With large square tin, container, all singing together.

Text: What did you study from me? (because students in Addis seem as if they are going to divorce their wives) when you agree to marry me, what did you study from me.

11 521 Love song.

Information: Tierlul dance same beat but change the song. Love song.

Text: When I heard that my wife had married by a rich man if it was a song which could be paid like money for marriage, I would have been paying more than the rich man did. If my wife was compared with the beads, she would have been similar to light blue beads (Caro beads – ordinary beads) Repeating. If she was a bead, she would have been Caro. Repeating. Looks lovely. Meaning is that she looks lovely, something which shines, continual repetition. She would have been like beads. Sing it back and forth. She would have been like those beads. My husband would have been like those beads. Singing back and forth.

12 716 Love song.

Information: Beat stays the same, words change.

Text: Surprising because your young boys learn the dancing of Addis Ababa and what a surprising thing. What a gladness and surprising things, repeating this. Praising themselves and their friends. After their grandfathers or permanent tree in the village. IWA: In Arabic I’m very glad by this after praising for a while they give money, to the young people dance and parents give money to the girls and to the boys. A kind of competition between parents. Who will give more than what is necessary? (The people study about us who ae in Addis. They look at us, then they imitate what you teach. Dances, music, the clothes you wear. Something that is new in Addis reaches Gambela area quickly.

13 1017

Information: Odiel singing. Sang a certain place. Mixes it with Somali songs, the grandson of NIGWO is a chief who owns his village. Odiel, the people and the can drum. Words don’t have meaning through this part.

Text: A certain boy called OCAN GORA Ocean became the best friend of all. Why don’t you tell me the mistake I did? Took OBUNG CHAM as a lion by saying I’ll keep begging him. The grandson of ADONG GORA.

14 1203 James Brown beat.

Information: James Brown beat. Words have no meaning. Odiel singing. Much crowd noises. Sometimes where there is beer to be sold out, they gather and dance. Can tell that they were drinking in their behavior and sound.

ANUAK Project: FIELD NOTES – Jan 7, 1973

Retyped: July 4, 2019

Sunday morning service at Pokwo church.

Again, very poor singing of western tunes. As drum beat and singers of obero style hymns begin, the congregation grows. The leader is good, strong and rhythmic. Singing and drumming is good with clapping and bells accompanying. After the Obero and Agwaga types, 3 songs for Christmas by about 6 young men in Amharic and from Amharic hymn book. The only vital singing that is done is for the Anuak songs. The others are without animation. Not much joy or happiness in the service.

Sunday afternoon at a young people's "James Brown" dance.

After dinner at about 3:00, Paul comes and we go to Tierlul where the chief on Paul’s request has given permission to hold a dance. In the area (not the Burra) older people are sitting and drinking beer. Young men and girls are dancing in 2 lines. 2 or 3 men at a time will move toward girls and back, some remain dancing closely to the girls, a particular girl. Singing is erratic. More random noise made rather than strong singing though this improves as the dance continues. Leader is the fine leader from illea and Ebago who we taped on January 5 and earlier during the summer. He stands and sings freely with his hands over his ears. The drummer, only one uses a long flat oblong metal can, beating on the edge and top of it giving the sound of a snare drum. He is joined at times by a flute player playing the metal flute we photographed earlier during the summer. He plays rhythmically but not related to the singer. The singer oft uses rhythmic sounds, when not using words. His singing is much different than his style of the other day. These are for the most part love songs which have more melodic interest. Somali influence seems in evidence. These being love songs, are more of a solo character so the Obero and Agwaga leader-group patter is not followed. These love songs are more or less known throughout the Anuak areas rather than limited to individual villages like the Agwagas which are written about and for specific chiefs, individuals and villages and are not sung outside of them. In fact, because they are often against another village with insults found in them, they would not be found and received outside the intended village.

We leave Tierlul after about 1 hour because of the similarity of action, the fact the people decided to rest and that we were due back for Sunday afternoon service. 2 rolls of movie film and a good part of 1 slide film taken. Tape 2 B and 3Aa. Dancing not very impressive singing by leader very interesting for its inventiveness and the foreign elements added to his performance.