Barrtjap's Wangga

Archival recordings by Alice Moyle and Allan Marett, with supplementary recordings by A.P. Elkin, Ken Maddock and Linda Barwick; curated and annotated by Allan Marett and Linda Barwick, with transcriptions and translations by Lysbeth Ford.

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Format: cd

ISBN: 9781743325254

Publication: 22 Nov 2016
Series: Indigenous Music, Language and Performing Arts
Publisher: Sydney University Press

From the 1950s to the 1980s, Barrtjap (Tommy Burrenjuck, c. 1925–1992) was a ritual leader and one of the most prominent singers/composers in Belyuen (Delissaville), one of the heartlands of the wangga tradition. The community’s proximity to Darwin in the Northern Territory meant that Barrtjap and his songs were heard and recorded by many visitors and tourists. Characterised by great musical inventiveness and precision of form, Barrtjap’s songs mixed his ancestral language, Batjamalh, with the utterances of the song-giving ghosts who visited him in a dream. The CD includes recordings made by Alice Moyle and other visitors to Belyuen as well as Marett’s own recordings. Barrtjap’s wife, the late Esther Burrenjuck, collaborated closely in the documentation work on Barrtjap’s repertoire, and his sons Kenny Burrenjuck (d. 2010) and Timothy Burrenjuck have carried on his songs and his legacy into the present day.

Tags: CD, Music

Allan Marett is professor emeritus of musicology at the University of Sydney.

Linda Barwick is a musicologist collaborating with First Nations communities in Australia since 1985 and Italian communities since 1979. She is currently Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney, Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Lysbeth Ford is an honorary research associate in the linguistics department at the University of Sydney.


  1. Song 1: ya bangany-nyung nga-bindja yagarra
  2. Song 2: yagarra nga-bindja-ng nga-mi ngayi
  3. Song 3: bangany-nyung ngaya
  4. Song 3: bangany-nyung ngaya
  5. Song 4: kanga rinyala nga-ve bangany-nyung
  6. Song 4: kanga ringala nga-ve bangany-nyung
  7. Song 5: ya[garra] nga-bindja-ng nga-mi
  8. Song 5: ya[garra] nga-bindja-ng ngami
  9. Song 6: yagarra bangany nye-ngwe
  10. Song 7: be bangany-nyaya
  11. Song 8: nyere-nyere lima kaldja
  12. Song 9: nyere-nye bangany nyaye
  13. Song 10: karra ngadja-maka nga-bindja-ng ngami
  14. Song 11: yerre ka-bindja-maka ka-mi
  15. Song 12: yagarra ye-yenenaya
  16. Song 13: naya rradja bangany nye-ve
  17. Song 13: naya rradja bangany nye-ve
  18. Song 13: naya rradja bangany nye-ve
  19. Song 13: naya rradja bangany nye-ve
  20. Song 14: yagarra nedja tjine rak-pe
  21. Song 15: ya rembe ngaya lima ngaya
  22. Song 16: yagarra tjüt balk-nga-me nga-mi
  23. Song 17: yagarra tjine rak-pe
  24. Song 18: yagarra delhi nya-ngadja-barra-ngarrka
  25. Song 19: nga-ngat-pat-pa mangalimba
  26. Song 22: anadadada bangany-nyaya

Barrtjap’s wangga
Transcription and translation of tracks
Works cited

"I am not aware of any compilation of recordings as comprehensive as this one on any other song genre of Aboriginal Australia. Marett, Barwick and Ford's deep involvement with the people of the Daly River area and their intimate knowledge of the songs, exemplified by Marett's becoming an accomplished performer of wangga, present us with a true labour of love and a great contribution towards interdisciplinary research."
Grace Koch   2018 Yearbook for Traditional Music

Format: cd
1 b&w table, 2 colour illustrations, and 3 b&w illustrations
Copyright: © 2016
ISBN: 9781743325254
Publication: 22 Nov 2016
Series: Indigenous Music, Language and Performing Arts