Avatar Wiki
Advertisement
Avatar Wiki
This article is about the Na'vi mnemonic device. You may be looking for Neytiri's song The Songcord performed by Zoe Saldaña.
Songcord Infobox
Songcord
Item Information
Na'vi Name

waytelem

Location

Pandora

Used by

Na'vi

Usage

Mnemonic device

Colour

Varies

Behind the Scenes
First Appearance
  • Avatar (worn by Eytukan)
  • Pandorapedia (first written description)

The songcord (Na'vi name: waytelem)[1] is a mnemonic device used by Na'vi individuals as well as entire clans for recounting information, stories, and mythology.

Description[]

Individuals create a songcord that is used as a tactile representation of their own personal or family/clan history, whereas community song cords can represent much more complex information such as astronomical and historical data.[2] Songcords serve a similar purpose to the Na'vi as writing does to humans and are their primary form of record-keeping. However, the songcord does not replace their oral tradition, as the cords serve merely as mnemonic aids to assist in oral storytelling and recounting.

It has been said that the Na'vi are also superstitious about their songcords, believing they can ward off evil spirits.[3]

Materials and Construction[]

Songcord

The cords are created using various materials such as beads, crystal, bits of bone, and plant material, strung onto a long piece of twine or thread. Individuals create their own song cords and expand on them continuously, adding a new item to the cord for any significant life event that occurs. It's unknown who is in charge of creating larger, community cords.

A Na'vi child's songcord is short in length given their young age. But should an individual ask to hear sung aloud, the song is surprisingly long. Often, the songs are packed with thrilling stories and grand adventures. However, the child's parents may sing a different version, perhaps closer to the truth.[4]

The significance of each bead and item on a Na'vi's songcord is only known by them and their closest friends and family. When a Na'vi dies, their friends and family sing their songcord during their funeral in mourning and remembrance.[5] The individual is then buried alongside their cord.[6]

Neytiri's Songcord[]

Neytiris Songcord

Neytiri holding her songcord while singing The Songcord

In Avatar: The Way of Water, Neytiri sings a part of her personal songcord at the beginning and end of the film. In the song, Neytiri thanks Eywa for the life of her children, especially Neteyam's, and welcomes Kiri into the Sully family. The song was released as The Songcord as part of the film's official soundtrack on December 15, 2022. It was composed by Simon Franglen and performed by Zoe Saldaña.

Known Songcords[]

  • Neytiri's songcord - Contains a bead depicting the birth and death of Neteyam, as well as a bead for the adoption of Kiri.
  • Jake’s songcord - Contains, among others, a bead for the birth/adoption of each of his children and a bead for the day he met Neytiri.
  • Neteyam's songcord - The first bead represents the first lullaby he remembers from his childhood and the last bead is for joining the Metkayina clan.
  • Lo'ak's songcord - Contains a bead depicting the day the Sky People arrived on Pandora.
  • Tuktirey's songcord
  • Tonowari's songcord - Features a small shell totem that his partner Ronal can sing about for a long time.
  • Ronal's songcord - Contains a shell representing the birth of Tsireya.
  • Tsireya's songcord - Contains a shell shaped like a water drum, representing her first breath ritual.
  • Aonung's songcord - Contains an ilu tooth and carved beads from the bottom of his father's canoe.
  • The Sarentu's songcord - Given to them by So'lek
  • Kataru's songcord - Stolen by John Mercer and retrieved by Kataru's child

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • The usage of the cords is similar to the historic use of Wampum by the Iroquois, an Indigenous American tribe.
  • The songcord also bears resemblances to the rosary, an item that is used primarily in the Catholic Church to aid in prayer.

References[]

Advertisement