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The book cover of Ngarla Songs

Ngarla Songs

Alexander Brown
Brian Geytenbeek (translator)
Jilalga Murray (illustrator)
ISBN:1 92073 173 3
RRP: $24.95

Ngarla Songs is a unique bi-lingual presentation of 68 Yirraru, or anecdotal songs composed by the Ngarla people. For the first time these cameos of everyday life in the Pilbara have been translated and recorded in English.

For ten years Alexander Brown and Brian Geytenbeek worked together to capture the wit, humour, wisdom and vibrancy expressed in these songs, describing the thrill of the hunt, the wonder of whales and other events and life experiences as seen through Ngarla eyes.

Alexander (“Sandy”) Brown was born in a bough shade on De Grey Station in 1930. As a boy he learned the Ngarla, Nyamal, and Coastal Nyangumarta languages, the intricacies of their cultures, and all the Aboriginal knowledge and skills of bush living. He is particularly gifted at remembering Yirraru songs. In most cases he knew the composer personally, knew the people involved and was aware of the situation that prompted the song.

Brian Geytenbeek is a linguist at the Summer Institute of Linguistics. In 1984 he taught Alexander Brown to read and write in English, and it was during that time he became aware of the wealth of descriptive and poetic material in the Ngarla language.

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