Mudcat Café message #1981333 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99389   Message #1981333
Posted By: Charley Noble
27-Feb-07 - 08:32 PM
Thread Name: African Folk Songs
Subject: RE: African Folk Songs

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.

Charley Noble