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Origins: Shosholoza

DigiTrad:
TSHOTSHOLOSA


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Bantu Original Words to 'Somagwaza' (30)
Chord Req: Shosholoza (2)
Lyr Req: Shololoza (7)
Lyr Req: Cho Cho Losa (7)
Lyr Req: Cho cho losa/sho sho losa (7)


GUEST,Bob Biderman 06 Sep 01 - 10:47 PM
Joe Offer 06 Sep 01 - 11:43 PM
GUEST,Bob Biderman 07 Sep 01 - 02:23 PM
Troll 08 Sep 01 - 02:06 AM
Sorcha 08 Sep 01 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,James K 23 Mar 05 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,Cod Fiddler 23 Mar 05 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,PT 04 Jun 06 - 01:03 PM
GUEST 27 Apr 07 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,Texas Guest 27 Apr 07 - 09:37 PM
Peace 28 Apr 07 - 12:19 PM
Peace 28 Apr 07 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,TIA 07 May 07 - 10:37 PM
Azizi 07 May 07 - 10:57 PM
GUEST 16 Aug 07 - 01:35 PM
Azizi 01 Jan 09 - 06:13 AM
Azizi 01 Jan 09 - 06:25 AM
Genie 27 Jul 11 - 05:08 PM
DrugCrazed 28 Jul 11 - 05:10 PM
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Subject: Information re Shosholoza
From: GUEST,Bob Biderman
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 10:47 PM

Common Thread: Community Choir of Toronto sings the song entitled Shosholoza (it is called Tshosholosa or Tshotsholosa in the database). We have the lyrics and transliteration but would like some more background information about the song - the who, when, where and why of it. Can anyone out there be of help?

Bob


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Subject: RE: Information re Shosholoza
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 11:43 PM

I found a couple of threads on the subject - this one (click) gives some pretty good information, and this one gives a little. I checked my Pete Seeger books and didn't find anything.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Information re Shosholoza
From: GUEST,Bob Biderman
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 02:23 PM

Joe, thanks to the threads you pointed me to I've now got some information about the song, though I welcome anything more people come up with. I dug through my old copies of Sing Out, and volume 31/number 4 contains the song and a little background. The notes in SO are apparently identical to those found on the album Travelin' on With the Weavers.

I then dug out my copy of the classic Pete Seeger record, We Shall Overcome, but uncharacteristically for Pete there is no helpful information about Tshotsholosa on the jacket. If my turntable worked I'd play Pete's version of it, but my longterm memory is that he just sings the song.

It is a South African freedom song, sung in Swahili, but the lyrics talk about a train from Rhodesia (or more recently Zimbabwe). Can someone explain this reference to another country for me?

Jeremiah McCaw was researching the song a couple of years ago. Are you there Jeremiah and do you have any more info?

Bob Biderman


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Subject: RE: Information re Shosholoza
From: Troll
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:06 AM

Joe, the movie referred to in one of your threads was called "Dingaka" but I can't recall who the star was. At one time I had the vinyl album with all the songs from the movie. I may still. I'll look and get back to you.

troll


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Subject: RE: Information re Shosholoza
From: Sorcha
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 10:50 AM

Dingaka,the movie.


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Subject: RE: Information re Shosholoza
From: GUEST,James K
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 10:23 AM

In the late 1950's early 1960's a South African revue,"King Kong", containing Peggy Kwango and The Manhatten Brothers came to London. One of the songs that the Manhatten Brothers sang at that time was Chocholhosa,[they also did some great gumboot dancing].
When they appeared at the Edinborough Festival, they were heard by Ian Campbell, and his group,"The Ian Campbell Folk Group",recorded
the song in 1964 on an LP called "Across the Hills", on the Transatlantic label. This LP, together with one called, "This is the Ian Campbell Folk Group", was reissued by Castle Records in 1996 on
a CD called simply,"The Ian Campbell Folk Group" {ESM CD 357]


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Subject: RE: Information re Shosholoza
From: GUEST,Cod Fiddler
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 12:06 PM

I have an idea that the train journey in the song refers to the journey of poor rural people to the mines of Johannesberg - a journey to great hardship but also providing the means to feed their families. I've heard it in South Africa with "South Africa" instead of "Zimbabwe". I guess the song is common to many southern African countries who insert the name of their own country into the lyrics.

The word "shoshaloza" is onomatopoeic and describes the sound of a steam engine. This is typical of the Southern African languages. Other great examples are "Ixopo" (a town) and "ipeepeep". The "X" in Ixopo is an alveolar lateral plosive (the sort of click you do when communicating with horses) and the word describes the sound of cattle's feet sucking in mud - a real poetry! "ipeepeep" is a new word for "scooter"

Are you sure the language is Swahili and not Zulu? Swahili is East African and I can't imagine it having anything to do with any Southern African country.

Richard.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: GUEST,PT
Date: 04 Jun 06 - 01:03 PM

*I have just returned from beutifull SA, My contact there is adamaent,(having lived through most of these times) that the original version of Shosholosa, was sung by the workers returning TO Rodesia, from the mines in South Africa.
Any referance in the song to South Africa or Zimbabwa etc.,. is not only a late addition, It dont Rymmmkm
Aye
Peter


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:09 AM

Sorry, you'er all off the mark a bit. This song was first sung by the African labourers (farming and industry) in then Rhodesia as an anti-white song. The translation of the words tells the white man to run away from Rhodesia using the fastest way possible back then... the steam train. It is essentially... and anti colonial (white) song. I remember listening to the farm worker sing this song on my dad's farm in the early seventies when I was a boy and on asking my dad what it meant, he explained the above. As I spoke the sindebele language quite well, on carefully listening to the words, it all made sense. It's ironic that now South Africa uses this song as it's sporting war cry.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 09:37 PM

Guest - Eric Bogle uses the phrase with other phrases at the end of his wonderful song, "Singing The Spirit Home."

I sent Eric a note and got a reply to the effect that he didn't know what the words meant - sounds a bit strange for Eric to say that but...have you heard Eric's song and do you know what they are saying at the end? I would love to do the song with the ending he recorded but I'd like to know what the hell I'm singing before I do. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: Peace
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 12:19 PM

Foiund this:

"[In English, ``Steam away, steam away over the hills, you train from Rhodesia.
You are fast-moving through hills, steam away, you train from Rhodesia.'']"

That is from http://ma141.tripod.com/data/tshotsho.htm

(CAREFUL: POPUPS with that link.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: Peace
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 12:19 PM

Like about seven of them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 07 May 07 - 10:37 PM

Holy crap.

My daughter (14) just wrote the most amazing arrangment of this song for flute, violin and acoustic bass -- based on hearing her cousins sing it (unfortunately, we are not singers). It's so good, we are going to use it at a gig this weekend.

Sorry, just had to brag.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: Azizi
Date: 07 May 07 - 10:57 PM

Congratulations to your daughter!! Maybe eventually lots of other people besides those at your gig will hear her creation. Hint. Hint.

And re: your bragging about your daughter, as a parent you've earned the right to brag!

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Aug 07 - 01:35 PM

Hi Guys, i've read many of the dated posts and here's my 5 cents worth.

Firstly , i must add that i spent most of my life in southern Africa so i kind of know what i;m talking aobut.

Originally the song was sung by Rhodesian migrant workers, on the train travelling BACK to the Gold Mines in South Africa. So i assume it was originally sung in Ndebele, which is very close to Zulu as a language.

and the word shosholoza has different meanings depending on its context. It's main meaning is "go forward", but it's also a play on the sound made by a steam train, sho sho. It can also mean go forward (in peace) but i suppose peace more in the sense of be safe as opposed to being peaceful.

The diversity of the meaning of shosholoza is evidence of the richness of many African languages especially when creating new words.

Hope this help clear up some of the meanings and queuries.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 06:13 AM

Here's a link to a YouTube video of Ladysmith Black Mombaza* singing "Shosholoza":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IszBOXGRe7w&feature=related

*The information about the name of the group singing is from the video's tags.

-snip-

Btw, the video contributor indicated that most but not all of the photos that accompany this sound track are from Africa.

Btw2, here is a partial transcription and translation that were posted by two different viewers of that video:

"Shosholoza
Ku lezontaba
Stimela siphum' eSouth Africa
Wen' uyabaleka
Wen' uyabaleka
Ku lezontaba
Stimela siphum' eSouth Africa"

-snip-

"the words mean

"go train go in those mountains
the train from south africa

you are running in those mountains
the train from south africa"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 06:25 AM

A couple of commentators about the YouTube video of LadySmith Black Mombazo mentioned that "the Drakies" had the best version of the song "Shosholoza". Here's a link to that video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saJmOw0GGyI&feature=related
The Drakensberg Boys Choir - Shosholoza

"Absolute chillingly good song sung by the best boys choir in South Africa. All the boys are very talented and very intelligent. All boys need an above average IQ to get in the choir as they have to go to a private school and the nature of the choir the study where ever they are. Wait for the middle of video absolutely wow!!!"

-snip-

Fwiw, I definitely agree with the video contributor's comments.

**

Here's a slightly different transcription and translation of this song that was provided by another commentator than the viewers of the Ladysmith Black Mombaza video posted above:

Shosholoza Lyrics in Zulu*
Shosholoza
Ku lezontaba
Stimela siphum' eSouth Africa
Wen' uyabaleka
Wen' uyabaleka
Ku lezontaba
Stimela siphum' eSouth Africa

Shosholoza Lyrics Translation into English:
Move fast
on those mountains
train from South Africa.
You are running away
on those mountains
train from South Africa.
-thatllamacheese

*Italics added by me for clarity


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: Genie
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 05:08 PM

Wonderful video of this song!

The Drakensberg Boys Choir -"Shosholoza"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shosholoza
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 05:10 PM

I loved singing this in my old choir. Because we tenors got the tune! YAY!

The main thing I remember is that we weren't allowed to sing this at one concert because it referenced Zimbabwe or something like that. The conductor tried to explain it was about the train moving on, but the full explanation was about 3 years ago and I've had sleep and alcohol since then. I can't remember details.


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