These are the Akkadian words with English translation. Akkadian translation by Joseph Pagan, Ph.D.

The Recording Process:

First Unit Production and Recording:
Tony Garone: vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards
Recorded, engineered and mixed at Cow Pilot Studios, Arizona by Tony Garone

Second Unit Production and Recording:
Phillip Griffin: Turkish saz 
Recorded and converted to MP3 format on Philip Griffin's PC, Israel

Third Unit Production and Recording.
Engineered by Lisa Roth and Billy Brown
Casey Carney: jambe´, wind chime
Recorded in 6 tracks at Stomp Box Studios October, 2000

First, I recorded the song structure on the ADAT using acoustic guitar. I then transferred it to the computer and converted it to an MP3 file. I emailed the MP3 file to Philip in Jerusalem, who recorded the song using the Turkish Saz onto his computer. He converted the file back to an MP3 and emailed it to me. After one or two revisions I took the final version of the song and dumped it from the computer back onto the ADAT on two stereo tracks.

Casey working on "Enkidu" at Stomp Box Studios

I sent the ADAT to William who had Casey add drums to it. I loved the fact that I had never met Philip and neither had Casey, yet he was playing on a tape with him. William sent the tape back to me and I added additional instruments.

It was at this point that an idea struck me to do the vocals in the original Akkadian tongue. I called Joe Pagan and discussed it with him. He liked the idea and with that we had a further conversation on what should comprise the lyric. After a fascinating and profound conversation (it was our first phone conversation; up until this point all communication had been through email), concerning all things Sumerian and Akkadian he gave me the phonetic pronunciations of the words.

That night I recorded the vocals, and added even more percussion instruments as well.

So there you have it.

A little background on Philip:

This is a really incredible story. When an old friend of mine (Marcie Shreier) came to visit me in Arizona (she lives in Israel), she told me about a very talented musician who played some exotic instruments of the Near East. Naturally I was very interested to speak with him about playing on Gilgamesh.

There was only one problem; we lived about ten thousand miles apart! But in this marvelous, shiny, kooky age of computers and the Internet, nothing is impossible. So began our long distance conversations via email. Needless to say, Philip was interested in trying this experiment. I had an idea as to how we would accomplish this and Philip was willing to give it a try.

Some commentary by Philip:

When I came to Israel, I lay low for a while. Then I saw an ad in the local paper looking for a Bass player for a rock band so I gave them a ring. I turned up, we jammed, and they said, "let's get together and jam somewhere else with a different line-up of people". We did and one of these new people was Marcie Schreier and I caught a lift
with her to the session. What did she have on the car cassette? Renaissance songs for vihuela (pre guitar-like instrument) and voice. So I said, " let's get together and do some of that". We did and then Marcie said, "I've got a friend Tony who knows all about Egypt and the stars".

 

Thanks for that, Marcie. But there was more....

Philip and the Turkish Saz

"Tony wants to make a CD and wants to know whether you'd (that's me) like to play on it?" So Tony emailed and explained how to read a star chart and I worked out how to play one of his tunes on one of the instruments that were hanging on my wall that I hadn't got around to playing with yet. It's a Saz from Istanbul, Turkey and it's pretty cute. Lots of movable frets made out of fishing line that you can put wherever you want and play lots of notes that you'd probably call "out of tune" by western standards. They seem to work pretty well for tunes from Turkey (and from Mr Garone too I might add).

 

On a technical note, It all happened with MP3 technology, Tony sent me an MP3 of him playing the guitar & singing "Enkidu", I put the MP3 on my computer and played along, learnt it, recorded a new one, turned that into a high-quality MP3, sent it back to Tony and he dumped it onto ADAT (digital 8-track tape) before adding other instruments (which as I write this I haven't yet heard and to which I look forward). I hope you enjoy the track and Tony's CD. Have a good look around his website too, it's full of very interesting stuff.

What is this song about?

The people of Uruk raised their voices in protest against Gilgamesh. An/Anu called to the creator god, Aruru, who created Enkidu (using a lump of clay or a rock in the forest). Enkidu was half man, half beast, was carefree, and ran wild with the animals of the forest in the Cedar Mountains. An interesting contrast was in place here as Gilgamesh was a demigod (part man and part god), Enkidu was part animal and part man.

When the son of a hunter saw Enkidu in the forest drinking from a pond with the other animals, he suspected this might be the powerful beast the gods created as an equal for Gilgamesh. He returned to his father who told him to tell Gilgamesh of this beast. Gilgamesh sent a harlot named Shamhat to, "show Enkidu the ways of humanity." The underlying purpose of Gilgamesh's action was to weaken Enkidu by making him more human.

For seven days and nights Shamhat instructed Enkidu in the ways of humanity through sexuality. With each passing day Enkidu lost more of his connection to nature and became more human. He was transformed from an innocent creature who frolicked in the forest to a sentient human being. Subsequently, the animals of the forest no longer drew near to him as they feared his humanity.

This part of the story is interesting because comparisons can be drawn between Enkidu and the Biblical Adam. Like Enkidu who lived in complete harmony with nature, Adam did the same, and he walked with God. Enkidu was tempted by sexuality and Adam by the "fruit of the knowledge of good and evil." This "fruit of knowledge" could draw a closer parallel to Enkidu's activities with the harlot Shamhat in that it opened Adam's eyes to his "nakedness" - and perhaps his capability for reproduction and sexuality:

Genesis Chapter 3 verse 7: And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

 

One can also consider that Adam and Eve realized they were complementary opposites, hence the alchemical nature of the Biblical texts rears its head once again. For me, that is.


This encounter with Shamhat led to the expulsion of Enkidu from the forest:

"For six days and seven nights Enkidu stayed aroused, and had intercourse with the harlot until he was sated with her charms. But when he turned his attention to his animals, the gazelles saw Enkidu and darted off, the wild animals distanced themselves from his body. Enkidu was diminished, his running was not as before. But then he drew himself up, for his understanding had broadened." (Excerpt from "The Epic of Gilgamesh" by Maureen Gallery Kovacs, Stanford University Press)

The key verbiage of this passage is. "for his understanding had broadened." Like Adam, Enkidu had made a decision that was to change his life, and there was no turning back.

But more importantly for Gilgamesh, the arrival of Enkidu had a profound influence on his attitude towards his humanity (or inhumanity as the case may be). In an excerpt from an essay entitled "The Gilgamesh Series - Themes from an Ancient Epic" by Dr. Pagan and James Lake:

"The arrival of Enkidu represents an important step in the character development of Gilgamesh, for it is in Enkidu that he learns to love and accept another as his equal."

The name "Enkidu"

Dr. Pagan explains:

I've been rather uncertain about the precise meaning of the name Enkidu (not that the individual elements are difficult to understand; it's the relation of the elements to each other that presents the problem). So, I checked in Andre Limet's L'Anthroponymie Sumerienne (Paris, 1968) and found some analogous names. The last two elements of en-ki-du10 occur in other names and have been interpreted by Limet as a predicate "is a good place" ("est un bon endroit"). For example, in the following (p. 262): Uru-ki-du10, perhaps "The city is a good place"; or Gi6-par3-ki-du10 "Le Gipar est un bon endroit" ("The Gipar is a good place"). I believe that in this instance the element du10 (also dug3) functions as a predicate (as in Limet's examples), but with en as the subject at the head of a genitive compound, perhaps: en.ki(g.ak)-du(g) "The ruler of the land is good." However, another possibility is to interpret the name as en-ki(g).du(g.ak) "Ruler of the good land." I don't know offhand which is more likely to be correct.