Language Legends

Ethel Munn - Maranoa Lullaby

For over forty years, Gunggari woman Ethel Munn has held as a treasure amongst her belongings a booklet of songs which she believes faithfully record the language and music of her people in the Maranoa area of south west Queensland. She has often held and looked at the work of the author, Dr. H.O Lethbridge, but in all those years, has never heard a note of it played. No one in Ethel’s family has played music and amongst her time devoted to work on numerous regional, state and national cultural and educational committees, she has not asked for anyone’s help to unlock its sounds.

Eventually Ethel, now in her eighties, took the booklet along to a special gathering with friends and colleagues where all were to share music from their different traditional language areas of Queensland.

It was a special moment when, (using an iphone piano app), someone was able to pick out the tune of one of the songs, and tentatively, Ethel guided the group in singing the words together.