Mandji's Wangga
Mandji's Wangga
Notes by Allan Marett, Linda Barwick and Lysbeth Ford, and recordings by Moyle, Marett et al.
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781743325278

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 Muluk’s Wangga), often in the role of backup singer. His own language, Marri Tjavin, appeared rarely in his songs, and many of Mandji’s songs are composed in untranslatable ‘ghost language’. Although Allan Marett recorded Mandji’s songs 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’ (brother’s daughter), Marjorie Knuckey Bilbil.

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

This product is a musical companion to For the Sake of a Song: Wangga Songmen and their Repertories (Sydney University Press, 2013). You can also purchase the complete set of accompanying CDs.

Music from Mandji’s repertory may also be streamed online at

Companion book

For the Sake of a Song: Wangga Songmen and their Repertories
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781920899752

Wangga, originating in the Daly region of Australia’s Top End, is one of the most prominent Indigenous genres of public dance-songs. This book focuses on the songmen who created and performed the songs for their own communities and for the general public over the past 50 years.

Framing chapters include discussion of the genre’s social history, musical conventions and the five highly endangered languages in which the songs are composed.

Indigenous Music of Australia CDs

CD 1 — Wurrurrumi Kun-Borrk
CD 2 — Barrtjap’s Wangga
CD 3 — Muluk’s Wangga
CD 4 — Mandji’s Wangga
CD 5 — Lambudju’s Wangga
CD 6 — Walakandha Wangga
CD 7 — Ma-Yawa Wangga

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