Malaman: Words for ‘Sound’ from Several Languages

By | 1 November 2012

Malaman is a chanting of words for ‘sound’ from several languages. They are chanted with the intention of releasing their inherent sound-energy and are neither words for music nor for sound-as-noise. These are words for sound, one of the world’s prime energies in a similar capacity that light is a prime energy. These are the oldest words I have discovered to date.

Malaman (12:31) | by Annea Lockwood

In order to move beyond the performance of these sounds, and to initiate a flow of unbroken energy, the words are chanted in their original pronunciation – not consciously making rhythmic or tonal variants (as one chants a mantra and does not perform it). Then the variants which come about appear as a part of the process of change which the sounds’ energy induces. They happen to the chanter.

The following words – transliterations – are not spelled phonetically. Underlinings distinguish the accented syllables, no underlining indicates equally weighted syllables:

singyam:  (Cantonese)
tsooin:  (Welsh)
fooin:  (Gaelic)
ayhos:  (Greek, with a guttural ‘h’)
duidum:  (Turkish)
malaman:  (Maung people, Northern territory, the ‘a’ as in ‘ah’)
soun:  (Middle English)
Klang:  (German)
sadeu:  (Sri Lankan, the ‘a’ as in ‘ah’, the ‘eu’ as in French ‘deux’)
sote:  (Farsi, as in French ‘sauter’)
leeud:  (Swedish, the ‘ee’ very fast, the ‘ud’ as in ‘hood’)
swara:  (Malay)
awnee:  (Yoruba, ‘aw’ at the back of the throat with a fairly closed mouth position)
n’zeembo:  (Shona, the ‘n’ a chesty grunt)
nad:  (Sanskrit)
anhadnad:  (Sanskrit, all ‘a’s as in ‘ah’; meaning = the unstruck sound)

This chant is based on my belief that some old words are what they stand for … that these words are energy generators. Nourishing.

About the time I was doing ‘Malaman’, I wrote: ‘I suggest that sound is a major energy form, like light or heat and that all sounds partake of this, even that sound is an agent in world creation, so that in working with sound one is working with something analogous to the deceptive power of water. That same element – water, which we control at will, turning taps on and off, sustains the body which turns the tap. Sound is used rather like water now, we turn it on so easily via our devices, seeming to control a force which can actually shatter the body (at extreme levels), and yet can pour through the body (at another strength), relaxing tissues, nerves, energising quietly.’

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