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African Folk Songs

Azizi 25 Feb 07 - 11:12 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 07 - 11:21 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 07 - 11:26 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 07 - 11:30 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 07 - 11:39 PM
Azizi 25 Feb 07 - 11:55 PM
iancarterb 26 Feb 07 - 12:06 AM
Azizi 26 Feb 07 - 12:11 AM
Azizi 26 Feb 07 - 12:43 AM
Azizi 26 Feb 07 - 12:52 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Feb 07 - 11:50 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Feb 07 - 11:57 AM
GUEST 26 Feb 07 - 03:48 PM
Charley Noble 26 Feb 07 - 08:20 PM
Azizi 26 Feb 07 - 08:38 PM
Janie 26 Feb 07 - 09:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Feb 07 - 10:17 PM
TIA 26 Feb 07 - 10:45 PM
TIA 26 Feb 07 - 10:55 PM
Azizi 26 Feb 07 - 10:56 PM
Azizi 26 Feb 07 - 11:06 PM
Azizi 26 Feb 07 - 11:20 PM
Azizi 26 Feb 07 - 11:53 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 07 - 12:09 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Feb 07 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,TIA 27 Feb 07 - 02:04 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 07 - 04:35 PM
s&r 27 Feb 07 - 04:37 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 07 - 04:40 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 07 - 06:58 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 07 - 07:14 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 07 - 07:26 PM
Charley Noble 27 Feb 07 - 08:32 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 07 - 09:06 PM
Azizi 27 Feb 07 - 09:29 PM
s&r 28 Feb 07 - 08:49 AM
Charley Noble 28 Feb 07 - 08:59 AM
s&r 28 Feb 07 - 09:05 AM
s&r 28 Feb 07 - 09:10 AM
Azizi 01 Mar 07 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,toobusybee 01 Mar 07 - 08:59 AM
Charley Noble 11 Mar 07 - 12:36 PM
Azizi 11 Mar 07 - 02:00 PM
sian, west wales 23 Mar 07 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,K.R. 20 Sep 07 - 01:42 PM
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Subject: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:12 PM

Do you know or sing any African folk songs?

Have you found any African folk songs through Internet search engines and/or other resources?

Share the wealth!

Join me in posting posting information, lyrics, and links to videos, if any, that you have found of these songs.

Also, join me in posting on this thread any links and/excerpts of previous Mudcat threads & posts about these songs.

Thanks in advance for sharing information about African folk traditions!

Azizi


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:21 PM

http://www.scouting.org.za/songs/southafrican.html
ScoutWeb South Africa

This website has the following introduction:

"South African songs
This page is for South African campfire songs - not just songs sung at campfires in South Africa, but songs which come from South Africa itself"

-snip-

Among the songs whose lyrics are given on that page are:

NKOSI SIKELEL' iAFRICA (God Bless Africa)
This hymn is the national anthem of South Africa.

SHOSHOLOZA
Shosholoza" means "Go forward" or "Make way for the next man". The word also sounds like the noise of a steam train. ("Stimela" is the Zulu word for a steam train).

SIYAHAMBA
A song in Zulu or Xhosa meaning "We Are Walking in the Light of God"

SARIE MARAIS
A traditional Afrikaans folk song, created during the Anglo-Boer war around 1900. The tune was taken from a song called "Ellie Rhee" from the American Civil War, and the words translated into Afrikaans. The translation begins "My Sarie Marais is so far from my heart, but I hope to see her again. She lived near the Mooi River before this war began..." and the chorus goes "O take me back to the old Transvaal where my Sarie lives, Down among the maize fields near the green thorn tree, there lives my Sarie Marais". The title is pronounced "May SAH-ree muh-REH"

DIE ALIBAMA
This is a traditional Afrikaans song, especially popular among the Cape Malays in Cape Town. It is translated into English as "There comes the Alabama, the Alabama comes over the sea. Girl, girl, the reed bed is made, the reed bed is made for me to sleep on." There are two stories about its origin: one is that the song was composed about the US Confederate raiding ship Alabama which called in Cape Town during the American Civil War in 1863 after capturing the Federal ship Sea Bride in Table Bay, leading to a huge party on the beach where the captain, Admiral Semmes, handed out provisions seized during raids. Another theory is that there was a local boat called Alabama that brought thatching reads to Cape Town from St Helena Bay on the West Coast of South Africa.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:26 PM

http://www.scouting.org.za/songs/southafrican.html

This page also includes lyrics for these {probably} non-folk genre songs:

ZULU WARRIOR
Sung as a round. Recorded in the 1950s by Josef Marais and Miranda, but it was sung earlier than that

AG PLEEZ DEDDY
Words and Music by Jeremy Taylor. This is a South African comedy classic from the 1960s, sung with a strong accent. The single sold more copies in South Africa than any of Elvis Presley's

JABULANI AFRICA
This is a South African gospel song, written in 1985 by Fini de Gersigny. Jabulani is a Zulu word meaning "Rejoice" or "Celebrate".

IN THE JUNGLE / WIMOWEH
This well-known song is based on a Zulu song, Mbube, recorded in 1939 by Solomon Linda:

Mbube, uyimbube, uyimbube, uyimbube

The meaning is roughly "Lion, you are a lion...". Later the tune was copied, English verses were added, and the word "u-yi-mbu-be" was mistranslated as "a-wim-o-weh". This version became a worldwide hit, and even appeared in Disney's The Lion King. Solomon Linda died a poor man, but many years later, in 2004, the Disney corporation aged [sic; agreed]to pay his family the royalties they owed him.

GIMME HOPE JOANNA
Although this is not actually a South African song, it's a well-known anti-apartheid reggae song by Eddy Grant from the 1980s, before the end of apartheid, and it was also recorded by the South African Band, Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels. Joanna is probably the city Johannesburg. Soweto is a black township near Johannesburg. The apartheid army was well-known for "sneaking across the neighbours borders" to fight in other countries. The archbishop is Desmond Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid.

KUM BA YAH
This well known song isn't actually South African, but there's an African collection so it is included on this page. Kum Ba Yah probably means "Come by here" in an African-American creole dialect called Gullah from South Carolina in the USA. Missionaries probably took the song to Africa in the 1930's, where it was later "rediscovered" in Angola in the 1950's, leading some to believe that the song had its origins in Angola. It became a popular peace song in the 1960s.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:30 PM

http://choralmusic.com/church_spirituals.htm

"African Lullaby
View Two Part score page 8, page 9 http://choralmusic.com/viewscore.php?name=scores2002/africanlullaby_2pt_p8.gif

The beautiful Ugandan lullaby "Mwana Wange" is accompanied by piano and optional percussion in this tender, timeless song of the nativity adapted and arranged by Ruth Elaine Schram. It paints a touching and gentle picture of the intimacy of Mary and the Christ child. Appropriate for medium to small choirs, this piece can be used throughout the Advent and Christmas season, but is especially poignant in a Christmas Eve setting. Available in two voicings (gentle percussion included in the score), suitable for church or school use."


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:39 PM

http://www.africanchorus.org/African_Greetings/Listen.htm
Listening Room


[Note: This is the complete article in case links become unworkable at some future time]

"Call and response, ululation, hand-clapping, foot-stomping, dance, audience-participation, high energy, etc., Live at the Sheldon captured it all... It's like being there!

The album is a testament to the labor of love by a group of St. Louisans who have bonded since September of 1994 to dedicate themselves to choral music in African languages. Beginning with a concert of plain chants at a benefit for Habitat for Humanity in December 2, 1994, the members - for whom this art form was new - have gained confidence with each performance. (With over 1600 languages from which to draw songs, their repertoire seems to enlarge by the day!) Gradually, they incorporated dance and other disciplines that are integral to African choral performance.

Primarily, this organization has developed a program which focuses on transcribing African choral music and training amateurs to perform it. And with the support of first-class professionals and groups frequently invited from Africa to complement their efforts, the St. Louis African Chorus has quickly occupied a unique position in the St. Louis arts community.

1998 was particularly outstanding. The historic tour to Ghana in June immediately positioned the Chorus as the first foreign group to travel Africa with a fully-developed repertoire of music in African languages! Then the African Music Conference & Festival was founded, and on October 16-20, brought a gathering of musicians and educators for discussions, seminars, workshops and concerts.

The tracks in this album were recorded live 1997 and 1998 at the "acoustically perfect" Sheldon Concert Hall. The first six tracks are a collection of traditional Zulu and Xhosa play songs first made popular by South African playwright, Mbongeni Ngema. The next three tracks are from the central Africa region. Aya E (Bambuda), a call song, draws the community's attention to an important event. Blima Yo (Ekonda/Mongo) is a lullaby, "the spirits watch over you." Walolo (Lunda) is a celebration song for special occasions, like the coronation of a chief, naming ceremonies, etc. Yo Yoma O (Ijaw) is a funeral chant to celebrate life. Another chant, Jowo Bamise, appeals to Osun (the Yoruba river goddess) for a special favor. Then you will hear something unique: the AMC'98 Finale Concert matched a young Mandinka griot with a symphony harpist and a guitarist (tracks 12 to 14); and even went on to showcase a djembe master and a seasoned symphony percussionist (tracks 16 and 17) - the result was electric! In Track 15, Emeritus Professor J.H. Kwabena Nketia, a music legend of our time, shares sentiments about the increasing appreciation of African music around the world. Ise Oluwa (Yoruba) affirms the perpetuity of the Creator's work. In Bra Ma'e Nia Gro (Akan), "a little bird perched on a nearby tree beckons on us to come and play."

Many thanks to our guest artists: Thami Zungu who 1996 coached us in southern African languages. Dr. Anicet Mundundu, Bokulaka, Leon and Eli (Tracks 7,8 & 9); griot Sankung Susso, Sharon Katz, and Maria Pinckney (Tracks 12, 13, & 14); drum legend, Mor Thiam and percussionist, John Kasica (in Tracks 16 & 17). We gratefully acknowledge the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, the Missouri Arts Council, Africa Exchange (NY), and all other foundations and corporations for their continued support of our programs. We are indebted to Hoobellatoo (beautiful people) duo of Chris King and Adam Long. To Dale Benz, Notes from Home Concert Series staff, and the entire management of the Sheldon Concert Hall, Thank you! Our profound gratitude to all our patrons and fans: your support has enabled us to take this important step. - Fred Onovwerosuoke, February 1999"

LIVE RECORDING {includes samples of some of the songs listed}

1. Matshitshi Quomani (Zulu) 1:12

2. Wo Ndiya (Xhosa) 0:37

3. Ngang' Ambizanga (Xhosa) 0:57

4. Wa Sibizel' (Zulu) 1:22

5. Washonadlu Wayele (Zulu) 0:31

6. Washe L'emagunmeni (Zulu) 3:03

7. Aya E (Bambunda) 4:27

8. Blima Yo (Ekonda) 6:06

9. Walolo E (Lunda) 3:05

10. Yoyoma O (Ijaw) 1:53

11. Jowo Bamise (Yoruba) 3:26

12. Introit on a Mandinka Kora 1:49

13. Response (Symphony harpist) 0:43

14. Multicultural String Trio 3:24
(Kora, harp, guitar)

15. J.H. Kwabena Nketia 1:19
(The Legend)

16. Djembe Spirit 4:01

17. Percussion Response 5:04
(Multicultural)

18. Ise Oluwa (Yoruba) 0:20

19. Bra M'ae Nia Gro (Akan) 3:34


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Subject: Add: Lyr: Ise Oluwa
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:55 PM

ISE OLUWA

{traditional Yoruba [Nigeria] hymn}

Ise Oluwa
Kole Bage O
Ise Oluwa
Kole Bage O
Kole Bage O
Kole Bage O
Ise Oluwa
Kole Bage O.

-snip-

Ise Oluwa translated means "God's Work Will Never Be Destroyed".
[as per spoken introduction to the song by Sweet Honey In The Rock]

Ise Oluwa is included on this CD:
Sweet Honey in the Rock~Johnson, Bernice|All for Freedom|1989|Music for Little People|MLP D-2230
       So Glad I'm Here|2:43
       Cumbayah|2:28
       Down in the Valley Two by Two|1:45
       Little Shekere, The|2:54
       Little Red Caboose, The|2:53
       All For Freedom|1:14
       Juba|3:17
       Everybody Ought to Know|1:33
       Calypso Freedom|4:06
       Amen|2:01
       Ise Oluwa|3:17
       Meeting at the Building|3:23
       Johanna and Rhody|3:15
       Make New Friends|0:46
       Horse and Buggy|1:03
       Silvie|2:00
       Alunde and the Story of Ono|8:20

from http://www.folklib.net/uwp/wrp_sweet_honey.shtml

Note: "Oluwa" is one name for the Yoruba Supreme Deity


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: iancarterb
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 12:06 AM

I hsve the remnants of the jackets and the nearly unplayable 10" lp vinyl of Josef Marais and Miranda from the 1950s that my parents held onto through several moves which ultimately made their way to me in the nineties. The titles may provoke some useful searches, Azizi.
from Songs From the Veld-Decca DL 5083
Marching to Pretoria, My Heart is So Sad, There's the Cape-Cart, Meisiesfontein, Siembamba, "Ai,Ai" the Pied Crow Cry, As the Sun Goes Down, Jan Periewiet, There Comes Alibama, Train to Kimberly. Josef Marais claimed at least copyright of all.
from Songs of the South African Veld, Decca DLP5014
Stellenbosch Boys; Tante Koba; Stay, Polly, Stay; Pack Your Things and Trek, Fereira; Oh, Brandy Leave Me Alone; If Maria Married Me; Here Am I; Sarie Marais; Henrietta's Wedding; Ma Says, Pa Says.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 12:11 AM

Thanks for posting these titles, iancarterb!

Hopefully, someone will be able to post some song lyrics as well as some information about these songs.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 12:43 AM

"Funga Alafia" is usually said to be either a Liberian or a Nigerian greeting or welcome song.

The first verse of the song is usually given as:
Funga Alafia
Ase Ase
Funga Alafia
Ase Ase

-snip-

"Alafia" {ah-LAH-fee-ah} is a Yoruba {Nigeria} greeting word which is often translated as 'welcome'. "Ase" {ah SHAY} means God's power/energy.

I'm not sure what 'funga' means. Nor do I know how it happens that Alafia is a Yoruba and a Liberian word.

One simplified translation of this song could be:

Welcome! Welcome! May this day bring you good health, energy,
and power.

For more on the meaning of ase {pronounced ah SHAY}, see this excerpt from
http://www.africaresource.com/ijele/vol1.1/morton.html :

"Ase means "power" or "authority". However, the meaning of Ase is extraordinarily complex. Ase is used in a variety of contexts. One of the most important meanings is the "vital power, the energy, the great strength of all things." Ase also refers to a divine energy manifest in the process of creation and procreation. Ase invests all things, exists everywhere, and is a source for all creative activity. Again, Ase often refers to the inner power or "life force." Ase also refers to the "authority" by which one speaks or acts."


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 12:52 AM

Since at least the 1990s, "Funga Alafia" song has become relatively well known among African Americans, particularly Afro-centric African Americans. It also has been taught to other populations as a result of it being 'taken up' by African Americans.

For example, a number of African dance companies in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area routinely teach this song to children & youth during their school and community performances. The dance companies also teach dance steps which are relatively easy for children to learn.

For an example of this song being taught to a diverse population of youth, if you have high speed Internet access, check out this YouTube video:

Funga Alafia
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmkyI7lTEJM

Added July 21, 2006; From usfboi
"ANYTOWN #5"

-snip-

Also, see this cute video of a young White girl singing Funga Alafia and adding her English verse to the song:

Funga Alafia
http://youtube.com/watch?v=r4UqICMMJEM

Added November 22, 2006; From clairda
"Sophie singing"

Also see this comment from "TRANSCEND Song Book, List of peace-inspiring songs" about the meaning of this song:

"NIGERIA: "Funga Alafia" is a well-known Nigerian greeting chant (sung unaccompanied) that means "Welcome. May you have good health and be at peace with your neighbors. Power to you." It is traditionally accompanied by a dance."

http://tapnet.info/peacedirect/index.php?s=31602f9167b393aa82cc293610943b8a&showtopic=623&pid=1167&st=0&#entry1167


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 11:50 AM

Afrikaans folk music is a very large body of fine music, little known outside of South Africa except for a few songs popularized by Josef Marais and Miranda.

Some 400 of these songs are available from the excellent "ONS BLËRKAS van Afrikaanse volksmusiek." All have been given excellent piano-like midis. Lyrics in Afrikaans only.
http://esl.ee.sun.ac.za/~lochner/blerkas/
Ons Blerkas

These are the songs of the Dutch and Huguenot Protestant settlers who settled in what they called Suid-Afrika, and its former constituent political entities, such as Transvaal and The Orange Free State.
The name Marais, of course, is Huguenot.

There are many beautiful melodies, little known to us. Among the songs, of course, are "Sarie Marais" and "Daar kom die Alibama," singing of the visit of the Confederate "Alabama" in 1863 (more a song of the docks).

A number of hymns and religious folk songs are included, as well as some popular melodies and lyrics from Europe and America that took the fancy of Afrikaaners and were translated into their language.

For those interested in the Republic, the government portal contains much information: http://www.gov.za/
South Africa

For a listing of languages, click on About Government, and then on National Symbols. Under National Coat of Arms are listed the eleven languages of South Africa. Click on any one (e. g., Setswana, isiNdebele, Afrikaans) and the article is translated into that language.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 11:57 AM

ONS BLÊRKAS


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 03:48 PM

A collector named Tracy - don't know first name, put out an excellent series of LPs of African music sometime in the sixties - at least two of them were of singing - seem to remember there were a number of Xoxa songs,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 08:20 PM

Azizi-

You've mentioned Jeromy Taylor above and in that context some of the songs in his fold opera Wait a Minute were probably traditionally based. My recordings are inaccessable right now, being recorded on 7-inch reel to reel casettes. But one of the songs, I believe, was a Zula war chant with the title "Zeka Pai." It's odd that I'd remember this one after all these years.

Zeka pai, zeka pai, zoh-me-sali-lah,
Zeka pai, zeka pai, zoh-me-sali-lah;
Zinga be-hynd, zoh-me-sali-lah,
Zinga be-hynd, zoh-me-sali-lah;
Zi-tour, zi-tour, zoh-me-sali-lah,
Zi-tour, zi-tour, zoh-me-sali-lah;
Zinga be-hynd, zoh-me-sali-lah,
Zinga be-hynd, zoh-me-sali-lah!

I do have some folk songs from the Gurage people of Ethiopia but they may not be of general interest.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 08:38 PM

In honor of African American history month, which often is commemorated by focusing on African culture, I'm posting a link to a YouTube video by the Yoruba {Nigerian} vocalist Lagbaja. I post this link on this thread knowing that, strictly speaking, this video is not a folk song. Yet it demonstrates how this Nigeria singer is "a superb master crafting and fusion of traditional African music, drums with Western music". {to quote a blogger on The Nigerian Village Square website http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/board/music-movies/20964-lagbajas-music-videos.html

Here's the video:

Skentele Skontolo [artist-Lagbaja]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-An89s5wApU&search=lagbaja

-snip-

And here's some information about Lagbaja:

"Lagbaja is a Yoruba word that means somebody, nobody, anybody or everybody. It perfectly depicts the anonymity of the so called "common man". The mask and the name symbolize the faceless, the voiceless in the society, particularly in Africa. Once you see Lagbaja's mask you are reminded of your own facelessness. This symbolism is so powerful that Lagbaja's mask has popularized the use of the mask concept by other artistes both in Nigeria and beyond.

Though the concept was developed long before that, his first album (entitled Lagbaja) was released to National acclaim in 1993. Over the years and more albums later, the music continues to fascinate with its unique focus on a core of African drums. His music is a product of various influences ranging from traditional Yoruba music to Jazz. Often the music is purely instrumental- an interplay between traditional Yoruba percussions, drums, chants, and western instruments, especially the saxophone. When there are lyrics, they are primarily sung in Yoruba, English or a blend of the two as is colloquially spoken in Yoruba cities. Many of his songs dwell on serious social issues, while others simply entertain. Some are dance inducing while others pass serious messages in humourous ways.

One thing that links all the songs together is his use of traditional African drums. Traditional Yoruba drums are the most prominent. Four families of these drums are employed in creating different grooves and moods. The dundun/gangan family is the most prominent and at times up to five drummers combine all the various components to create the polyrhythms. The bata ensemble is led by two musicians who alternate between soft high toned driving rhythms with their omele bata, and thunderous loud talk with their mum drum- iya ilu. The general percussionist leads the sakara ensemble. The fourth family, used as the backbone of the groove is the ogido, a derivative of the ancient gbedu. The ensemble of drummers constitute the larger part of the band. Vocalists and western instrumentalists make up the rest. Lagbaja's groovy fusion has been refered to as afrojazz, afrobeat, higherlife and afropop until now that he himself has christened the music AFRICANO, alluding mostly to the central role of African drums and grooves in his music.

In March 1997, Lagbaja established his club, Motherlan' in the heart of Ikeja in Lagos. Motherlan's design is influenced by the traditional African town or market square, where people gather under the moonlight for ceremonies and artistic events like dance, music, story telling, wrestling etc. True to this function, over the years, it has become a place for many comedians to polish their act in front of a demanding audience.

With a serene gorge of beautiful trees and greens as background, the venue merges traditional Africa with the contemporary, creating the ambience of the countryside in the urban city. Lagbaja performs at Motherlan' every last Friday of the month to a full house of faithfuls.

Lagbaja is fast emerging in the forefront of contemporary African music, rich in the traditions of the continent while cosmopolitan in attitude. He has started to take his music beyond the shores of Nigeria, performing in festivals and venues around the world.

Lagbaja is out now on Blue Pie for the world. You can find out more on Lagbaja by visiting www.bluepie.com.au or by searching "lagbaja" at all leading digital retailers on the planet."

-snip-

That comment was posted as background/introduction to the following Lagbaja dance video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyjnF7WOpMQ&mode=related&search=

Added November 08, 2006 ; From indigenousblue


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Janie
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 09:28 PM

Azizi, I can only spell it out phonetically, but the 2nd verse of funga is

a-kee-wa e lei wa
asay asay
a-kee-wa e lei wa
asay asay


In my mid 40's I had the opportunity to take African dance classes at Duke University for a few seasons (until arthritis and back problems finally made me stop.    A number of the dances we did had songs that went with them. It has been long enough ago that I, unfortunately, don't remember more than fragments. But they were songs about harvest, coming of age, welcome, planting...the rhythms and rituals of the communal life of the village. Nearly all were call and answer. And they were wonderful to sing and act out in dance. Ava, the dance instructor, was with the Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble for a number of years, and made trips to Africa nearly every summer to collect dances and songs.

Janie


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 10:17 PM

The African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, is initiating a website on African Languages. Lyrics to some songs in the African languages, but the English translations will be added later. Pronunciation guides, and sounds may be found there.
The link is to the Zulu section, but there are links to other African languages. This site is under development.

http://www.africa.upenn.edu/afl/materials/testing/zulukitchen.htm
ZULU


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: TIA
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 10:45 PM

Shosholoza (shosholoza)
Kulezo ntaba stimela zaseSouth Afrika
Wen(a) uyabaleka (wen' uyabaleka)
kulezo ntaba stimela zaseSouth Afrika
(repeat)

Qubula zasha! (Qubula zasha)

Kwenze njani?
Thula washiya! (washiya!)
Thuta amabhakede Iza!

*************************************************************

Move fast
on those mountains
train from South Afrika.
You are running away
on those mountains
train from South Afrika.

Up it goes (up it goes)

What is wrong?
Be quiet! Leave behind
Move the buckets. Come!

******************************************************

One of my favorite evenings ever occured when three of my nieces taught this song to two visiting Russian scientists on our back deck, and we sang it in parts and harmony (with echoes) 'til hoarse.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: TIA
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 10:55 PM

P.S. got this translation over Skype (voi phone), so it may be alittle garbled.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 10:56 PM

The Funga Alafia song is found on a number of websites along with what is said to be its translation. These websites say that the song is traditional to Nigeria, or Liberia. I've also found a website that indicates that this song is of West African origin [I believe this is true] but then says its from Ghana [I don't believe this is true]. And I found several sites that indicates that the lyrics of this song are from the Swahili {KiSwahili} language !!??!!

Some sites just give the generic term "traditional" to this song {perhaps because they're not certain what language the words are from}.

If you pardon the pun, for the record, I believe the lyrics are Nigerian {Yoruba} and some of the lyrics may also come from Liberia, West Africa. An African American man told me that the word "funga" means 'welcome' in a Liberian language. However, I've not been able to find any documentation for that information.

Besides some confusion about which language this song is from, there's also disagreement about what the words mean. However, even though websites [and song books]don't agree on the exact translation of the Funga Alafia song, they all agree that it is a greeting song.

Here's some examples from various Internet sites:

Fune-gah a la fee-yuh
Ah-shay ah-shay
Foon-ga a la fee-yuh
Ah-shay ah-shay

Cow-ah ey-lah-bah
Ah-shay ah-shay
Cow-ah ey-lah-bah
Ah-shay ah-shay

I welcome you into
My heart today
I welcome you into
My heart today

http://www.songsforteaching.com/folk/fungaalafeeya.htm

[I suppose that this website wrote the words phonetically. If so, they should have indicated that.]

**
Funga Alafia (Swahili welcoming song)

Funga Alafiya, Ashay, Ashay
Funga Alafiya, Ashay, Ashay
Funga Alafiya, Ashay, Ashay
Funga Alafiya, Ashay, Ashay
Ashay, Ashay, Ashay, Ashay
Asay, Ashay, Ashay, Ashay

Translation:
With my thoughts I welcome you
With my heart I welcome you
With my words I welcome you
Funga Alafia Ashay, Ashay
http://www.education.mcgill.ca/edec-402-002/teacherswithoutborders/sarah/songssarah.html

[I definitely don't think the lyrics are Swahili. If someone can provide documentation of this, I'd be very interested in reading it. Btw, this site provides a link to a sound clip, but the link doesn't appear to go to any sound clip].

**

Funga Alafia (Traditional)

Funga alafia ashay ashay- Funga alafia ashay ashay – Funga alafia ashay ashay –
Funga alafia ashay ashay – Welcome my friends, welcome today- Welcome my friends, welcome today – Welcome my friends, welcome today – Welcome my friends,welcome today.

http://condor.admin.ccny.cuny.edu/~mmcenter/tk/gwilgus/linguisticdevelopment.htm

**
Funga Alafia – Swahili Traditional Call: Funga alafia Response: Ashay ashay Repeat as necessary

http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:TjpcHMBpzGAJ:www.21-learn.com/teamtarget/Passports/music/songs.pdf+funga+alafia+ashay+ashay&

**

"Funga alafia ashe ashe. Funga alafia ashe ashe." Esta canción es de África. El significado es, " Buenos Dias. Con mis ojos le saludo. Con mis manos le saludo. Con mi corazón le saludo." Este mes estamos en África. La clase de kinder hizó las mascaras de África y los palos de lluvia. Los estudiantes construyeron los palos de lluvia de tubos de cartón y clavos. Los llenaron con los palomitas de maíz, con arroz y las semillas de girasol. Un palo de lluvia es un instrumento musical que suena como la lluvia cuando lo gira lentamente. Cierre los ojos para oir el sonido de la lluvia con sus orejas y con su imaginación.Las alpacas visitaron el primer grado. Las alpacas son primas de la llama y del camello. ¡Sí, había alpacas en su aula! ¿Por que? Porque el primer grado estudío Perú y las alpacas son de Perú."

http://www.chavezcheetahs.com/art/?m=200605

-snip-

Using my high school Spanish from four decades ago, I think this says that Funga Alafia Ashe Ashe is an African song which means "Good Day. With my eyes I salute you {?} or I greet you {??}. With my hands I greet you. With my heart I greet you] I'm stopping there. How'd I do?

**

Also, here's a comment that might be of interest to Mudcat musicians:

"Funga Alafia" (we used the words "ashay, ashay", played it on orff instruments using C-C-G-C).
http://www.menc.org/networks/genmus/openforum/messages/8073.html


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 11:06 PM

Q, thanks for that information. That's a great addition to this thread.

And thanks, Tia for those lyrics and their translation!!

That's wonderful!!

**

Returning to the song "Funga Alafia" one last time {I hope}, perhaps I should mention that the the fung in the word Funga rhymes with the word "lung". And the word is pronounced FUN-gah.

Also, Janie, this is my phonetic approximation of what I think I've heard when people sing the second verse of this song:

Funga ee-way-voh
Ahshay Ahshay
Funga ee-way-voh
Ahshay Ahshay


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 11:20 PM

Somehow I didn't see your post Charlie, until now.

Thanks for posting that song!!

You wrote:

"I do have some folk songs from the Gurage people of Ethiopia but they may not be of general interest".
-snip-

Of course, examples of those folks songs would be 'welcome' on this thread. I'm not worried about 'general interest'. This thread will interest those it interests...

Btw, I've never heard of the African ethnic group called Gurage.
So, of course, I had to google that name, and found out that the group name is pronounced (goo rah gay) or at least that's what this SIM -Serving In Mission-Gurage website 'says'.

Of course, Wikipedia has a page on the Gurage people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurage

I hope that you post some songs from these people, Charlie!

Thanks!!!


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 11:53 PM

For those who have high speed Internet, here's some YouTube videos links for the song Shosholoza {btw, this word sound to me like it is pronounced "show-sah-low-sah"}

Swazi - Helmut Lotti - Shosholoza
Added March 14, 2006; From tpinhal
"3 days in Swaziland"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJYGmzrRmbI

-snip-

Shosholoza sung as background to tourists' video of their trip to Swaziland.

{Question for Tia or for anyone: Is Shosoloza a Zulu song that the Swazi and other ethnic groups in South Africa, including the White people in South Africa also embrace and sing?}

**

Shosholoza
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tegvCpzZwGQ&mode=related&search=

Added August 11, 2006 ;From hobobobo2
"South Africa Anthem..for the SACT Alumni!"

-snip-
Two young men doing dance movements outdoors while singing Shosholoza.

**
Shosholoza
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5kjv6ljXfI

Added February 17, 2007;From Maitalg

Singing from her soul, Beaty leads an impromptu singing of "Shosholoza," a traditional Zulu song meaning "Go Forward.
-snip-

This video may have been filmed in a shebeen and some of the singers may have been have more than water to drink, but I still think this clip captures the high regard these people have for this song.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:09 AM

I've a couple of more short comments to make about Funga Alafia:

Funga Alafia is sung and danced so often during African cultural programs put on by Afro-centric Black Americans that some of us cringe when we hear it . Perhaps it's almost like how some Irish Americans feel about the "Oh, Danny Boy" song...

**

I'm certain that the word "Alafia" is a Yoruba greeting word whose meaning can be given as 'welcome'. One direct source I had for this information was a Yoruba woman who lived in Pittsburgh, PA. This woman owned an African artifact store that she named "Alafia". I had taken the name "Alafia Cultural Services" for the name of the cultural organization that I had founded, and asked her about the meaning of that word. I was relieved to know that Alafia is indeed a greeting word that could be said to mean "welcome".

**

I'm not sure that the word 'alafia' in http://www.floridastateparks.org/alafiariver/ has the same origin and meaning as the Yoruba word 'alafia'. It would be interesting to know how that Florida state park got its name.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 01:46 PM

ALAFIA is a widespread word.
According to Florida Folklore (And promoted by the Park Service), Alafia means 'Hunting River' in one of the Indian tongues, but this is dubious.
Alafia also is an old Spanish name, and may have come from the explorers or Spanish settlers of Florida. It is Sephardic in origin, also spelled Abulafia, and in Arabic means possessor of health or well-being. When the Sephardic Jews and the Muslims were kicked out of Spain, many settled in Morocco and across North Africa. The name is also Muslim. The name is still applied to an area of Valencia, Spain.
In modern Spanish, the phrase 'pedir alafia' means to implore mercy and pardon (Velasquez Dictionary). Additionally, (Real Academia Espanola, Diccionario), it means wages, or salary.

The name (word) of course is also African, widespread, but I don't know anything about its origins. A band from Madagascar, currently popular among those who like 'international' music, is named "Alafia."
The name shows up in discussions of Benin in western Africa, but also throughout western Africa.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 02:04 PM

It seems that the word for "peace" in Yoruba is alaafia.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 04:35 PM

Q and TIA, thanks for that information on the word "Alafia".

It would not surprise me if the Yoruba word 'alafia' came from the Arabic word, as Islam {and the Arabic language} has been an important cultural factor in West Africa since at least the 11th century AD. There are a number of "traditional African" personal names that are variants of Arabic names. The same is probably true for African words which aren't names.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: s&r
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 04:37 PM

Sung by the Spinners

ASIKATALI

Asikatlai, nomasiya bozh,
Sizimitselin keluleko (2)

CH:
Unzima lumtwalo,
Ufuna madoda (2)

Tina Bantwan batse Afric',
Sizimitselin keluleko (2)

CH:
Unzima lumtwalo,
Ufuna madoda (2)

We are the children of Africa,
And it's for freedom that we're working now. (2)

CHORUS:        A heavy load, a heavy load,
And it will take some real men. (2)

We do not care if we go to prison,
It is for freedom that we gladly go. (2)

CHORUS:        A heavy load, a heavy load,
And it will take some real men. (2)

(repeat first verse and chorus)

Stu


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 04:40 PM

s&r, thanks for posting that song.

Would you post the language and country if you know it?

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 06:58 PM

Stu,

I found this website on the South African musical Gumboots:

http://gumboot.dancers.users.btopenworld.com/page0023.html


Unfortunately, there are no sound clips on the website or videos on the website. I was fortunate enough to see the show when it came to Pittsburgh about four years ago. It was the absolute best musical I have ever seen.

That website has this version of Asikhathali:

Thila thila thila la le (Thile thile li le la)
Thila thila thila la le (Thile thile li le la)
Thila thila thila la le (Thile thile li le la)
Thila thila thila la le (Thile thile li le la)

Sebenzani (hijo, madoda siyasebenza)
Sebenzani (hijo, madoda siyasebenza)
Sebenzani (we are working)
Sebenzani (we are working)

Ngiyabazwela abantu bathi
Hayi bo! Hiya! Hiya!
Ngiyabazwela lokhu bathi
We are sweating
repeat

Asikhathali thina (we are working for our children) (4x)

Sizojombha (sizojombha)
Jombha! (8x)

Translation:

Work (men, we are working)
Work (men, we are working)
work (we are working)
work (we are working)

I can hear people saying...
I can still hear them saying

We are sweating

We don't get tired (we are working for our children) x 4

We will jump (we will jump)
Jump!

-snip-

Stu, I'm wondering if this a different version of the song you postws as "ASIKATALI"? The words and the translation are quite different but they both refer to working...

???

**

Here's a list of other songs with translations from that musical:

Nelson Mandela

The Man who Stole the Sun

Jo'burg

Shosholoza

Egoli, City of Gold

Sibiziwe

Amazinyo Amhlophe

Singing through the Mountains

Mabele

Bump Jive

Omm Ohh Ho La La

Ukuvalwa Kwe Mine

Wait! Waitee!

Ma-Gumede


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 07:14 PM

Here's another article about the Gumboot show:

"GUMBOOTS is an electrifying 90 minutes of pure entertainment that you will love! Twelve of South Africa's finest performers explode onto the stage in an exhilarating extravaganza of dance, song and the infectious energy of African rhythm.

Bare chested, sexy and supremely talented these singers, actors, dancers and musicians leave their audiences inspired and in awe by their unique dance routines, boundless energy and sheer physicality. Hand clapping, toe tapping and definitely boot slapping, GUMBOOTS excites, entertains and enthrals in a unique theatrical celebration of life.

With original and contemporary songs and dancing like you've never seen before, GUMBOOTS injects the rich harmonies embodying the spirit of Africa into a dynamic show which captivates the hearts and emotions of every audience.

GUMBOOTS is based on the South African tradition of Gumboot Dancing. In the nineteenth century, South Africa's mine workers were forbidden to speak during the long days underground. Instead, the workers communicated with each other through movement and the rhythmic slapping of their Wellington boots. Over the next hundred years a new language of dance was born"...

http://www.gumbootsworldtour.com/


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 07:26 PM

This probably isn't a folk song. But it's African

:o)

Video for South African band Freshlyground's song Nomvula

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGpRr0XlxkY

Added August 11, 2006; From freshlygroundsa

Video for the song "Nomvula" (a Xhosa word that means "after the rain") by Cape Town band Freshlyground.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 08:32 PM

Azizi-

I'll see what I can do to post one of the Gurage war ballads. I've found my old notebooks and a translation that one of my students wrote out. The original words are there as well but after 45 years I'm no longer very skilled at transforming Amharic script into phonetic English characters. The war ballad is a lament for their lost lands.

The Gurage people live about three hours by road southwest of Addis Ababa. Their lowland plateau was conquored by Emperor Menelik's Amhara in the 1890's, the part of their territory that could be readily exploited by the Amhara agricultural practices, grain farming. The Gurage were left with the ridges and valleys between the lower plateau and an upper one but they evolved an intensive agricultural life based on the root of the false banana tree (enset), and a cash crop of coffee.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 09:06 PM

Charlie, as you're aware, there's far too few traditional African song lyrics posted on the Internet or available through other readily accessible print and audio sources.

Given the small number of traditional African songs that are known to folks in "Western' nations, I'm excited about the fact that you intend to share the lyrics to at least one authentic song from the Gurage people of Ethiopia. Hopefully, you'll post more than one.

:O)

Also, Charlie, would you please include documentation {when, where, and from whom you collected them} as well as the translations of the lyrics or a statement of what the song is about?

Thanks in advance,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 09:29 PM

I'm not sure if these are folk songs, but the following YouTube videos of Eritrean songs and dance show the wide range of singing and dancing that are performed in different regions of the huge continent of Africa.

A lot of Eritrean {and Ethiopian} songs have a higher voice range that sounds very Middle Eastern {Arabic} to me.

If you can get these YouTube videos, see what you think.

Eritrea - Awlo (Eritrean Song praising Eritrean People)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4daTQxNUNM&mode=related&search=
Added October 07, 2006;From spaceketema

"Traditional Eritrean Song praising Eritrean People and Eritrean customs. Check out the beautiful Eritrean women!!!"

-snip-

I don't know the name of the lyre {like} musical instrument one of the musicians is playing. Does anyone know?

**

Eritrea - Wedi Tukul - Awalid Adey

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJP2bFfZu1A

Added January 07, 2007; From spaceketema
"Wedi Tukul sings Awalid Adey in Tigringa"

-snip-

A musician in this video also plays the same type of lyre.
Unfortunately, the video quality in this clip isn't that good. That's unfortunate, as the dances that the women are doing are fascinating. The dances remind me of my reading about the circular dances around a pole that Vodun, Candomble, Lucumi, Macumba and other related religions
do. The dance these women do also reminds me of my reading about the religous ring shout {also known as the 'holy dance'} that enslaved African Americans did.

The women in both of these Eritrean videos are wearing white dresses. I'm wondering if these videos document a particular Eritrean religous congregation...

???


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: s&r
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 08:49 AM

Azizi - I know the song Asikatali from the Spinners' days (Liverpool). They introduced it as a freedom song from (South) Africa. That's all I know; we sing it in our group (Tallyman) because of its harmonies and interwoven rhythmic patterns as much as its message - it's a good song.

Stu


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 08:59 AM

Azizi-

With regard to Ethiopia and Eritria:

The harp-like stringed instrument with the gourd head, banjo-like, is generally known as a krar. There are also one-stringed fiddles known as masinkos.

The white dress is traditional formal wear for all special occasions. They generally are fringed with brightly colored borders with intricate needlework.

In the Gurage area the only instruments I observed were small drums.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: s&r
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 09:05 AM

Ther's an English translation in 'Sing for Your Life' ISBN 0-7136-5546-1

It's described there as a Soweto street song and relates it to a government attempt to standardise the language spoken in Soweto High Schools. This led to a student riot where tear gas was used, and mass arrests made. The fighting lasted for three weeks, and the ruling was later dropped.

Stu


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: s&r
Date: 28 Feb 07 - 09:10 AM

A fuller version of the uprising cited above is here for those not familiar with it:
From Answers.com.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:45 AM

Thanks for all the information posted on this thread!

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,toobusybee
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 08:59 AM

I was taught the following by my singing teacher at CityLit:

SOMAGWAZA/HEY,MOTSWALA
Choral folksongs of the Bantu with English lyrics by Pete Seeger- ©1960, G. Schirmer Inc. (ASCAP)
Ha Weh Ha Weh, Somagwaza
Somagwaza ma yo-weh yo-weh
He Ma Yo-Weh, He Ma Yo-Weh
Somagwaza

My mother travelled to Pretoria
to buy the license for the wedding day
My mother travelled to Pretoria
to buy the license for the wedding day
Hey, Motswala, hey Motswala, hey, Motswala, hey Motswala

My father wants to give the bride away
but I think he's waiting for a dowry
My father wants to give the bride away
but I think he's waiting for a dowry
Hey, Motswala, hey Motswala, hey Motswala, hey Motswala

Now the time has come, I have to go;
I wish perhaps I had not hurried so
Now the time has come, I have to go;
I wish perhaps I had not hurried so
Hey, Motswala, hey Motswala, hey Motswala, hey Motswala


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Mar 07 - 12:36 PM

Azizi-

What I'm presenting is best described as a chant that the Gurage people of southwestern Ethiopia would recite at special events to remind themselves of their history:

As told by Fresenbet Gezachow in spring of 1968
Emdeber, Gurage, Ethiopia
Chant re-transcribed and edited by Charles Ipcar
Peace Corps Volunteer Ethiopia 1965-1968


Ageto! You are said to be Ageto!

Ageto, there is a day when you will be remembered, not only one day but for all days.

Ageto, once Chaha played a trick on you; so you grew angry and flew away to a place called Yenor-afur.

At Yenor-afur a woman called Assuyate caught you and kept you in a water jug for two years.

Later, after two years, it is said that you went off to Yoqupaiye-afur.

While you were gone the Galla came and plundered our lands.

Why did you go from Yechaha-afur?

Please turn your face towards Yechaha-afur once more!

Ageto, father of our children, come today, wherever you may be, whether in Shoa or Soyama.

Please come today, wherever you may be!

There was a man called Tassew who went to his uncle's house for a visit.

They gave his horse Subrimo grain but the horse wouldn't eat.

Tassew knew by this that something had happened in Chaha.

The man called Tassew went forth from his uncle's house to see Chaha.

Tassew then went to the Galla lands, crossing the Wake River in the dark.

Then Yechaha Waq (Sky-god) came and led Tassew through the Galla lands, and they were able to return all the things which had been captured by the Galla.

Waq, come today to your home country, where you belong!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Mar 07 - 02:00 PM

Charley,

you have my highest and my deepest thanks for posting that Gurage chant.

Azizi


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: sian, west wales
Date: 23 Mar 07 - 05:34 AM

I've just come across this page on The Voice of Slavery project which might be of interest.

sian


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,K.R.
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 01:42 PM

Do any of you know any chants of encouragement or happiness?


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,DeBowrah
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 06:48 PM

I've always heard a longer and different version of the Funga Alafia song. I don't know if it's correct but for the Funga Alafia song, I heard this:

Funga Alafia, ashay, ashay
Funga Alafia, ashay, ashay
With my heart, I welcome you, ashay, ashay
With my heart, I welcome you, ashay, ashay
Funga Alafia, ashay, ashay
Funga Alafia, ashay, ashay
With my mind, I welcome you, ashay, ashay
With my mind, I welcome you, ashay, ashay
Funga Alafia, ahay, ashay
Funga Alafia, ashay, ashay
With my soul, I welcome you, ashay, ashay
With my soul, I welcome you, ashay, ashay
Funga Alafia, ashay, ashay
Funga Alafia, ashay, ashay
With myself, I welsom you, ashay, ashay
With myself, I welcome you, ashay, ashay
Funga Alafia, ashay, ashay
Funga Alafia ashay, ashay
Funga Alafia, ashay, ashayyyyy


I've heard the song sung like that. That's different from what everyone else has, but I;m sure this is as accurate as I can remember.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 07:42 PM

Thanks for posting that version of Funga Alafia, DeBowrah.

Given Funga Alafia is a folk song, there can be many different versions of that song.

Some versions of a folk song could be older than others, but I suppose that one version or another may not be more "correct" than any other one. However, there are better or more correct translations of songs from one language to another.

I'd love to know the meanings of the African words to that song, and what language or languages they come from. But that doesn't mean that the song had to adhere to that fixed translation.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:05 PM

Somewhat off-topic but with regard to the word "alafia" that is found in the song "Funga Alafia":

At one time, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, there was an African clothing/artifact shop in Pittsburgh called "Alafia" which was owned and managed by a Nigeria woman named Bisi. Bisi told me that the word "Alafia" was a greeting word from the Yoruba [YOUR-roo-bah] language of Nigeria.

**

I've read that "alafia" means "peace".

With regard to the word "peace" as a greeting word:

In the late 1970s or thereabouts, a number of African Americans who were converted Muslims began using the traditional Arabic greeting phrase "a salaam alaikum" {sp?}. This phrase translates to "Peace be unto you" {or some such meaning}.

Non-Muslim folks {such as myself} heard this phrase and began using it when speaking to Muslims they met and [sometimes] when greeting folks who weren't Muslim but were afro-centric [interested in African culture]. If I recall correctly, we said "as salaam alaikum" when we were greeting folks and when we were leaving those folks. Eventually, the entire Arabic phrase was shortened to "salaam" {"peace"}. I believe that this was used only as a departing phrase. By at least the late 1980s, among Pittsburgh African Americans, it was rare to hear anyone but a Muslim person saying the entire "as salaam alaikum" greeting/departing phrase.

Somewhere around the 1980s or 1990s, some people were using the departing phrase "Peace And Love". In some afrocentric but also Christian religious circles, "peace and love" was used as a call & response phrase. If someone was leaving and he or she said "Peace", then you were expected to say "And love". [I don't know how widespread this practice was. Maybe it was just a done just among some portions of the African American population of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But I believe it probably was more widespread than that.

"Peace out", a hipper form of that departing phrase also became popular somewhere around the 1980s and 1990s. I think this phrase was more readily adopted by some African Americans and some non-African Americans. But I think few people say "Peace out" anymore.
However, the word "Peace" still appears to be used quite often as a departing phrase among African Americans and non-African Americans.


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Subject: Funga Alaafia
From: Simon G
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 07:19 AM

Reading the messages about Alaafia quickly brought up an image of two men shaking hand for a long time in greeting. As I lived in Ghana from 5-15 this would be from then, by their clothes I would have guessed they were speaking Hausa. I'm no linguist but I would guess from memory its tonal and should be low, high, medium, medium

Hausa is the lingua franca of a large swathe of West Africa, the equivalent of Swahili in East Africa. As a greeting word ("well being" seem to be the most common meaning)it has been taken up by other languages including Yoruba. Hausa is from Niger and Northern Nigeria, the Yoruba are immediately south in Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana.

This could be a Yoruba chant taken up by Hausa traders and moved west, but would that get to Liberia, not sure Hausa as a lingua franca gets that far. Maybe it went across the Atlantic and came back with the freed slaves shipped to Liberia, assuming the chant is that old. Much more likely is its been taken up in the USA and mis-attributed.

I'm from England, born in Lancashire. I'd find it rather simplistic if there was a thread on here asking for European Folk Songs, or even possibly British Folk Songs. Surely folk songs are a cultural thing and belong to a particular culture. Just like Europe, Africa has a huge range of cultures and languages; in fact I would suspect it is more diverse than Europe.

I think I go further and say we wouldn't even dream of categorising folk songs on a continental basis for any other continent, Asian, South American. I wonder why we don't recognise the cultural diversity of Africa, even in simplistic terms. I think the web is starting to change this, you can find a growing amount of information on individual languages; lets hope cultural information including song follows.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 08:47 AM

Simon G,

Thanks for sharing information on the Hausa language. Thanks also for your other comments, particularly your interesting theory that Hausa songs & phrases may have come to be known in Liberia, West Africa as a result of freed people of Hausa descent who were relocated there from the United States.

Let me say that I very much agree with your comment that is rather simplistic to categorize folk songs on a continental basis.

It would be great if there were Mudcat threads specifically about Nigerian songs, Ghanaian songs, Kenyan songs, and South African songs etc. And it would be wonderful if there were Mudcat threads specifically about Hausa songs, Akan songs, Luo songs, Zulu songs etc.

However, as I sure you're aware, Mudcat threads are quickly archived if they have few comments posted to them. As you may be aware, as evidenced by a perusal of Mudcat threads by title and content, few Mudcat members regardless of their race/ethnicity or nationality have heretofore expressed much interest in African folk songs & African culture. This may be because now and in the past there have been very few Mudcat members and guests who are from Africa and/or who are of African descent. That said, people can be interested in folksongs and folk cultures regardless of their own racial/ethnic backgrounds and nationality.

Weighing all of these considerations, I thought {and still think} that a thread with a general title and theme could/will be more easily found by title by Mudcat members as well as by persons searching for such information and examples using Google or other Internet search engines.

My hope was/is that a general thread on African songs would help awaken interest in the folksongs and the folk culture from the vast continent of Africa. I certainly do not want this thread to be seen as the be all and end all of threads on this subject on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 09:18 AM

Simon, you wrote "As a greeting word ("well being" seem to be the most common meaning)it has been taken up by other languages including Yoruba.

Did you mean to include a specific Hausa word which is translated as "well being" in that sentence? If so, would you please post it?

Thanks.


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Subject: RE:Ly: Add: Guabi Guabi
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:35 PM

"Guabi, Guabi: a South African folk song tremendously popular with folkies in the 60s and 70s, thanks to the recordings of Jack Elliott(1), Jim Kweskin, and Arlo Guthrie. It's a Zulu children's song with a wonderful melody and addictive guitar fingerpicking, and was taken from the singing and playing of guitarist George Sibanda(2). It can be found on an album put out by Decca called Guitars of Africa.

The song is about someone who teases his girlfriend by holding something behind his back and saying, "Guess what I've got." It's an interesting mix of Zulu and French expressions, and this English transliteration and translation is from Andrew Tracy of the African Music Society thanks to the guitar tutorials of Happy Traum (who put out a book with the tablature for Guabi Guabi):


"Guabi, Guabi, guzwangle notamb yami,
(Hear, Guabi, Guabi, I have a girlfriend)

Ihlale nkamben', shu'ngyamtanda
(She lives at Nkamben, sure I love her)

Ngizamtenge la mabanzi, iziwichi le banana."
(I will buy her buns, sweets, and bananas.)

If you've never heard the song sung before, the above is miles away from the actual sound of the African language. Such is the transliteration and its shortcomings.

Good luck with pronouncing the transliteration if you don't have a recording. As for the chords, it's straight C, F, and G. The fingerpicking takes a little more...

(1) Jack recorded "Gaubi Guabi" on a 1964 LP called JACK ELLIOTT (Vanguard). That LP has been combined with a live recording from that era and released on a single CD as THE ESSENTIAL RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT (Vanguard).

(2) George Sibanda was an Ndebele guitarist who recorded for the Gallotone label (78rpm) in about 1950; a discovery of Hugh Tracey, eminent saviour of trad. African music. For a time he was funded, in part, by this commercial concern, acting as a "talent scout" for potential "hit" material (as was the case here) in exchange for the ability to document more traditional styles. The record gained some prominence in Europe, being reissued in a series of 10" discs on London(1950s); the series re-shuffled & augmented on 12" Gallotone lps (1960s-S. Africa) and in the early 1970s re-reissued on Kaleidoscope (NYC) -all under the editorial imprimatur of Dr.Tracey. Sibanda was (is???) a lovely guitarist and had many successes in his early days."


http://www.arlo.net/resources/lyrics/guabi.shtml

**

Here's a YouTube video of Patrick Sky & Pete Seeger singing
"Guabi Guabi" & playing it on the guitar:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvxi6xpOqtU


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Kent Davis
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 10:11 PM

"God Is So Good" is apparently an American folk song with an African folk melody. It is listed as such in PRAISE FOR THE LORD, 1997, as song #853. Here is their version:

GOD IS SO GOOD

"God is so good, God is so good,
God is so good, He's so good to me.

He answers prayer, (x3) He's so good to me.

He cares for me, (x3) He's so good to me.

I love Him so, (x3) He's so good to me."

Does anyone know the history of this song?

Kent


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 06:53 AM

I'm looking for a song I've only found listed as "traditional South African" called "Aramile":

Aramile, Aramile, oh.....
Aramile, oh, ya ya

That's about it. I was told the words mean "My whole being is well". Can't find much about it at all on the www except that it apparently is the name of a character in the Lion King!
Anyone?


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 06:59 AM

Ah, spoke too soon. I've just found this blog which says that Aramile comes from the great drummer and teacher Babatunde Olatunji, who died in 2003. I will try to see if he recorded it.

Thanks for this great thread, Azizi!


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Simon G
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 11:50 AM

Azizi

Sorry about the windup on the continental theme. I should of worded my response a little more clearly. I was bemoaning the fact that in the minds of Europeans and Americans sub-saharan Africa gets lumped together.

You are absolutely right to go continental in the subject of the thread because that is the way it is seen by most.

I notice you don't get anything posted from the mediterranian coast -- that is seen as Arab.

In the early 70s as a kid in Kumasi, Ghana this was my Ghanaian friends favourite chant. I think for years. Generated uproars of laughter everytime.

My father beat me once, I leave 'am
My father beat me twice, I leave 'am
My father beat me three times,
I put 'am down and give 'am blows

Sorry its not in Twi, I don't think I every heard a Twi equivalent.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 06:40 PM

Thanks to all who have posted to this thread.

Keep the examples and information coming!


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 06:49 PM

Simon G, thanks for private messaging {pming} me to clarify that in your 17 Jan 08 - 07:19 AM post you meant to write that "Alaafia is greeting word ("well being" seem to be the most common meaning).

**

Simon G, it seems to me that humor {humour} is more culturally based than other creative expressions.

Or maybe it's just me 'cause I can't "get" the humor of that Ghanaian song that you posted.

So after his {or her} father beat him {or her} once, twice, and then three times, he {or she} put up his {or her} fists and hit the father?!?

I don't think this would play in Peoria {USA} or Philly {USA} for that matter.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 09:43 AM

Here's links to several YouTube videos on Ugandan [East African]music:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NK_YQcCwF4&feature=related
SOUL BEAT AFRICA INTERVIEW

"SOUL BEAT AFRICA is one of the most exciting band from Uganda East Africa, which plays Ugandan folk music using traditional instruments. The music is arranged in a mordern [sic] way"

-snip-
The first link has a clip of two of the band members playing instruments and singing. One of the band members plays the kora, a West African instrument while the other band member plays the kalimba {finger piano}. In the interview, the band members talk [in English] about Ugandan and other traditional African music, and about their band."

**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyz09NN0ZxU&feature=related
AMAZI GENYANJA [SOUL BEAT AFRICA]
"Soul Beat Africa Performing Amazi genyanja one of the oldest folk song from Uganda"

-snip-

I had no success searching online for the lyrics to "Amazi Genyanja" and for more information about this song. I also posted a comment to that video requesting information about the meaning of that song and its lyrics. Hopefully, someone will respond to that request.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 10:08 AM

Here is a link to a YouTube video of an Ethiopian folk song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjeK4hy5gYM&feature=related
Azmari Sings "Sem ena Worq"
"Ethiopian Azmari Song"

**

Here's the entire wikipedia entry about the meaning of the word "azmari":

"An azmari is an Ethiopian singer-musician, comparable to the European bard. Azmari, which may be either male or female, are skilled at singing extemporized verses, accompanying themselves on either a masenqo (one-stringed fiddle) or krar (lyre). Azmari often perform in drinking establishments called tejbeit, which specialize in the serving of tej (honey mead)."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azmari

-snip-

"Azmari – from the Aramaic verb, "to sing" – in Ethiopia a wandering entertainer, a minstrel, a voyaging troubadour, one who tells the truth from a different angle, who uses music to convey the collective memory."
http://www.theazmariquartet.com/bio_azmari.html

Note: This is the website of an American chamber music quartet.
I don't think that this quartet plays Ethiopian music-traditional or otherwise.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 10:47 AM

Here's another link to a YouTube video of an azmari song and dance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V794dRXSIIg&feature=related
Azmari
"traditional song"

-snip-

There are 19 comments to date about this video. Here are four of them:

"I love azmaris. Where was this? Their hair, dresses and circular dance reminds me of Tigrigna culture, but they are singing in Amharic. I'm a little confused."
-staplesRus

**

"The language is Amharic. The dress is Amhara, the hair styles is Amhara and the dance is Amhara. I think you think Teddy Afro and GiGi represent Amhara Music. They are new age musicians, where as this is Amhara Music of the Amhara and cultural clothing. Gonder, Gojjam and Wello."
-bolekid

**

"These beautiful people are from a place called Tleaje. Telaje is a place located between Amdework, Seqota and Samre. They speak three languages: Amharic, Agewgna and Tirigna."
-fasika2

**

"This is typical of Amharic in Gondar and Wollo areas. Many mistakingly think amharic songs are only modern day Tedy and Aster (pop mixed musics)."
-Vjeya

-snip-

Here's an excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amharic :

"Amharic ...is a Semitic language spoken in North Central Ethiopia by the Amhara. It is the second most spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the "official working" language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and thus has official status and use nationwide."

-snip-

Also, here's an excerpt from a Florida State University educational website on Ethiopia:

"The geography and demography of Ethiopia, with emphasis on the Amharic people:

Ethiopia is located in an area known as the "East Horn" of Africa. When you look at a map of the African continent you will clearly see how the region bordering on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden projects eastward like a horn. Although not at the tip of the horn, Ethiopia constitutes a part of that peninsula. This location in northeastern Africa is important to an understanding of Ethiopia's musical and cultural history, because for milennia the country has been a crossroads between West Asia (i.e., the Middle East) and the rest of Africa. Cynthia Tse Kimberlin (1980:233) calls it "a Middle Eastern country in an African setting."

Over one hundred ethnic groups constitute the population of Ethiopia, of which the Amharic people are the majority (ca. 35 percent of the population). A traditional professional musician is called azmari in Amharic, originally meaning "one who praises" and today meaning "one who criticizes" (ibid.:234). Only men become azmari, and the profession is considered extremely low class, the same as illiterates, blacksmiths, carpenters, and servants (ibid.:235). Nevertheless, azmari make good money by playing for weddings, parties, and other entertainment events. Two other important ethnic groups in Ethiopia are the Tigre and the Dorze, and some of their music is heard in this lesson, in addition to Amharic music."

[I added the italic font to highlight this section]


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 10:51 AM

Here's another YouTube video of a group of Ethiopians singing a traditional song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e11XORI9GC4&feature=related
AZMARI
"Ethiopian cultural song"

-snip-

I think that the comment sections for YouTube videos can be used to teach others about another group's culture [or our own culture] as well as increase appreciation about that culture. This video has 37 comments to date. Unfortunately, the comments provide little information for non-Ethiopians about the meaning of the song. From reading some of the comments, I got the sense that this song was funny and/or flirtatious. I posted a comment asking for someone to share that information since Hopefully, someone will do so, and I'll re-post that comment/information here.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:28 AM

This link to a YouTube video doesn't feature a song, but instead is clip of a new Ghanaian music tradition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTAOzbqpaiQ
La Drivers Union Por Por Group perform "M.V. Labadi"

-snip-

See this statement that was written about the video:

"Por por (pronounced paaw paaw) is the name of honking, squeeze-bulb horn music which is unique to the La Drivers Union of Ghana, and which is principally performed at union drivers' funerals. Por por music is played with truck horns, tire pumps, and other everyday objects a truck driver uses. The sound is rooted in Ghanaian tradition and a broad range of musical influences from New Orleans jazz to Highlife. The song performed here honors and praises past drivers. The group then breaks into a jam session. The performance was filmed in Accra, Ghana, during ethnomusicologist Steven Feld's 2006 recording session for Por Por: Honk Horn Music of Ghana, which can be found at www.smithsonianglobalsound.org"

**

Here's another video of the La Drivers Union of Ghana:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW8QDOy_J-s&feature=related

"Ethnomusicologist Steven Feld travels to Accra, Ghana's capital and largest city, to record the unique honk horn music of truck drivers in the La Drivers Union Por Por Group"


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 11:36 AM

Here are three links to YouTube video clips that feature singing and dancing to the contemporary Namibia folk song "Amarula". All of these videos were posted by the same person:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0SrBUs-Cc4&feature=related
"Amarula Origional Song"

[Here's a brief excerpt of the video summary]:
"The Amarula Song is in Namibia a very well known song about the Amarula liqueur (bit like Baileys)
Jan filmed during our trip through Namibia several Hotel kitchen personel singing this funny song. (availabl on Namibia DVD)
This one was shot in the evening in the dark (no electricity) lit by lamps.

Amarula Cream is a liqueur made of the Marula tree fruit. Elephants love it and shake trees to get them. It is known animals can get drunk of it also see movieclip in this list"..

**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQgGhW-QUWk&feature=related
Amarula Origional Song II

**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkA-vEMB6nQ&NR=1
Amarula Origional Song III

-snip-
The third video also features San women talking, and their speech includes the click sound that Miriam Makeba introduced to so many people in America and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, I've not been able to find the words to this song online. I posted a comment requesting the lyrics. The only part of the song that I can post is the chorus:

Amarula Amarula
Amarula rula rula
Amarula Amarula
Amarula rula rula

-snip-

Amarula is pronounced "ah-mah-roo-lah"

I also posted a request for more information about the dance that the women and men performed to the song. I wondered if the steps where from an older, traditional dance and if so which one. Also, I noted that the steps seemed similar to me to an African American R&B dance "the butt". Actually, there may be other line dances that are more similar to the steps those Namibians did, but that step in which the men and women swung their hips to the side, thus emphasizing their butt, reminded me of that 1990s dance.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 12:08 PM

For the record, I'd like to correct a mistatement, "doin the butt" was a late 1980s dance.

Also, I meant to say that there are probably other R&B dances that are performed in a line which more closely resemble the steps that the Namibian women and men performed in those video clips. That said, the thrusting their hips to the side, thus emphasizing their butt does remind me of that "doin' the butt" dance. Unfortunately, I'm not a dance historian and can't come up with the past or present R&B dance or dances that the Amarula dance steps remind me of. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if those steps and movements are traditional steps that are found throughout Africa including in West Africa & Central Africa and elsewhere.

Although it's off-topic, for comparison's sake, here's a link to the song Da Butt, recorded in 1988 by EU {Experience Unlimited} from Spike Lee's movie "School Daze" of that same year:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQUgFNEGmGI&feature=related
Da Butt - School Daze


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:54 PM

We used to have a record called La Creation, which was the Christian creation myth done in very African French. Very funny! Anybody have it?


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Saro
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 11:12 AM

Can anyone tell me about a song with the following words (sorry, this is as near as I can get phonetically)

Di gomo di machoba
Di gomo di machoba
Di machoba batawe di machoba,
Di Machoba batawe di machoba.

It is beautiful , but I'd like toknow what the language is and what it means. Can any of you help?
Saro


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 07:31 PM

Here's a link to a YouTube video of the Nigerian folk song "Akiwowo":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y21xynbjlqg
Akiwowo by Voices Of Africa Choral & Percussion Ensemble
"Akiwowo - The trainman, is a traditional song from Nigeria, West Africa about the trainman whose name is Akiwowo. This song was taught to us by Baba Tunde Olutunji. Also recorded by Santana in the 1970's"

-snip-

Here's some information about the meaning of the song "Akiwowo":
http://local.google.com/answers/threadview?id=526116

Note that I'm posting almost the complete page of this link in case the original page is withdrawn:

Subject: Meaning of African Lyrics
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: georgeskye-ga
Posted: 26 May 2005 18:13 PDT

What is the meaning of this African song: Phonetically the words are:
A Kee Wo Wo oo no kar ee lay, oh say doh oo no ka ee lay lay. These
are the main words which are repeated over and over.

Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 26 May 2005 22:45 PDT

"The lyrics you've quoted are from Babatunde Olatunji's song, "Akiwowo
(Chant to the Trainman)". It is a variant of an old Nigerian folksong.

Here is a translation:

"Akiwowo
(Chant to the trainman)

Akiwowo Oloko lle
Akiwowo Oloko lle
lowo Gbe Mi Dele
lowo Gbe Mi Dele
Ile Baba Mi
Akiwowo Oloko lle
Chorus:Oloko lle
O Se O

Akiwowo conductor of the train
Akiwowo conductor of the train
Please take me home
Please take me home
To my fathers house
Akiwowo conductor of the train
Chorus:Conductor of the train"

Yahoo! Groups: Djembe
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/djembe-l/message/7257

Here's some information about the song's background:

"Bamidélé, olókò ilè,

Bamidélé, olókò ilè,

Jòwó gbé mi dé'lé,

Jòwó gbé mi dé'lé,

Ilé baba mi, o-ó.

Bamidélé, olókò ilè.

Bamidele, owner of the train,

Bamidele, owner of the train,

Please take me home,

Please take me home,

To my father's house, o-o

Bamidele, owner of the train.

In some songs, Bamidélé is substituted for Akìwowo, who is the main
character in Àráoyè's poetry. Late Baba Olátúnjí, Nigerian master
drummer who was also an immigrant in America popularized this tune by
using the Akìwowo name. Baba was old enough to know what happened when trains were brand new in Nigeria, and for him, Akìwowo was a famous conductor who faithfully ensured that the passengers on his train did not miss the train. Àráoyè's Akìwowo both recalls Baba's and is in synch with our childhood memories of 'Bamidélé, olókò ilè'. It recalls Baba's lyrics in the sense that there is a common name. It is in synch with our childhood memories because the central character is a trainmaster."

African Migration
http://www.africamigration.com/archive_02/editorial.htm#_edn19

My Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: akiwowo "babatunde olatunji"
://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=akiwowo+%22babatunde+olatunji%22


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 08:43 PM

Here's a link to a YouTube video of a folk song from Kenya, East Africa:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM5Z9GPPLY4
Masambu - Kayamba Africa
"Luhya folk song that is performed during happy occasions whereby the guests are treated to a story of one's tribulations and then asked to enjoy them "

**
The Luhya are the second largest ethnic group in Kenya {14.38%}. The Kikuyu Agĩkũyũ) are the first largest ethnic group in Kenya {20,78%} and the Luo* are the third largest ethnic group in Kenya {12,38%}.

When I was a young adult reading about Kenya, East Africa, the only Kenyan ethnic group which seemed to be featured in American ethnographies and "popular" books besides the Kikuyu were the Maasi. I'm therefore surprised to learn that the Maasi are only 1.76% of the population of Kenya. And since the Swahili language is the dominant language in Kenya and other East African nations {at least that's what I've read}, it's also interesting to note that Swahilis make up only 0.60% of Kenyan people.

* Americans may be hearing more about the Luos of Kenya since Senator Barack Obama's father is from this particular ethnic group.

-snip-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tribes_of_Kenya is the source of these statistics.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,tgirl
Date: 08 May 08 - 10:56 PM

any one know the meaning of a south african greeting song.

O ye na rimbo x2
bha bahn cula x2
ola di eh x2

ola di eh ga ma ta ga di ee mi eh


all phonetically spelt. thanks for your help


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Tangledwood
Date: 09 May 08 - 02:54 AM

"And since the Swahili language is the dominant language in Kenya and other East African nations {at least that's what I've read}, it's also interesting to note that Swahilis make up only 0.60% of Kenyan people. "

Your wikipedia reference is the first time that I've ever seen reference to a Swahili race. I've always understood that it is the lingua franca of the African east coast.

http://www.glcom.com/hassan/swahili_history.html


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 May 08 - 08:07 PM

I suspect that there might be a confusion there between the word Swahili and Somali.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 09 May 08 - 09:20 PM

Tangledwoodm here's the hyperlink to the website that you posted:
http://www.glcom.com/hassan/swahili_history.html

**

McGrath of Harlow, the Somalis and the Swahili people are two distinct African ethnic populations.

Here's a brief excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swahili_people

"The Swahili are unique Bantu inhabitants of the East African Coast mainly from Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. They are mainly united by culture and under the mother tongue of Kiswahili, a Bantu language. According to JoshuaProject, the Swahili number in at around 1,328,000. The name Swahili is derived from the Arabic word Sawahil, meaning "coastal dwellers..Note that only a small fraction of those who use Swahili are first language speakers and even fewer are ethnic Swahilis."

* first language-the first language a person learns from birth [mother tongue]


And here's another excerpt about the Swahili peoples:

"For at least a thousand years, Swahili people, who call themselves Waswahili, have occupied a narrow strip of coastal land extending from the north coast of Kenya to Dar es Salaam (the capital of Tanzania). They also occupy several nearby Indian Ocean islands, including Zanzibar, Lamu, and Pate. Over the past few hundred years, the coastal area has been conquered and colonized several times—by Portuguese in the sixteenth century, by Middle Eastern Arabs who ran a slave trade in the nineteenth century, and by the British in the twentieth century. Thus, Swahili people are accustomed to living with strangers in their midst, and they have frequently acted as middlemen in trade relations. In addition, they have incorporated many people and practices into their vibrant social world"...

http://www.everyculture.com/wc/Tajikistan-to-Zimbabwe/Swahili.html   

-snip-

Here's an excerpt about the Somali peoples:

"The Somalis are most closely related to the Rendille and the Afar, and distantly related to the Oromos, all Eastern Cushite peoples. Somalis are not a unitary people group, but a grouping of broad clan federations divided by language and by clan conflicts. Although all Somalis profess strong allegiance to Islam, they hold stronger primary loyalties to self, family and clan, in that order.

Language:
"The Somali peoples were never under any unified political structure. Sporadic attempts such as the Gareen dynasty from the Ajuuraan in Central/Southern Somalia in the 1500s (Cassanelli 1992) and the Bartire around Jigjiga, Ethiopia, in the late 1700s were overthrown violently by other clans.

The clans, with various genealogical ties, or political or military alliances, provided a broad, loose identity. In the colonial era, the various European powers easily established a hegemony, then a dominance over various divisions of the Somali peoples. The British, French and Italian Somalilands roughly followed geographical areas of clan alliances or federations and actually helped limit clashes between different clans.

In 1960 Britain and Italy combined their territories into a unified independent Somalia. The French territory remained separate and gained independence in 1977 as Djibouti...

The Somali language is a member of the Eastern Cushite family of languages. Forms of this language are spoken in Djibouti, Ogaadeen (Ethiopia) and the northern areas of Somalia, as well as in Kenya. The language situation, however, is quite complex. Linguists analyze several languages among the Somali peoples which are not mutually intelligible"...

http://slrk.info/profiles/somali.html:

-snip-

Here's another excerpt about the Somali peoples:

"The Somalis are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language, which is part of the Cushitic subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Ethnic Somalis number around 20-25 million and are principally concentrated in Somalia (more than 8 million[1]), Ethiopia (4,5 million[2]), Yemen (a little under 1 million), northeastern Kenya (about half a million), Djibouti (350,000), and an unknown but large number living in parts of the Middle East, North America and Europe due to the Somali Civil War"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somali_people


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Tangledwood
Date: 10 May 08 - 07:03 PM

Thanks Azizi, that's interesting.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 10 May 08 - 11:13 PM

Tangledwood, yes. I love learning information like this.

Btw, sorry about my typo of your name.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Amos
Date: 11 May 08 - 01:42 AM

I sometimes sing songs I learned fromt he early recordings of Mirais, mostly voertreker songs.

Ones I recall:

Zulu Warrior
Jan Viddiavecht
Oh, Brandy Leave Me Alone
Around te Corner Beneath the Bush
I'll See Me Little Darling When the Sun Foes Down

There are more buried int he many layers of my memory but they aren't in contact just now.,..


A


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,mae
Date: 05 Jul 08 - 09:53 AM

do you guys know the song "se pama" ?


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Clentis
Date: 03 Jan 10 - 07:27 PM

I heard a group of 7 young men the other night that was discovered (or re-discovered) by Clint Eastwood's wife and I missed the name of their group. I was spellbound watching it. Can you give me the name of the group? Thanks


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Ara Mi Le
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 01:18 PM

This a yoruba language song probably recorded by baba Olatunji. Yoruba language is from the western part of Nigeria in west Africa.
Ara- body
mi-my or mine
le-healthy

My body is well or I am healthy


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,iyailu.com
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 01:34 PM

the song "Ise Oluwa"

it is gramatically written in Yoruba as

Ise oluwa
Ko le "baje" o
(not "bage" )
"Baj/e/" the last sound here is dotted /e/
"baje" means destroy, spoil...
For more on yoruba language and culture, clarification or lesson, visit www.iyailu.com
thanks


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 02:39 PM

One I love and is on my international song of the month club list is Waka Waka..from Camaroon...I think it means I have worked too hard as a soldier and I am very tired but I am not sure.

It was adopted by the soccer tournament recently and sung by someone famous..young woman..Shakira? Anyway, great version or two on youtube.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Nov 10 - 02:05 PM

I heard a song with teh foccus of the song being a word reapeted as the chorus sounding like 'ziana'


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,peter fosu
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 09:53 PM

music,as a component of African rich culture of which African folk song is no exception is a very important asset that must be cherished and preserved for present and posterity. However, the situation of African folk songs in Ghana is pathetic, in that, the influx of contemporary music has completely engulfed traditional songs.contemporary music has destooled folk songs from all the cultural spheres Ghanaians, more especially the Akans in the Ashanti region.
I will be greatly honoured and proud to receive from readers suggestions about the way forward for the institutionalization of folk songs in Ghana.
With warm felicitations from Peter Fosu
e-mail:pfosu72@yahoo.com


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 01:44 AM

Greetings!

I just read the latest post from an Akan man about Ghanaian folk music. That post is ironical because I came here to add information about an Akan children's game song [traditionally, a stone passing game song] which-judging from the number of YouTube choral performances of the song-is relatively familiar in the United States and some other (non-African) nations. That song is "Sansa Kroma" (also known as "Sansa Akroma").

I published two post on my pancocojams cultural blog on "Sansa Akroma", the first on lyrics, meanings, and traditional performance activities, and the second featuring five selected videos of that song, and one video of a stone passing game song from Jamaica ("Emmanuel Road") The links to those post are http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/03/lyrics-meanings-of-ghanaian-song-sansa.html for Part I of this series and http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/03/videos-of-ghanaian-song-sansa-kroma.html for Part II of this series.

Here are the words to this song from Let Your Voice Be Heard! Songs from Ghana and Zimbabwe by Kobena Adzenyah, Dumisani Maraire and Judith Cook Tucker (World Music Press, 1967):

Sansa kroma
Ne na woo aw
Che che kokoma
-snip-
According to those authors, the correct pronunciation for those words are:
"sah-sah kroh-mah nee nay woo aw-chay chay koh-koh mah"

[There are at least two other ways that the word or sound "woo" is given in examples of "Sansa Kroma": "wuo" and "yo". The word or sound "woo","wuo", or "yo" is pronounced at least three different ways in videos I have listened to. "Woo" is pronounced like the English word "boo", It is pronounced almost like the English word "hoard" without the "d" ending, and [this is the one I believe is most accurate], it is pronounced "woh" like the English word "whoa" as in the familiar American saying "Whoa, Nellie!".

As to the standard meaning given this song, I prefer to quote a somewhat lengthy comment from what I think is an American teacher blog, so that that quote becomes part of the record in case that blog, and my blog become no longer assessible. I will do so in my next post to this thread.

- Azizi Powell


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 01:48 AM

Here's a comment about the Ghanaian children's game "Sansa Kroma" from
http://www.menc.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=1082:

[written in response to the question]
"Can someone list the correct pronunciation for the whole song?

I think probably the most authentic source for the song is Let Your Voice Be Heard! Songs from Ghana and Zimbabwe by Adzenyah, Maraire, and Tucker (the first 2 authors were born in Africa, the 3rd one is an expert on world music). The words are in the Akan language (one of several languages spoken in Ghana) and the phonetic pronunciation given in this book is:

sah-sah kroh-mah nee nay woo aw-chay chay koh-koh mah

The "n" sound in Sansa is not pronounced. I have seen this song a couple other places and the pronunciation has been listed as the same.

The translation for these words is "Sansa, the hawk. You are an orphan, and so you snatch up baby chicks." The book says: "Akan children singing this song are reminded that if anything happend to their parents and they became orphans, they would not have to wander alone, frantically trying to provide for their own needs. They would be taken in by a relative or a family in their village." This version is a playground song. The instructions for the game are: "A rock is passed around the circle on the ground, according to one of two possible patterns. In the first pattern the rock is grabbed on the first beat and passed low to the ground to the right on the third beat of each measure. [grab, pass] In the second the child taps the rock on the ground on the first and third beat of the first measure. In the next measure the rock is passed on the first beat followed by a clap on the third beat. [tap, tap, pass, clap] This pattern is repeated." It also gives some instructions for clapping patterns, different ways to perform the song, and dancing to the song.

Another note in the book: "Kwasi Aduonum includes a variant of Sansa Kroma called "Sansa Akroma" in his dissertation, a wonderful collection of Ghanian folktale songs. He classifies the song the song as a mmoguo song - a "song interlude" to be used by the audience or narrator at any point during the telling of a story which seems related in some way to the idea of thsi song. In his version, a baby male eagle chases fowl instead of attending his own mother's funeral, because he thought he had to eat before going to the funeral, if he hoped to eat at all. Aduonum writes "this is a teasing song referring to those who are truant and who do not give proper attention to events or duties which need to be given a priority.""

As you can see, Let Your Voice Be Heard! is a very valuable resource if you are teaching about African music (this is just the info given for ONE song! and it has lots of great background info on Ghana and Zimbabwe and African music in general.)...

As for different versions... this is just the nature of folksongs in general. Usually the older a song is, the more variants on the song there are (a really old ballad or sea chantey might have a dozen different versions if you look hard enough), like a "whisper down the lane" effect because the songs are passed on through the aural tradition over sometimes hundreds of years in different areas of a country. Most of them weren't put into musical notation till sometime in the late 19th to early 20th century when folksong collectors like Childs, the Lomaxes, or the Seegers started to do this to preserve the music for posterity. Think of all the different versions of American folk songs and singing games like "Little Sally Water," "Tideo," or even "The Wheels on the Bus." One of the defining characterisitcs of a folk song is that it is mutable -the written versions we find are just ONE snapshot of the song collected by one folksong collector/musicologist in one place and time.

Last edited by Christine Nowmos (2008-09-23 08:19:47)"


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 02:12 AM

I have one final comment here for now about the Ghanaian song "Sansa Kroma":

The fact that some of the Akan totems are hawks, and falcons prompted my speculation about possible symbolical meaning/s of the orphaned hawk in the "Sansa Kroma" children's game song. Perhaps that song does just mean what most people say it means: i.e. that Akan children were assured that if they were ever orphaned they wouldn't have to fend for themselves like the young hawk had to. Yet, even before I learned about the presence of hawk and falcon totems among the Akan, that meaning sounded too "pat" to me. I wonder if this is a long accepted* meaning of what may have been a song with deeper, spiritual, or at least symbolical meaning.

*I'm not sure about the age of this song. One commenter on a YouTube thread [whose link I didn't document] indicated that her grandmother [presumably from Ghana] sung this song in the 1930s.

The "Let Your Voice Be Heard" book that is referenced in the previous posts may be one reason why this song is known to children and adults in the USA and in other nations outside of Ghana, and the continent of Africa. Another reason is one cited in that teacher's blog which was also previously mentioned is that "Sansa Kroma" is (or was)included in the grade 5 Silver Burdett Music book under the title
"Sasa Akroma".

Again, if interested, check out my posts on "Sansa Kroma" on my Pancocojams cultural blog.

****

Also, my thanks to all who have posted to this thread since I stopped regularly posting on Mudcat. Particular thanks to Guest iyailu.com for the correction of the lyrics to "Ise Oluwa" in August 2010. That poster gave a website address. The link to that website is http://www.iyailu.com/.   

I intend to visit that site and its blog.

I wasn't aware of that site when I published a series of posts on the African song "Ise Oluwa" and related songs. For those who may be interested, here are links to two of those posts: http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/01/various-interpretations-of-ise-oluwa.html and http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/01/baba-ese-you-are-pillar-that-holds-my.html.

Thanks, and best wishes,

Azizi Powell


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Mar 12 - 09:45 AM

Azizi-

Nice to see you posting here again. I always look forward to learning something from what you post.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,louise
Date: 05 Aug 13 - 09:32 AM

What does o ye Narimbo mean??

alo di ye gamata
good i me ye
??


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 13 - 10:33 AM

With African guitar style Guabi Guabi and Masanga by Bosco? Google them, nice guitar parts. Derek brimstone used to do guabi guabi and recorded it.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,Brendan Delaney
Date: 10 Aug 13 - 07:45 PM

I wonder if anyone can help ? I know an African song,well,one verse but I learnt it phonetically and can still sing it. i'd write it if anyone can help.


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Subject: RE: O Ye Na Rimbo
From: GUEST,Guest Anthony R
Date: 15 Dec 13 - 02:42 PM

Hi we got a choir up and running and our choir master gave us a traditional call and response song, O YE NA RIMBO which is great, but, we would like to know what the song means in English. Ta.


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: GUEST,travelin-jack
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 05:14 PM

DL 5083 mentioned above is on iTunes


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Subject: RE: African Folk Songs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 09:44 AM

Thanks for digging this up.


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