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NINKASI'S DANCE

G Mode

Anne Bredon at KPFA in Berkeley, 1995

Click for larger image

"Ninkasi's Dance" on "Seven Modes for an Ancient Lyre" is based on a song composed years ago by a woman named Anne Bredon who presently lives on Trail's End in Norh Fork, California. She writes beautifully crafted material that sounds like folksongs, and in fact her work has been mistaken for folk material more than once. A hundred years from now, her songs will be circulating in music parties, singing circles, strummed around firesides and campsites, and recorded by musicians she will never meet.

During the early '60's one of her songs, "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" was recorded by Joan Baez, and in 1969 the same song landed on British rock group Led Zeppelin's first album! This songwriter's material has a definite aura of good luck!


Portion of a border from Anne's songbook
The original song, "Come Away," has a Celtic feel about it. Here are the lyrics. The refrain was changed to represent kitmu, or the G mode in Ninkasi's dance, but otherwise the melody is the same as in "Ninkasi's Dance."

Come Away
©1991 Anne Bredon

Come to the green grove by the moon,
Or come in the morning sun;
Come sing the joys of the good, green earth,
Sing new life begun;
Come away, come away, come away!

We'll dance in the grove 'round the old oak tree
With flowers in our hair;
Dance for the joy of the wind and rain,
Oh, the earth is fair;
Come away, come away, come away!

Come with the fruits of field and vine
Still come if you have none;
We'll share them all in a feast of love
Earth and we are one;
Come away, come away, come away

This and other Anne Bredon songs (including the original version of "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You") are published in "The Gate at the End of the World."

Alas, we learn from the Smithsonian museum that this image, (though the statue is in their collection), is NOT Ninkasi, but in fact Rim-Sin, King of Larsa, carrying a load of bricks. Since there are no existing images of Ninkasi, we let this stand in her place.

To create a simple dance, we used repeated fifths in the base on the lyre and named the song after the Sumerian goddess of beer, Ninkasi.
Fifths and fourths are the intervals used to generate the "rough tuning" of the seven modes

Expedition Magazine, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum chose this song, "Ninkasi's Dance" to put up on their web site when one of their issues was featuring the Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur exhibit. Go to

http://www.museum.upenn.edu/new/Zine/expedition40.2.html

Click on the .au or.wav link on their site to hear an early versionn of "Ninkasi's Dance" played only on the lyre

These little red Sumerian beermaker images are from cylinder seals which were adapted for a set of labels designed by the Anchor Brewing company of San Francisco, who made Sumerian Beer in small batches during the 1990's. The beer is very mild, having no hops in the recipe, but a very pleasant beverage.

The first two Sumerian gentlemento the left are sipping beer from a large amphora-shaped vat. on a stand. Below the beer is being transported.

Background "Suds"design available (wallpapers) also courtesy Anchorbrewery.com

Click on images to read recipies in more detail...

from:
www.tulane.edu/-august/ maps/writing5.htm


The Hymn to Ninkasi - Making Beer

Translation by Miguel Civil
 
Borne of the flowing water (...)
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Borne of the flowing water (...)
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
 
Having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you,
Ninkasi, having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you

(in a simlar fashion...) 
...Ninkasi, Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.
 
...Ninkasi, You are the one who handles
the dough, [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with [date]-honey.
 
...Ninkasi, you are the one who bakes
the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,
 
...Ninkasi, you are the one who waters the malt
set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates.
 
...Ninkasi, you are the one who soaks
the malt in a jar
The waves rise, the waves fall.
 

(There is more to the hymn on
source: http://www.piney.com/BabNinkasi.html)

LIST OF SONG TITLES
1. Berber Wedding Song
2. The Music Class
3. Twilight on the Water
4. Hurrian Moonrise
5. Ninkasi’s Dance
6. Lament for Linus
7. Solitary Theme
8. Long Ago Lullaby
9. Fortune-Telling Song
10. Hurrian Moonset
11. Ea, the Creator
12. The Queen of Sheba
13. Hal Libba Marya

 

 
©Bella Roma Music 2002