The Kulaman

The Kulaman (Djingoli Tribe – Lira Rhythm)

Music by Alfred Hill.
Words by W.E. Harney and A.P. Elkin.

The Kulaman tree is tall, is tall,
Behold the seed pods fall, they fall,
And whirl and twirl, then dance in twisting maze.

Its wood is soft and light, is light,
In adze-cut bowls so white, so white.
Its branches set like veins in desert haze.

To us a child is born, is born.
Grandmother comes at morn, at morn,
With Kulaman that’s new and light and red.

This is the infant’s home, its home.
Tho’ tribes may camp and roam, and roam,
It sleeps and eats within its narrow bed.

We use it as a dish, a dish,
For carrying yams or fish, or fish,
Or maybe on the hunt to winnow seed.

And when we walk about, about,
We cannot go without, without,
A Kulaman full of water sweet indeed,

The Kulaman is our friend, our friend,
‘Tis with us till the end, the end,
For wells and graves it’s always at our hand.

So stamp your feet, and sing and sing,
Your bushes beat to bring, to bring,
A crop of Kulaman trees upon the ground.

The following note is given on pg 5 (back page) of the sheet music:

“This records the varied uses of the wooden dish, the Kulaman or pitchi. The concluding three lines conjure up the picture of the dancers’ firm stamp and jump with taut limbs as they utter their gruntlike ejaculations to the accompaniment of the chanters.”

Illustrations on sheet music cover and verso by Byran Manoell.