‘Gii, Gundhi (Hearts and Homes)’

House Music at Your House

A single song can have a thousand meanings depending on its interpreter. Yuwaalaraay storyteller and musician Nardi Simpson shares her version of a 19th-century parlour song.

Many of the music scores found at Rouse Hill Estate were extremely popular across NSW during the 19th century. Unknown today, the song ‘Hearts and Homes’ by Charlotte Young (words) and John Blockley (music) is recorded in newspapers and family music collections at least as far north as the Clarence River area, and further south in the Hunter Valley, Sydney, Rouse Hill, Goulburn and Wagga Wagga. These early songs permeated the soundscape of homesteads and towns and, inevitably, the country of First Nations. 

Nardi Simpson is deeply involved in the making and sharing of culture in both her Sydney and Yuwaalaraay communities and she responds to ‘Hearts and Homes’ in her own language. She adds her voice to the sound waves of the past, joining all those who sang or maybe just heard this song over many decades across NSW:

Hearts and Homes sweet words of pleasure,

Gii, gundhi, gaba gaay

Music breathing as ye fall.

Yugal buliirral-da-nha, ngali bandaa-waa-nha

Making each the others treasure,

Burranba-y-la-nha nginda warrangal

Once divided losing all.

Gi-gila-nha mulan, ngali wanggarra-y-la-nha

(Becoming half we are lost)

Nardi has also added her own verse as a repeated response with which she frames Charlotte Young’s original words:

I am without a home

Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya

Taken it.

Manuma-y-nha

In creating her performance of this work, Nardi experimented with accompanying herself on dulcimer and then guitar before thinking of the onomatopoeic word for ‘heart’ in the Darug language, ‘Butbut’. Referencing the possum skin drumming of her Yuwaalaraay ancestors, Nardi accompanies herself with a firm, steady beat on wallaby hide.

Watch the performance

Listen to Nardi Simpson share her performance of ‘Gii, Gundhi (Hearts and Homes)’. Nardi has created an entirely new work and so this video is unique. We have shared another version of ‘Hearts and Homes’ from the House Music at Your House made by Nicole and James Forysth as well as examples of the interpretive power of Nardi and Kaleena Briggs in their group Stiff Gins.

You can find links to the music and lyrics below and perform and share your own interpretation.


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Meet the performers

Nardi Simpson

Nardi Simpson is a Yuwaalaraay storyteller and performer living in Sydney. Her early music training at the Eora Centre of Aboriginal Studies, Visual and Performing Arts in Redfern, Sydney saw her begin a career as a musician, songwriter and performer with vocal duo Stiff Gins, travelling both nationally and internationally for twenty-one years and releasing three albums during that time.

Learn more about Nardi

Lyrics

Gii, Gundhi (Hearts and Homes)

Charlotte Young (words), Nardi Simpson Translation/Adaptation 2020

Hearts and Homes sweet words of pleasure,
Gii, gundhi, gaba gaay
Heart, home, good words

Music breathing as ye fall.
Yugal buliirral-da-nha, ngali bandaa-waa-nha
Song breathing, we fall

Making each the others treasure,
Burranba-y-la-nha nginda warrangal
Making you special 

Once divided losing all.
Gi-gila-nha mulan, ngali wanggarra-y-la-nha
Becoming half we are lost

Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Manuma-y-nha
Taken- it

Homes ye may be high or lowly,
Gundhi ngarribaa, ganhaga-bala
Home above, below instead

Hearts alone can make you holy.
Gii nginda gii-yaa-nha binangarrangarra
Your heart making clever one/teacher of law

Be the dwelling e’er so small,
Gundhi gaay-araay
Home small-having

Having love it boasteth all.
Gayliyaay-araay, burrulaa Burruguu
Kindhearted having, big dreaming

Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Manuma-y-nha
Taken- it

Hearts and Homes sweet words of pleasure,
Gii, gundhi, gaba gaay
Heart, home, good words

Music breathing as ye fall.
Yugal buliirral-da-nha, ngali bandaa-waa-nha
Song breathing, we fall

Making each the others treasure,
Burranba-y-la-nha nginda warrangal
Making you special 

Once divided losing all.
Gi-gila-nha mulan, ngali wanggarra-y-la-nha
Becoming half we are lost

Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Manuma-y-nha
Taken- it

Hearts and Homes sweet words revealing all most good and fair to see,
Gii, gundhi, gaba gaay ngarranma-lda-nha gaba gayaa 
Hearts, homes, sweet words showing happiness

Fitting shrines for purest feeling, 
Guuyay-baa
good mood place

Temples meet to bend the knee.
Winangay-lay-a
Mutual love between 2 people

Infant hands bright garlands wreathing,
Mara birralii-gu, guyayn gayma-li
Baby’s hands twist flowers

Happy voices incense breathing,
Gaba buliirral-da-nha
Happy breathing

Emblems fair of realms above.
Gunagala giirr-nha
Heaven is true

‘For love is Heav’n and Heav’n is love’.
Gunagala giirr-nha
Heaven is true

Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Manuma-y-nha
Taken- it

Hearts and Homes sweet words of pleasure,
Gii, gundhi, gaba gaay
Heart, home, good words

Music breathing as ye fall.
Yugal buliirral-da-nha, ngali bandaa-waa-nha
Song breathing, we fall

Making each the others treasure,
Burranba-y-la-nha nginda warrangal
Making you special 

Once divided losing all.
Gi-gila-nha mulan, ngali wanggarra-y-la-nha
Becoming half we are lost

Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Gundhi-dhalibaa ngaya
I am without a home
Manuma-y-nha
Taken- it


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