Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics

Yurntumu-wardingki juju-ngaliya-kurlangu yawulyu: Warlpiri women’s songs from Yuendumu

During 2016, Warlpiri women held three yawulyu revitalisation workshops in Yuendumu. Many generations of Warlpiri women attended, singing various yawulyu, painting the associated body designs, performing the dances and telling the associated stories.

During these workshops a book has been compiled titled Yurntumu-wardingki juju-ngaliya-kurlangu yawulyu: Warlpiri women’s songs from Yuendumu which will be published in early 2017 by Batchelor Institute Press.

The title of the book includes a mark of respect for the older ladies, particularly those who have passed away. The Warlpiri term juju-ngaliya refers to ‘knowledgeable business women’.

The book documents four of these yawulyu in separate chapters.

Chapter 1 presents the songs and stories associated with a group of ancestral women as they emerge from Minamina, a place in the far west of Warlpiri country, and begin their journey eastwards.

Chapter 2 presents the songs and stories of the Watiyawarnu ancestors from Ngurlurlurru, who travel searching for different varieties of acacia seed, grinding them and making seed cakes along the way.

Chapter 3 presents the famous songs and story of the two Jangalas from Warlukurlangu whose evil blue-tongue lizard father tries to burn them, forcing them northwards out of their country before the fire dies down and they can return exhausted and weak.

And finally, chapter 4 presents the songs and stories of the Ngapa (Rain) ancestors who travel across the country to the west of Yuendumu.

This book includes an accompanying DVD which contains footage from a workshop held in July 2016 in which Warlpiri women painted up and danced the same four yawulyu that are documented in the book.