Mandji's Wangga

Archival recordings by Alice Moyle and Allan Marett; curated and annotated by Allan Marett and Linda Barwick, with transcriptions and translations by Lysbeth Ford.

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Format: cd

ISBN: 9781743325278

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

Billy Mandji was a prolific and popular Belyuen songman. Active from the 1960s to the 1980s, he travelled widely and was recorded in Kununurra, Timber Creek, Oenpelli and Beswick Creek as well as his home community of Belyuen (Delissaville). He was a prominent participant in the tourist corroborees presented by people from Belyuen in various locations around Darwin and the Cox Peninsula. In addition to composing songs of his own, Billy Mandji inherited songs in Emmi-Mendhe from the Emmiyangal people with whom he lived at Belyuen, and he also sang the Emmi-Mendhe songs of Jimmy Muluk (see CD3 in this series), often in the role of backup singer. His own language, Marri Tjavin, appeared rarely in his songs, perhaps because the language was little spoken in Belyuen. Perhaps for the same reason, many of Mandji’s songs are composed in untranslatable ‘spirit language’. Although Marett recorded Mandji in 1988, he was never able to work with him on documenting his songs, so the translations and interpretations are the result of working with other speakers, especially his extremely knowledgeable ‘daughter’, Marjorie Knuckey Bilbil.

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: duwun
  2. Song 1: duwun
  3. Song 2: happy (lerri) song no. 1
  4. Song 2: happy (lerri) song no. 1
  5. Song 3: happy (lerri) song no. 2
  6. Song 4: happy (lerri) song no. 3
  7. Song 5: duwun crab song
  8. Song 6: karra mele ngany-endheni-nö
  9. Song 7: song from Anson Bay
  10. Song 7: song from Anson Bay
  11. Song 8: Robert Man.guna’s song
  12. Song 9: happy (lerri) song no. 4
  13. Song 10: happy (lerri) song no. 5
  14. Song 11: happy (lerri) song no. 6

Mandji’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 and 6 colour illustrations
Copyright: © 2016
ISBN: 9781743325278
Publication: 22 Nov 2016
Series: Indigenous Music, Language and Performing Arts