Origins of Tanganekald

© Jacob Stengle 2021.

These two songs tell the history of how the Tanganekald people came to live at the Coorong. They were told by Milerum and recorded by Norman Tindale in 1932. Norman Tindale wrote down some of the Tanganekald lyrics with a description in English.
AA 338/11/5 Tracks 11 & 12 Norman Barnett Tindale collection
For permission to use this song, please contact the South Australian Museum Archives. 

Song 1

Gurunulun and wardand wanungganji
gorongkanal lei ameingg nainggaranal
gurunulun and wardand terto lin (h)end
barum ai! Walangala talangaleir(r)einamb maranggaranal.
This is one of a series of Tanganekald songs about pekere tungar (ancient times). Milerum learned the song from Taldamadeorn, an old man of Magrath Flat Point (Taldamadinjeri), who was the ngatjunu (reciprocal ngatji) of Milerum. Milerum's mother's mother ngatjunuwi married this old man.
'When people arrived in their country in pekere (ancient times), they came from the north out of lerami, the inland scrub country. They heard a great noise, which was so terrible that it brought them abruptly to a stand-still. Some were unable to move with fear, while others began to rush about in panic. 
One man asked the people, for there were many of them: 'Tangowalongan.' 'What will you do now? 
They replied, 'wanung ganji' 'let's go back.'
Word went around saying, 'we must stay here; we are cut off all around; let us make the best of this country.' The noise was made in order to tell people they must stop, and not travel further. The noise was just like the sound of the great waves beating on the Coorong beach.

Song 2

Nggawareilar damb aratnggal toropo alni
bunareilar winmangal woreingg galowei
kolkeilin tarupulnal nggananggalowei mantalanganar
wudkeilin tarupulnal mantalanganar nggananggalowei.

This old pekere tungar (ancient times) song of the Tanganekald was sung a 'long time ago,' and the word-for-word meaning is somewhat obscure owing to the archaic words it contains. When the Tanganekald first came to the Coorong they were accompanied by a maldawuli or Ancestral Being, who led them over all their new country. He showed them where water, meat, fish, herbs and other foods were to be obtained. The maldawuli taught some of the old men how to practise mantalanganar (kurdaitcha, walking with magic shoes), and then used the magic to cause himself to disappear.