This is another of my experiments in Ancient Egyptian
vocalization. In my previous ones I tried to explore the
narrative potentialities of various kinds of tales
(The shipwrecked sailor, Sinuhe, the pWestcar tales).
With "The teaching of Amenemhat" the approach was
a little bit different, because of its "dramatic" structure.
It was a sort of theatrical monologue.
With "The cannibal hymn" things are definitely
more difficult. Lots of books and articles have been written
about it. There are many translations, but many obscure
passages haven't yet been solved and there are a lot
of different explanations - many of them unsustainable,
in my humble opinion. And this didn't help my acting
approach. When you read a text silently you may take into
account a lot of possibilities which can march along together,
without mutual interference.
But when you have to recite the text you have to make
choices and you must have a clear vision of what you want
So I made my choices, which may look and sound
very unorthodox (you may have a hint at them
listening to my audio version).
Anyway the most difficult problem was to decide which
kind of approach I had to use with this fascinating text.
There are still many controversial questions about its
nature. Was it read by the lector-priest? Was it performed?
Had it a ritual function, or was it just a description?
And if a description: was it a substitute ritual or was it
a sort of "mythologization"? Or both? And more.
It may be seen as a "script" and it would be very easy
to make a theatrical performance out of its stage directions.
I took into account those and many other working hypotheses,
but, having to do with oral rendering, the mythologization approach
took the upper hand, no matter how hard I tried to keep it
Probably it's too aggressive and perhaps a little bit
overwhelming, which may create a sort of uneasiness.
It's true that the King acts as a conqueror, and he who has
authority doesn't need to be aggressive.
But I used the point of view of an elated lector-priest
who wants to impress his listeners.
Some sort of a propangandist!
The result is discontinuous. Some passages are acceptable,
other ones too rethorical or overacted. But I think I got
something of its rhythmic structure and inner hypnotism,
and that's why I decided to release it, no matter what.
For the vocalization I used as reference Frank Kammerzell's
excellent reconstruction, especially for accents and vowel qualities,
but I didn't follow him throughly and many passages and
vocalizations are quite different from those he suggests.
As usual with me - not knowledge, not wisdom, blind instinct.
The fact is: how can we reconstruct the methods and the vocal tricks
the lector-priests or the players used to achieve special effects?