SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

Track 2: Mokkuor / The Argument

This song, with lyrics by Korsunnakh, tells of an argument or dispute between Father Sky and Mother Earth. It is sung in the style of olonkho, the epic storytelling tradition of the Sakha, using tojuk vocal techniques, particularly the drawn out derettii in which good characters tend to be depicted, the degeren rhythmic style usually reserved to the evil characters of epics, and the more nasal khongsor:

In the white sky
That presses down with its wide vastness
Eight-edged
Eight-hooped, primordial Mother Earth,
The lightning struck
Thunder deafeningly clashed down
And within it an unearthly voice was heard:

Sky:
'In the middle world
Playing with the crown of its head
Destined to settle,
Perfectly
Attired in green and carpeted with flowers
Sweet Mother Earth.

Perhaps you will hear
The anxious voice
Of the Sky, your Father Creator,      

Whose sole is the great space
Whose edge is the wide space?'

Mother Earth:
'Which of my glistening stars
Collided with you? Which of my
Silent ships
Sailed over you?
Having created me in the old times
You never remembered me,
Remembered that you have me,
But since you now have something to say
Speak up!'

Sky:
'Having become too beautiful
Praised by all
The ghastly movement
Of accompanying your ships,
You stopped to notice
(What a stupid thing)
How I came to decline and disappeared without a
trace,
But with innumerable beautiful corners
In the cavities
Of the resounding wide space
Sent spinning and settling.

How, burning in fire
Into the lifeless abyss they turn
Rustling, drifting away as ash.Will be brought menacingly.
If this paternal sin is on me
Then, if you wish, burn me
In raging flames
Of the great space.'

Sky:
That's what it is.
It turns out that the Father
Who was appointed Father by destiny
Will be asked
To take responsibility for the root of sin.

So it is me, then
Who is guilty because of blood kinship
By the order of the Master
I myself have brought such misfortune on myself.
It turns out
That I, with my own hands
Prepared this bitter fate for myself
To erase and remove
That eternal disgrace.

You, Mother Earth,
You were primordially given
To give birth and procreate,
And I, Great Sky,
Have the right to rule
To judge and govern.

O, how terrible this is!
To destroy my creation
And by destroying it, create again.'

And the cloud, suffused with moisture
Cried, groaning.

The child is born into the family
Marking his coming with a cry.
And beautiful Mother Earth
Blossoming and flourishing splendidly
Lied there, giving birth and procreating life.