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Lyr Add: Turn The World Around


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Azizi 22 Oct 06 - 09:15 AM
Azizi 22 Oct 06 - 09:48 AM
Azizi 22 Oct 06 - 09:53 AM
Azizi 22 Oct 06 - 10:01 AM
Azizi 22 Oct 06 - 10:34 AM
Azizi 22 Oct 06 - 10:46 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Turn The World Around
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 09:15 AM

One of the gems that I found on YouTube late last night was
Turn The World Around-Belafonte On The Muppet Show

I intend to post the link to this video on Mudcat YouTube Folkmusic Video PermaThread

I'll post the song's lyrics and what is essentially a soliloquy that Belafonte makes to introduce this song. In this thread I'll also share my thoughts about the song and other information I've found about the song.

Please join me!

[By the way, for all those who haven't become active "YouTubers" yet, in my opinion, trying to find videos on Youtube-that you like-is a time consuming, frustratingly enjoyable pastime. There's an awful lot of "junk" there. But then you find a gem of a video and before you know it you're hooked!]

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Turn The World Around
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 09:48 AM

Here's an excerpt from The Muppet Show -Wikepedia about The Muppet Show itself:

"The Muppet Show was a television program featuring a cast of Muppets (diverse hand-operated puppets, typically with oversized eyes and large moving mouths) produced by Jim Henson and his team from 1976 to 1981. The show stars Kermit the Frog, also one of the main Muppet characters of Sesame Street. Whereas Kermit was a happy, perky and somewhat avuncular character on Sesame Street, here he is trying to keep control of the varied, outrageous, kinetic Muppet characters (and his temper), as well as keep the human guest stars happy and secure. The television show depicted a vaudeville or music hall style song-and-dance variety show, as well as the backstage antics involved in putting the show on.

The show was well-known for outrageous, highly physical (slapstick), sometimes absurdist comedy, and particularly for using its puppet characters to create uniquely humorous parodies. Each show also featured a human guest star; after the show became popular with audiences, many major celebrities were eager to perform with the Muppets on television and in film."


In the particular show segment that is the subject of this thread, Fozzie Bear is lamenting with Harry Belafonte about his {Fozzie's} difficulty writing songs. Fozzie is described in the abovementioned Wikipedia article as "a (questionably talented) stand-up comic bear, and Kermit's unofficial second-in-command.

Here's an excerpt from Trivia for "The Muppet Show" (1976)

"Of all the musical numbers they cooked up for the show, the one the producers were most proud of was created from Harry Belafonte's request for a meaningful piece, which had the singer singing "Turn the World Around" with puppets made to resemble traditional African tribal masks."


In my next post, I'll add my transcription of Belafonte's introductory statement to "Turn The World Around."

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Turn The World Around
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 09:53 AM

Introductory soliloquy "Turn The World Around" [Harry Belafonte]:

How's the writing coming Foz?
Oh boy, I didn't know it will be that tough, Harry .
Oh well, you know you write a lot of stuff.
No not really
No oh well I write songs.
Yeah they're terrific.
Hey, how do you get ideas for all those songs?
Well they don't come easily.
You have to get inspired.
And like the song we're gonna do next
[un hun]
I discovered that song in Africa.
I was in a country called Guinea.
I went deep into the interior of that country.
And in a little village
I met with a storyteller.
And that storyteller
went way back into African tradition and African mythology
and he began to tell the story about
the fire
which means the sun
about the water
and about the earth.
And he pointed out that all of these things put together
could turn the world around.
And that all of us
are here for a very very short time.
And in that time that we're here
it really isn't any difference
in many of us
we don't take the time to understand each other.
And the question is do I know who you are and do you know who I am
and do we care about each other
'cause if we do
together we can
turn the world around.


This is written to approximate the way Belafonte phrased this introductory statement.

Please post any corrections to this transcription.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Turn The World Around
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 10:01 AM

The song "Turn The World Around" is often given the title "We Come From The Mountain". provides both the lyrics and the chords to that song as follows:

We come from the fire, living in the fire
Go back to the fire, turn the world around

/ G C D G / :

We come from the fire, living in the fire
   We come from the fire
Go back to the fire, turn the world around
   Go back to the fire, turn the world around

We come from the water, living in the water...

We come from the mountain, living on the mountain...

Oh, oh so is life
Ah, ha so is life
Oh, oh so is life
Ah, ha so is life

Do you know who I am
Do I know who you are
See we one another clearly
Do we know who we are
Oh, oh so is life
Abatiwaha, so is life
Oh, oh so is life
Abatiwaha, so is life

Water make the river, river wash the mountain
Fire make the sunlight, turn the world around

Heart is of the river, body is the mountain
Spirit is the sunlight, turn the world around

We are of the spirit, truly of the spirit
Only can the spirit turn the world around


[Song is in 5/4 - the first G and D are 3 beats, C and the second G are 2 beats.]

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Turn The World Around
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 10:34 AM

Various things:

Using Mudcat's search engine, I've found two threads where
"We come From the Mountain" is mentioned without any lyrics given:

RE: Sing With Me
post by Guest Genie; Sep 26 2001 3:01AM


RE: Good A Capella Chorus Songs post by Genie; 04 Mar 03 - 09:22 PM


Presumably, these are the same person. Is Genie still posting here?
If so, thanks for mentioning this song!


There are a number of Mudcat threads on Harry Belafonte, and a number of "his" songs are in the DigiTrad. Here's one of those threads:

Origins: Jamaica Farewell: History?


Hopefully, this thread can be added to the listing of Belafonte threads.


The YouTube video "Turn The World Around" was added [to YouTube] on July 30, 2006 by wolfma, who wrote this summary:

"Harry Belafonte and the Muppets sing a song taken from African tradition and folklore."


There are a number of comments about that video on its YouTube page.
One person with the screen name mikemc0420 wrote

"I haven't seen this in about 20 years... those puppets scared me back then, and still kinda do... Harry and the song are awesome though.."


FWIW, I also think those puppets {muppets?} in African mask look scary. This morning when I showed my daughter this video, she said she remembered it and though she liked the song, she used to be afraid of those African mask puppets.

In spite of that certainly unforseen reaction, I'm still glad that I found this video because I think the song and it's introductory statement are so positive.


The drum that Belafonte is carrying in that Muppet show video is a West African "talking drum". See this excerpt about that drum from CD review: Tama Walo: Keepers of the Talking Drum

"Popularly known as the talking drum because of its ability to mimic and articulate speech, the tama drum can be found throughout West Africa in different contexts, manifestations and names such as dundun in Nigeria (Euba 1990). The talking drum plays a crucial role in ceremonies and festivities such as weddings, life-cycle events, child-naming ceremonies, and wrestling matches. The instrument and its cultural relevance carry over into popular music genres as a marker of identity and vibrant connection between traditional practices and modernity. For example, the tama can be found in the popular music of Senegal such as mbalax (a blend of traditional Senegalese sabar drumming, Afro-Cuban music, African pop, and western pop). Likewise, the dundun in the jùjú music is prominent in Nigerian night life, ariya weddings, birthdays and funerals Waterman 1990). Internationally, the tama can be heard in groups led by Senegalese Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour or in various world beat ensembles."


This two headed squeeze drum is held under the drummer's arm pit and played with a curved stick. It's the amount of squeezing that produces the different pitches.

Btw, I've seen the name "dundun" provided as also "Djun Djun".

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Turn The World Around
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 10:46 AM

Correction to the introductory statement:

2nd sentence-Fozzie Bear: "Oh boy, I didn't know it would be that tough, Harry".

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