Many and Great / Wa­kan­tan­ka ta­ku ni­ta­wa / Dakota Hymn

This hymn was originally written in 1842 in the Dakota Native American language by Joseph R. Renville. Its Dakota title is "Wakantanka taku nitawa".   The original text is based on Jeremiah 10:12-13.

It was first published in 1879 in the Dakota Odowan, a significant hymnal in the Dakota language.

The first and last of the original seven verses were paraphrased / translated to English by Sioux Indian Congregational minister's son, Philip Frazier (1892-1964) in 1929. This version has been widely used and modernized over the years. It is sometimes called the Dakota Hymn, and has been included in a number of contemporary "world music" collections.

Sidney Byrd made another translation of all seven verses, starting "Great Spirit God, the things which are thine".

With meter 9.6.9.9.9.6, it is set to the tune LAC QUI PARLE, a tune written by Renville in Dakota, often called LACQUIPARLE.



Downloads

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Examples

Solo singer, unaccompanied:


Unaccompanied choir - Dakota hymn starts at 1:38


Choir with organ:


Singer with gentle guitar-based band:


Instrumental, dual harps:


Lyrics

Dakota version (verse 1)

Wakantanka taku
nitawa
tankaya qaota;
mahpiya kin eyahnake ca,
makakin he duowanca.
Mniowanca sbeya wanke cin,
hena ovakihi.

Original translation:

Many and great, O God, are Thy things,
Maker of earth and sky;
Thy hands have set the heavens with stars,
Thy fingers spread the mountains and plains.
Lo, at Thy word the waters were formed;
Deep seas obey Thy voice.
Grant unto us communion with Thee,
Thou star-abiding One;
Come unto us and dwell with us:
With Thee are found the gifts of life.
Bless us with life that has no end,
Eternal life with Thee.

Modern translation

Many and great, O God, are your works,
Maker of earth and sky; Your hands have set the heav'ns with stars;
Your fingers spread the mountains and plains.
Lo, Your word formed the waters deep;
Oceans obey Your voice.

Grant unto us communion with You,
O star-abiding One;
Come unto us and dwell with us;
With You are found the gifts of life.
Bless us with life that has no end,
Eternal life with You.

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2 comments:

  1. This has been a really fun project to work on. Published and available now while we're still in the Season of Creation... https://youtu.be/9CAkbhoK4qA

    ReplyDelete
  2. A new recording of Many and Great is now on YouTube at https://youtu.be/9CAkbhoK4qA. Score is available on request.

    ReplyDelete


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