The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138380   Message #3171672
Posted By: Azizi
16-Jun-11 - 05:36 PM
Thread Name: ADD: Songs from Trinidad
Subject: RE: ADD: Songs from Trinidad
The Trinidadian song posted above that was given the title "African War Call" appears to me to be a mix of folk etymology forms of Yoruba/Benin names for orisas (orishas), some English, some Spanish, and probably some onomatopoeic words.

I believe that at least one example of Spanish in that song is "bailar" meaning "to dance."

It also seems to me that the name "African War Call" was given to this song for public relations purposes as the song doesn't seem to have anything to do with war. It's worth noting that the Yoruba (Nigeria) orisha of iron and therefore also of war is "Ogun". And I'm not sure that "Ogun" is even mentioned in that "African War Call".

There is an orisha named "Aja",but I'm not sure if the word "Ajaja" mentioned in that song is that orisha or if "Ajaja" is a praise name for the Supreme Deity or a praise name for an orisha (god) that come from that Deity.

Be that as it may, some here may be interested in knowing that the eminent Yoruba percussionist Olantunji performed a song with the title "Ajaja". A video of that song can be found at

Here's some information about the Yoruba (Nigeria/Benin)religion from
"An Orisha (also spelled Orisa or Orixa) is a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of Olodumare (God) in the Yoruba spiritual or religious system. (Olodumare is also known by various other names including Olorun, Eledumare, Eleda and Olofin-Orun)."


To be clear, Olodumare (Olorun) is the Supreme God. The other names given are gods with a small "g".

That Wikipedia page and other sites provide the following information about the orishas that are mentioned in that song
Obatala (Obatalá, Oxalá, Orixalá, Orisainlá) - arch-divinity, father of humankind, divinity of light, spiritual purity, and moral uprightness

"Iemanja (Yemaja, Imanja, Yemayá, Jemanja, Yemalla, Yemana, Yemanja, Yemaya, Yemayah, Yemoja, Ymoja, Nanã, La Sirène, LaSiren, Mami Wata) - divine mother, divinity of the sea and loving mother of mankind, daughter of Obatala and wife of Aganju."


Sango (in the USA, usually spelled as it is pronounced "Shango")
"Shango (Shangó, Xango, Changó, Chango, Nago Shango) - warrior deity ; divinity of thunder, fire, sky father, represents male power and sexuality"

[To clarify, "Shango: is the orisa of male sexuality not female. And the references to "sky father" that I've read are usually "Obatala" and "Olodumare/Olorun")

Osun (also spelled as and pronounced "Oshun"
"Oshun (Oshún, Ọṣun, Oxum, Ochun, Osun, Oschun) - divinity of rivers, love, feminine beauty, fertility, and art, also one of Shango's lovers and beloved of Ogoun"


[Note "Ogoun" is usually given in the USA as "Ogun".

Orunmila (also "Orun" and "Oro")*
"In the Yoruba religion, Orunmila is the Yoruba Grand Priest and custodian of Ifá. This source of knowledge is believed to have a good understanding of the human form and of purity, praised as being a times more effective than remedies; his followers and priests are known as Babalawo."


* I believe "Orun" (Orunmila; Oro) is the "Oh-ro" that is mentioned in that song.

Olokun *
"Olokun also signifies unfathomable wisdom. That is, the instinct that there is something worth knowing, perhaps more than can ever be learned, especially the spiritual sciences that most people spend a lifetime pondering. It also governs material wealth, psychic abilities, dreaming, meditation, mental health and water-based healing. Olokun is one of many Orisa known to help women that desire children. It is also worshipped by those that seek political and social ascension, which is why heads of state, royalty, entrepreneurs and socialites often turn to Olokun to not only protect their reputations, but propel them further among the ranks of their peers.

Its name means Owner (Olo) of Oceans (Okun)."


*"Olokun" may be the "Oku" that is mentioned in that song.

"In Yoruba mythology, Aja is an Orisha, patron of the forest, the animals within it and herbal healers, whom she taught their art.

Among the Yoruba, aja also refer to a "wild wind". It's believed that if someone is carried away by aja, and then returns, he becomes a powerful "jujuman" (or babalawo). The journey supposedly will have a duration of between 7 days to 3 months, and the person so carried is thought to have gone to the land of the dead or heaven (Orun)."