Two cows from Dinkaland









Song/speech data


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Song and speech data on Dinka

A collection of Dinka songs

Songs play an important role in Dinka culture. Most people have their own songs, and good singers command respect, as do composers, who are paid to eloquently express the events that the commissioning owner of a song wants to sing about. The topic matter can relate to a community or a kinship group as whole, or it may be very personal. As Francis Mading Deng has noted, songs constitute a mode of communication that allow a singer to express sentiments that cannot be uttered as easily in speech, such as complaint or reproach.

We have produced a collection of Dinka songs. The songs in this collection were recorded and annotated as part of the project Metre and Melody in Dinka Speech and Song. This project was carried out by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the Beyond Text programme. The collection comprises close to 200 songs, from 38 singers and groups of singers. Background on Dinka songs can be found in this YouTube video.

Here are two examples from the collection.

  • The singer of the first song is Kodok Chan Amal, who is from the Twic section of Dinka (Bahr El Ghazal region of South Sudan). The song deals with the tragic death of John Garang, the charismatic leader of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army. You can download or play the song (5.93 Mb), and/or the Dinka text with the English translation (pdf)
  • .
  • The singer of the second song is Francis Chol Awuol, who is from the Ageer section of Dinka (Upper Nile region of South Sudan). The song paints a scene of harmony in the community, for which the elders play a pivotal role. You can choose to download or play the complete song (4.68 Mb) and/or the Dinka text with the English translation (pdf).

The song collection as a whole is publicly available from Edinburgh DataShare, the electronic archive of University of Edinburgh. Click here to access the opening page of the Dinka song collection on Edinburgh DataShare on the internet. Clicking 'titles' on that page yields 38 titles in total. Each of these represents a folder containing the songs and associated materials for a specific singer or group of singers. The structure of the song collection is explained in a readme file, and there is an index spreadsheet (xlsx), which enables the user to look for songs that fit specific criteria.

A selection of 20 songs from the collection is also available on a CD (with Dinka texts and English translations).

Electronic resource on Dinka suprasegmentals

In the context of our research on the suprasegmentals of Dinka, we have made recordings focusing on the way this language uses tone, quantity, and voice quality. The data focusing on tone and quantity in the Luanyjang dialect of Dinka have been processed, analysed and interpreted, and they are now publicly available, at More data will be added there as our research progresses.

This page is maintained by Bert Remijsen. Last change: Friday, 05-Oct-2012 12:01:50 BST