Stanley Djalarra Rankin works in the Lúrra Language and Culture team at Maningrida College. His father’s language is Djinang and his mother’s language is Wurlaki. Both of these languages are part of the Yolngu group, from country to the east of Maningrida. Stanley is also part of the Marrangu people, who share a songline that stretches from Ritjarrngu country on the Gulf of Carpentaria right up towardsthe mouth of the Blyth River. The songline also travels towards the east to Raymanggirr, a place close to Gapuwiyak owned by the Balkarranydji, who are another Marrangu clan. This songline celebrates the travels of Djarwarri, the Honey spirit and the spirit woman who is called Miwal by the Djinang Marrangu.
Different Marrangu clans have different names for this spirit woman.The Miwal story is sacred to the Marrangu Djinang people. Stanley is one of the ceremonial leaders of the Wurrkiganydjarr clan group and performs the songs that are part of this story in ceremonies throughout the Maningrida region.
Stanley is also the local producer for the Miwal Song Project which documents in song, dance and art the songline that connects many Djowunga/Dhuwa clan groups in Eastern and Central Arnhem Land.
The key themes of the song cycle are Miwal and Djarwarri, two ancestral travellers. Djarwarri is the ancestor for ‘wild honey’ (sugarbag), and much of the performative action in these songs centres on Miwal searching for the prized substance.
Stanley’s local group, the Wurrkiganydjarr, means ‘flower-power’ and refers to the importance of the stringybark tree and its flower, which provides the nectar used by native bees to make sugarbag.
The songs also reflect the seasonal cycle, topography and habitats of Marrangu country.
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