Mahk Jchi

The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library

Mahk Jchi

Mahk Jchi is a haunting song written by the Native American women’s group Ulali. The song is in a compilation of Tutelo and Saponi languages, now extinct dialects of the Sioux nation from the Ohio Valley. There is a commonly mistaken translation of this song widely circulated on the internet but the translation below has been confirmed by the artist. This song takes an investment in learning and is more complex for choral, oral-tradition learning, but do-able and worth it.

Composer & Copyright

Composed by and copyright Pura Fé and Soni of Ulali.

Recording

Inspiration Track

Lyrics

Mahk Jchi tahm boo-ee
yahm pi-gih-dee
Mahk Jchi tahm boo-ee
kahn speh-wah eh-bi (x2)

Mahm-pi wah ho-ka yi nonk,
tah hond tah-ni kih-yee tai-yee
Ghee weh meh yee-tai-yee,
Nan-ka yaht yah moo-ni-yeh wah-jhi-seh

English translation:

Our hearts are full and our minds are good
Our ancestors come and give us strength
Stand tall, sing, dance and never forget who you are
Or where you come from

 

14 Comments
  • Andrew Monty

    RIP Robbie Robertson, a man of part Native American heritage, who featured a version of this beautiful song on his 1994 album ‘Music for the Native Americans’.

  • Anastasia Shawnoo

    Chi-miigwetch for sharing this! Ulali has been my biggest inspiration for 3 decades now! And this song has been the song that has helped bring my spirit up everytime I felt broken Very powerful! Gizaawgin

  • Perry Ortiz Silverbird

    i have been singing this song for many years now since I arrived in Austria, because it holds dear to my heart from my friends & relatives – Pura Fe, Soni, & Jennifer. HO my dearest sisters- I have also added a chant for the children to sing along. Long life to the memory of all my relatives. Perry-“the gentle flutepoet”

  • Lindsay Mersola

    I have been singing this song for nearly a decade. Not knowing what it meant. Needing to know. This song played during the north of my second child at home. I cannot tell you why this song was so powerful and deep for me and after searching years for the meaning I stumble on your page. Thank you thank you for keeping these oral traditions alive. Thank you for this translation.

  • Dita

    Great!! Thank you so much for this translation. I got this song several times as a message and really wanted to understand what it meant. Xxx

  • I couldn’t remember the song name nor the artist.
    I was looking for this beautiful song for 25 years.
    Just to accidentally found it at my best friends home, Going through an old and dusty CD collection of them…
    Crazy.

    I found this on the Internet:
    Our hearts are full and our minds are good
    Our ancestors come and give us strength
    Stand tall, sing, dance and never forget who you are
    Or where you come from

  • jaja

    Adoro questa canzone….. canta le corde della mia anima…..

  • Esteban Botero

    Thank you!

  • Melissa Garcia

    I am native American (Cherokee) and the first time I heard this song I knew I wanted it played at my funeral and I had no clue what they were even saying. Then I read this and it is just so fitting. Such a beautiful piece!!!

  • Jennifer

    Thank you–I also have the full album and have been in love with this deeply beautiful piece for years and years. The lyrics translated are justwhat I would have guessed. Thank you for this!

  • Marcus R.C. Matheryn

    Thank you for your efforts in archiving and translation. The importance of this is unmatched.

  • Nerida Kirov

    Sorry, I should have read the top first!!

  • Nerida Kirov

    I have had this recording from when it was first released an love the whole album. Thanks so much, it is so helpful to see the words written. What language is it please?

    • Lisa G.

      The song is in a compilation of Tutelo and Saponi languages, now extinct dialects of the Sioux nation from the Ohio Valley

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