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Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)

Related thread:
Lyr Add: Malaika (Fadhili Williams Mdawida) (64)


Dave Rado 09 Nov 17 - 08:07 PM
Joe Offer 09 Nov 17 - 08:53 PM
GUEST 10 Nov 17 - 01:39 PM
Dave Rado 10 Nov 17 - 01:41 PM
Dave Rado 10 Nov 17 - 01:47 PM
Dave Rado 15 Nov 17 - 01:53 PM
Tattie Bogle 15 Nov 17 - 03:41 PM
Dave Rado 15 Nov 17 - 09:15 PM
Tattie Bogle 16 Nov 17 - 07:57 PM
Dave Rado 21 Nov 17 - 11:07 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)
From: Dave Rado
Date: 09 Nov 17 - 08:07 PM

While I was living in Kenya in the 1960s, Fadhili William and Mona Miller had a huge hit single there with a version of Malaika in which they sang two verses in English and one in Swahili. I fell in love with the song then. You can download an mp3 of that version free here (click the Download button on that page).

There is one line of the English lyrics in this recording that I've never been able to make any sense of. Below are the English words as far as I've been able to make them out; with the line that makes no sense to me in bold and underlined. Can anyone else make sense of that line (by listening to the recording that I've linked to above)?

Malaika, how I love you my angel.
Malaika, how can we stay apart?
Ever since I met you, my heart has been aflame;
But if ever you should break this heart,
My love will haunt you, Malaika.
But if ever you should break this heart,
My love will haunt you, Malaika.

Dear heart, but I cannot marry.
Dear heart, you flew rich men dowry.
But if ever I can run from here,
And just now I do not know,
Then you and I will fly away,
Just you and your Malaika;
Then you and I will fly away,
Just you and your Malaika.


On a subsidiary note, the Wikipedia article about the song is absolutely definite that the song was really written by Adam Salim, even though Fadhili Williams holds the copyright (or his estate does, now that he's dead) - but the evidence for this doesn't look at all cut and dried to me and my instinct is to believe William's story rather than Salim's, based on the evidence that I'm aware of. Does anyone have any comments on this controversy?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Nov 17 - 08:53 PM

Hi, Dave -
I crosslinked you to the previous thread on the song. Anything there that helps you?
Here's a recording of "Malaika" by Miriam Makeba: And one by Boney M: -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Nov 17 - 01:39 PM

No nothing there. And Makeba only sings the Swahili words, and Boney M mangle them.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)
From: Dave Rado
Date: 10 Nov 17 - 01:41 PM

That last post was by me.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)
From: Dave Rado
Date: 10 Nov 17 - 01:47 PM

I'm pretty certain that the only recording of the English words that has ever been made is the recording I linked to in my original post, which is available to download free. Can you make out what she's singing in that recording when she gets to the line I underlined in my original post?

It sounds like "You flew rich men dowry," but that makes no sense.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)
From: Dave Rado
Date: 15 Nov 17 - 01:53 PM

I've made a high quality recording from my copy of the single, and uploaded it to youtube,
here. See also the notes I wrote there - can anyone make any sense of the the second line of the second English verse?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 15 Nov 17 - 03:41 PM

Seems clear enough to me (even with my dodgy hearing!)that what she is singing is:
"Dear heart, you've no rich man's dowry"....
That does make sense in that the girl would not be an acceptable bride unless her dad could come up with a big fat dowry. Maybe not such a common practice in that part of Africa, but often done in other areas of the world.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)
From: Dave Rado
Date: 15 Nov 17 - 09:15 PM

Hi Tattie Bogle

Actually in Kenya it was the potential husband who had to pay a dowry to the bride's family.

Fadhili Williams claimed the song was autobiographical - that he was engaged to a girl whose parents married her off to a much older man because he couldn't afford to pay the dowry they wanted for her.

Still I agree that "Dear heart, you've no rich man's dowry" makes sense. It doesn't sound like she's singing "no" to me in that line but maybe you're right that she is, as it certainly would make sense.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 16 Nov 17 - 07:57 PM

Thanks for the correction re the Kenyan dowry system. I'll listen again, but I think that's what it is. Incidentally, was attracted by the thread title, as I had sung this song in a group on a music course.....But in Swahili (or our impression of it - maybe another mangling!)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Malaika (duo version with Mona Miller)
From: Dave Rado
Date: 21 Nov 17 - 11:07 AM

I think you must be right, although I find her pronunciation of "no" in that line very strange. Many thanks. Nice to hear it's being sung on music courses!

Dave


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