“Maitas Ichusha riusha cantana”


Turiculla turicu

Turiculla turicu

Riunimiya riunimi,

Ñucagaya ñucaga

Turiculla turicu

Riuniya riunimi

Ñucagaya ñucaga

Ñuca rishca washai

Canlla ricui shamupi,

Ñuca wasibigaya imatalla chiyi anga ,

Ñuca wasibigaya

Turiculla turicu

Canlla ricuishamupi

Millai quiwa pishculla,

Ñuca wasiibigaya tiangaya tianga,

Turiculla turicu

Riunimiya riunimi,

Cunangaya cunanga

Ñuca rigrawi iñawan

Riunimiya turicu

Riunimiya turicu

Ñuca wasiibigaya

Millai quiwa pishcullami

Ricuj shamunguiyari

Cunangaya cunanga

Sapimanda ricumurani ta-mi-a

Turicu

Ashca mansu sardinama shamurani ta-mi-a

Ashca mansu sardinama shamurani ta-mi-a,

Cunangaya cunanga

Cunangaya cunanga,

Riunimiya riunimi

Turiculla turicu,

Turiculla turicu.






“A song to sing when you leave someone.”  

Singer:  Eulodia Dagua

Recorded and translated by Tod Swanson


Little brother, dear brother

Little brother, dear brother

I am leaving, now I am leaving

And I, and I

Little brother, dear brother

I am going now, I am going

And I, and I

and after I am gone

If you come all alone to see

What is there at my house

My house

Little brother, dear brother

If you come alone to see

Just fierce weeds and birds

Will be there, will be there at my house

Little brother, dear brother

I am leaving now I am leaving

And now, now

The feathers have grown on my wings

I am going now dear brother

I am going now dear brother

At my house now

Just fierce weeds and birds

Come and see

And now, and now

From the roots, I looked back

Dear brother!

I came in a school of many tame little fish…

I came in a school of many tame little fish…

And now, and now

And now, and now

I am leaving now, I am leaving

Little brother, dear brother

Little brother, dear brother

The language of the song makes it clear that the song is sung by a woman to a man with whom she is intimate or for whom she has tender feelings.   In the song she addresses the person dumped or left behind as “turiculla, turicu,”  which I have translated as “Little brother, dear brother”. The Quichua language has two words for “brother.”  The term “wauki” refers  to a relationship between male siblings.  By contrast the term “turi,” used here, refers exclusively to a sister’s relationship to her brother.  By extension the term can be used by a woman as a form of intimate address for a man who is not her sibling. The latter meaning is common in love songs sung by a woman to a man who is not her husband and appears to be the meaning here.   It may even be that the song is addressed to a man who was the singer’s husband but who is now being left and thus is being transformed from being a “cari” (husband) into a “turi”. The suffixes –cu and –lla are diminutives.  Their use indicates  increased tenderness or endearment rather than lesser stature or age.

The song is not to be sung in the actual presence of the person to whom it is addressed.  Rather it is to be sung alone on the top of a hill or on a forest riverbank.  From there the wind and water will carry it to the intended recipient where it will work subtly and unconsciously on his emotions.  After the woman is gone the song will compel the “turicu” to come and look at the house she has left behind. The complex verb “ricui shamuna” used in line 14 literally means to come to see.  However in this context it carries the meaning of coming to “look after”, to “check up on” or “to take care of” .    It means “When you come to check up on my house..”   Hence the song will create an emotional change in the heart of the turicu so that he feels a need to come and see and care for the remains that the woman leaves behind. 

What the turicu finds when he comes to visit the woman’s abandoned house are “fierce weeds and birds.”   In the Amazonian context an abandoned house is a symbol of death.  Prior to the 1970’s, when a death occurred the loved one was buried beneath the dirt floor of the house and the house was then abandoned.   “Fierce weeds” are particularly a symbol of the absence or death of a hardworking woman.  Surrounding a traditional house was a “lumu chagra” or manioc garden.   A well-tended manioc garden was the mark of a good woman.   Since Amazonian people also lived from hunting birds rapidly became wary and scarce in the context of an inhabited house.

“A song to sing when you leave someone” captures the sense of a person’s absence or death by referring to how nature slowly takes over the clearing left by human presence.  The “wasi” or house is a cultural space.  While a woman lives the carefully kept garden around her house is a testament to her moral character.   Her life is a daily battle against weeds.      Hence the presence of fierce weeds is testimony to the absence of the gardener According to Amazonian thinking the appropriate strategy in times of family conflict is silence.   If the conflict is more serious then a temporary or even permanent absence is appropriate.  In these circumstances the ideal is simply to leave without saying a word.  If a person is very angry it can be difficult to leave without saying a single word but ritual singing can make it easier.  According to the singer this song is to be sung when you have to go away somewhere “dumping” somebody or leaving them behind.