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Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?

Related threads:
How Do You Pronounce 'Kumbaya'? (13)
Holding hands and singing 'Kumbaya' (68)
(origins) Origins: Kumbaya (105)
Do you still sing Kumbaya (16)
(origins) Lyr Add: Come By Yuh (Spiritual) (18)
(origins) Composer: Kumb Bah Yah (19)
Lyr Req: Kumbaya / Kum Ba Yah (10)


BuckMulligan 16 Feb 08 - 07:01 PM
Leadfingers 16 Feb 08 - 07:05 PM
BuckMulligan 16 Feb 08 - 07:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Feb 08 - 07:20 PM
Joe Offer 16 Feb 08 - 07:30 PM
Little Hawk 16 Feb 08 - 07:33 PM
BuckMulligan 16 Feb 08 - 07:44 PM
John Hardly 16 Feb 08 - 07:46 PM
BuckMulligan 16 Feb 08 - 07:59 PM
Amos 16 Feb 08 - 08:00 PM
Joe Offer 16 Feb 08 - 08:09 PM
Azizi 16 Feb 08 - 09:37 PM
Azizi 16 Feb 08 - 09:54 PM
katlaughing 16 Feb 08 - 10:07 PM
Little Hawk 16 Feb 08 - 10:34 PM
Greg B 16 Feb 08 - 10:35 PM
Bee 16 Feb 08 - 11:05 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 16 Feb 08 - 11:07 PM
freightdawg 16 Feb 08 - 11:11 PM
Little Hawk 16 Feb 08 - 11:24 PM
catspaw49 16 Feb 08 - 11:42 PM
Azizi 16 Feb 08 - 11:47 PM
Azizi 17 Feb 08 - 12:01 AM
katlaughing 17 Feb 08 - 12:08 AM
Little Hawk 17 Feb 08 - 02:19 AM
KT 17 Feb 08 - 03:27 AM
Backwoodsman 17 Feb 08 - 03:51 AM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 17 Feb 08 - 04:26 AM
Amos 17 Feb 08 - 04:47 AM
John MacKenzie 17 Feb 08 - 05:37 AM
Azizi 17 Feb 08 - 08:02 AM
catspaw49 17 Feb 08 - 09:29 AM
Mr Happy 17 Feb 08 - 09:43 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Feb 08 - 09:43 AM
Amos 17 Feb 08 - 10:49 AM
John Hardly 17 Feb 08 - 11:03 AM
Charley Noble 17 Feb 08 - 11:12 AM
John MacKenzie 17 Feb 08 - 11:13 AM
Backwoodsman 17 Feb 08 - 12:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Feb 08 - 12:48 PM
Little Hawk 17 Feb 08 - 01:09 PM
katlaughing 17 Feb 08 - 01:41 PM
Azizi 17 Feb 08 - 01:44 PM
Little Hawk 17 Feb 08 - 02:06 PM
Azizi 17 Feb 08 - 02:44 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Feb 08 - 03:06 PM
SINSULL 17 Feb 08 - 08:06 PM
GUEST 17 Feb 08 - 08:13 PM
BuckMulligan 17 Feb 08 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 17 Feb 08 - 08:19 PM
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Subject: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 07:01 PM

The preamble to this ponder is that at lost holiday time (Christmas/Hanukkah in our family) I received (mirabile dictu!) a USB-output-equipped turntable, and I've been delightedly and delightfully ripping my old vinyl - cracks & pops and all, since they're part of what these discs mean to me - in odd moments, especially on weekend evenings.

So tonight I'm ripping "Joan Baez In Concert" on Vanguard, from late 1962. (Jesus Christ, that's 45 years ago). It's a very old disc, from the original issue - there was a reissue later that appended "Part I" and added three other tracks not present here.

One of the tracks is (natch) "Kumbaya" and it (also natch) got me to thinking about the disrepute that some of our sentiments from the time & place have fallen, and how those sentiments have been tagged with the title of this particular song, as in "Kumbaya moment" said with a sneer, or a least a slightly snide, supercilious snigger (is there a special word for alliteration that contains more than one phoneme, as in "sn"?)

Anyway, I'm guilty of such sniggery myself. I look back at us, poking our cheapo guitars in student lounges and valiantly imitating the wheezes of the early Dylan, whose wheezes should not have been imitated (but whose words should of course have been sung over & over again, as they have been).

But hearing JB singing Kumbaya, in a concert setting, and hearing the audience response - remember when it was not only ok, but expected, to sing along? Remember when it was not only ok, but expected, for an artist to sing a bunch of songs you knew well enough to sing along with, whether he or she had written them or not? Shit... - anyway, hearing the audience response, from people who are my contemporaries, and my slight seniors, and who are grandparents now as I am, and many of whom of course are long dead, I wonder what's so snickery about "Kumbaya?" What's wrong with the way we felt then? Interesting ponder, that.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 07:05 PM

That is obviously an Americanism ! Never had any feedback in UK about Kumbaya , except that it is Dialect !


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 07:06 PM

Yes, quite probably, thanks should have identified the locus.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 07:20 PM

To quote Richard Thompson "How Will I Ever Be Simple Again". (Here)

Sometimes people get embarrassed at how they have turned out along the years. And when we feel embarrassed, sneering is one way to deal with it.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 07:30 PM

I dunno, Buck. I think it's a nice song - but it's a nice song that got sung far too often, and it got worn out. It's nice, but not extraordinary; and it takes an extraordinary song to withstand the destruction of overuse.

Still, it brings back sweet memories of my youth, when many beautiful, sincere young women sang the song in my presence. Their thoughts were pure and sincere as they sang, and I suppose my thoughts at the time were somewhat baser....

There were many other songs of the same ilk - "Today," and every single song written by Rod McKuen. They might have been pretty good songs, but they were destroyed by lovely young women who sang them with an overdose of sincerity.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 07:33 PM

"familiarity breeds contempt"

That's why. It's unfortunate that people are so fickle, but that's what it amounts to.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 07:44 PM

Well, maybe Joe, but Rod McKuen?

Ick....


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: John Hardly
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 07:46 PM

David Wilcox wrote a wonderful song -- "Farther To Fall". In the song he talks about walking on a railroad track as a tighrope walker might. Then he notes that as the track goes over a high bridge tressel, suddenly much greater care is taken in the walking.

As he points out in the song:

The balance is no harder, after all
It's just that we have farther to fall.

It's not that there aren't a plethora of lame-ass songs -- just as lame-ass as Kumbaya. These come to mind...

Honey
I've Never Been To Me
Havin' My Baby
Anything by ABBA
Anything by KC & The Sunshine Band

...and we can simply laugh all of those off. They were never taken seriously. As banal as they were, they never pretended to be otherwise.

The folkscare people took themselves and their music WAY more seriously than was warranted by the quality of most of the music. And Kumbaya is one of the most glaring examples of "Farther To Fall" -- people out to change the world -- oblivious to the banality of the song.

Yee gods it was silly.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 07:59 PM

Thanks John, interesting take. You're right, we did take ourselves and the music too seriously. But there was some bad shit happening, and it pissed us off. And we did think we should do something about it, and some of the music expressed that for us and made us think there were enough of us to have a shot at doing something about the bad shit. Silly.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Amos
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 08:00 PM

There has been a lot of sneering, especially from those of a more rightward persuasion, against the courageous if simplistic sentiment that informed the days of Civil Rights and the birthing of the hippy and flower-child generations Moreso as the same generation began to discover capitalism and middle-class comforts.. It is often combined with invective against tree-huggers by those trying to make a profit from something not quite environmentally virtuous. There is no real reason for it to be sneered at except perhaps over-use and the simpleness of its sentiment.


A


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 08:09 PM

I have to agree with your opinion of Rod McKuen, Buck. No "redeeming social value" at all - but I DID know some really wonderful young women who loved him. I married one of them, soon found out there were some flaws in that wonderfulness (rather, she found out there were flaws in MY wonderfulness)...
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 09:37 PM

"Kumbaya" {a Gullah phrase meaning "Come By Here"} started out as a heart felt plea for God to intervene in the lives of enslaved people. "Some one's cryin, Lord. Come by here"... Someone needs you Lord. Come by here. Oh, Lord, come by here".

However, in the 1960s or earlier in the USA, this African American spiritual became popularized by singers such as Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul,& Mary who sung folk songs in support of civil rights and equality for all. As a result, this song was added to the folk song repertoires taught to children & youth summer campers. It seems to me-admittedly from the outside looking in-that the song Kumbaya was added to those campfire song repertoires as a tribute-token or not-to multiculturalism.

Over time, the song "Kumbaya" became a symbol of and a catch-phrase for Pollyanna-ish racial and ethnic unity.* That same desire for unity across racial, ethnic, religious, and other socially meaningful but ultimately meaningless boundaries is encapsulated in the question that Rodney King asked in 1992 when he was pleading for calm at a televised news conference during the Los Angeles riots- "People...Can't we all get along?"

Unfortunately, the song "Kumbaya" and, even more, the 21st century political colloquialism that people are having a "kumbaya moment" or "kumbaya experience" speaks to this fake sentiment of sweetness and light.

In my opinion, we should not just pretend that differences don't exist, and we shouldn't just act like we have reached a time in the world when personal racism and institutional racism {and classism and gender bias, and homophobia etc etc etc} does not exist. Instead, we take off our rose colored "Kumbaya" glasses, and work for this goal. It's worth it.

So why is "Kumbaya" a dirty word?

Imo, because if we pretend that we have reached the time when racial, ethnic, national, gender, religious, sexual orientation etc differences don't make any difference, we'll never really get to that time.


* "The Pollyanna principle or Pollyannaism describes the tendency for people to agree with positive statements describing them. It is sometimes called positivity bias. The phenomenon is similar to the Forer effect.

The concept as described by Matlin and Stang in 1978 used the archetype of Pollyanna, a young girl with infectious optimism".

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


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 09:54 PM

Correction-

Instead, we should take off our rose colored "Kumbaya" glasses, and work for this goal. It's worth it.


**

Here's two YouTube versions of the song "Kumbaya"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3MiD_U4CHQ
Joan Baez - Kumbaya (1980)

**
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYWcL5YdYhM
Kumbaya Lord - You Gotta hear this version


This second link is to a YouTube video of a multiracial young choir singing a contemporary African American gospel version of Kumbaya.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 10:07 PM

There are those of us who lived in more rural settings and/or were a tad too young to be a hippie or a flower child or whatever counter culture thing was going on at the time. We learned Kumbaya and sang it as a family with beautiful "blood" harmonies. The great thing about it was it was meaningful, to us, and simple to sing along with...our friends could learn it and we all sang it in school, too. I don't think we were being pollyannaish, either. We knew about and supported what was happening in the South and elsewhere and as long as a person wasn't a mormon sheepherder*, they were welcome in our family.

It bothers me when folks come along, many, many years later and still denigrate a song which my family and I loved so much. My sisters still sing it because they enjoy it. None of us even knew it was supposed to be "passe" until I came to Mudcat. Buck, thanks for the look back. I guess some us will remain hopelessly naive.

kat

*A long story involving my ggrandfather, a non-mormon cattle man.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 10:34 PM

Joan Baez never let cynicism mar her ideals nor cast doubt upon her youthful dreams. I can't say that of too many people. A song carries what you bring to it, specially a very simple song like Kumbaya. If you have nothing left to bring to it, well, then, don't blame the song.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Greg B
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 10:35 PM

Heh heh--- she said 'Kum'---- heh heh...


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Bee
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 11:05 PM

I think, as well, as we age there is a tendency to remember our young selves too harshly: we remember our own ignorance, we squirm a little at how naive we were, how distant from reality were our ideals, and how simple we thought complex issues could be. We regard those earnest croonings of Kumbaya with embarassment because, however well meaning we were, there was a lot we didn't really understand about even so simple and sweet a song as that.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 11:07 PM

These days, when some call something P.C.--politically correct--it is a way to demean and trivialize programs and points of view that have real merit.--- To me, it is like ending a sentence with the word "so" -- right in the middle of a sentence. It leaves it to the listener to fill in the blanks with mutually held prejudices and attitudes which, to those who "know" are, obviously, too obvious to bother spending the effort to make a clear statement of facts. Liberal is another one of those words. And now this song title is being made into a coded message even as we speak.--- It is a way to condemn without saying anything at all. The inference is enough for the "in group" --- It's us and them---and we know all about them, right?!

Art


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: freightdawg
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 11:11 PM

"Overdose of sincerity." (Joe Offer)

That's why I keep coming back to the 'Cat. When I can finally come up with a phrase like that I will be able to die contented.

Really profound, in a folkie existentialist sort of way.

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 11:24 PM

You can't have an overdose of sincerity, but you can have an overdose of naivete.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 11:42 PM

"If I laugh at any mortal thing, tis that I may not weep."......George Gordon(Lord Byron)

While we can discuss our early idealism and naivete and intellectualize about the follies of youth, the truth is down a few more tiers in our souls. We laugh off and make fun of those things associated with that time to cover our sadness and sorrow over our loss of innocence which we can never recover.

Just my 2 cents............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 11:47 PM

Let me try again to say what I meant to say:

Some people sang and/or sing the song Kumbaya because they like the song's words, and its tune, and/or they like and accept and perhaps even live the we-are-the-world view that the song has come to stand for.

Notwithstanding all of that, I believe that the song Kumbaya has become a symbol of and a connotation for an attitude or experience of fake, rose-colored glasses brotherhood and sisterhood.

It's my sense that people who ridicule "kumbaya" aren't ridiculing the song as much as they are putting down the concept that the song connotes-fake, or surface sweetness and light brotherhood and sisterhood.

While I don't ridicule "kumbaya moments", I believe that those experiences should motivate people to work for true equality under the laws and a viewpoint that all of us truly are brothers and sisters and should be equally valued regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, economic class, sexual orientation and other things that have divided people for so long and that continue to divide us.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 12:01 AM

Also, kumbaya moments may have nothing whatsoever to do with singing folk songs around a campfire or otherwise.

For instance, one of the recent 2008 Democratic Presidental debates was described as being kumbaya-like, because the candidates did not argue as was expected, but instead "made nice" with [towards] each other.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 12:08 AM

Too true, Spawdarlin'...:-<

Bang the drum slowly, and play the fife lowly...


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 02:19 AM

Yes, you got it right, Spaw.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: KT
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 03:27 AM

well said, Spaw.       And Little Hawk ~ "A song carries what you bring to it, specially a very simple song like Kumbaya. If you have nothing left to bring to it, well, then, don't blame the song."

This discussion brings to mind an image which likens us to trees....

Like trees, as we grow older, we develop more and more layers, a thicker, tougher exterior perhaps, brought about by exposure and growth and the process of aging. But that purity, that sincerity, that essence of our youth, though now covered by the many layers we've acquired, is still there at the very center of who we are. And on those rare occasions when we connect with it once again, we expereince, for a very brief time, a coming home.
KT


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 03:51 AM

Wise words Azizi (as always, may I say).
Over here, it was also played to death, along with others such as 'Streets of London', a fine and meaningful song about homelessness which also was killed by its own popularity. Sad, but as they say, "That's (musical) Life"!


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 04:26 AM

Just a thought on what happened to that song in the UK. I was made to go to sunday school as a kid in the seventies. The people in change were largely pleasant-but-earnest, tiggerishly enthusiastic, mildly hippyish, Jesus-lovin' types, who would not only make us sing songs like Kumbaya but always close their eyes, raise their hands heaven-wards and put on a pained expression like they were straining to take an almighty dump when doing so...

Every friggin' week. For what seemed like years.

So please excuse me when I say it's ALL about context and for me, when this song is mentioned, I want to run a mile. Pavlov and his dog got it just about right!

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Amos
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 04:47 AM

For an old fart, Spaw still has one helluva serve.....but I dunno. Lost innocence repined?   

Is there really a there there?


A


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 05:37 AM

It's the ethos of Kumbaya that is being denigrated and not the sentiments expressed in the song, that is at the root of the remark about "A Kumbaya moment"
The same can be said of several 'feel good' songs like, Last Night I had a Wondrous Dream, Ebony and Ivory, and even White Cliffs of Dover.
What is says to me is that the impact of the song and the sentiments it expresses, disappears with repetition.
It proves the saying that one can get too much of a good thing, and it also explains why we get fed up with the same message repeated ad nauseam, till we despise the messenger, and in so doing dismiss the message.
I can think of several people and politicians who follow a monotonous course through life, banging on and on about the same thing, and have thus turned me and others, from friends and disciples, to apathy or dare I say it,adversaries.
So next time you hear (The Bloody Awful) Fields of Athenry, don't shoot the singer, not unless he/she is really bad that is.

Giok


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 08:02 AM

Backwoodsman,

Thanks for your compliment!

An unexpected compliment is the best kind.



By the way, your check is in the mail.

:o)


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 09:29 AM

Repined? I dunno' Amos, I think I'd prefer to do it over in a nice birdseye maple...............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 09:43 AM

Have you checked out its meaning in other languages?

Maybe it may have negative content in some foreign tongue


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 09:43 AM

I don't recollect Kumbaya in the UK ever having the hint of despair, possibly even the despair that leads to revolution, that the familiarity with Gullah might have given it in the USA.

It just sounded kind of twee, and we were not taking our hope from religion in the 60s (except in a Timothy Leary sort of way). From the UK perspective of the Aldermaston march the hint of uprising in "We shall overcome" spoke in a way that was easier to relate to.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Amos
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 10:49 AM

reápine

INTRANSITIVE VERB:        Inflected forms: reápined, reápináing, reápines
1. To be discontented or low in spirits; complain or fret. 2. To yearn after something: Immigrants who repined for their homeland.
ETYMOLOGY:        Middle English repinen, to be aggrieved : re-, re- + pinen, to yearn; see pine2.

I still ask if there is a there there. :D


A


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: John Hardly
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 11:03 AM

"It's the ethos of Kumbaya that is being denigrated and not the sentiments expressed in the song, that is at the root of the remark about "A Kumbaya moment""

If by "ethos" you mean the naive notion that sitting around in a circle, holding hands and singing a really lame song was the same thing as doing something ...or even came anywhere near appropriately framing a grievance, then, yes, I agree with you.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 11:12 AM

As with other wonderful songs with a rich complex history, this one got worn out but will be rediscovered and enjoyed again by another generation.

I remember teaching it to a group of South African refugee students who were at my school in Ethiopia in 1966, when I was a Peace Corps teacher. They were fine singers, and my only regret is I lost a tape of their own wonderful songs.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 11:13 AM

Just about John. It sort of ties in with the Hippy Drippy sentiments that were around then too. [Not that they've totally gone!]
G


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 12:43 PM

No problemo Azizi, credit where it's due!
Best,
J


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 12:48 PM

Songs don't get killed. People get tired of them, but often that's just part of getting tired of themselves. The temptation is to blame the song for the disappointment we feel. Rather analogous to blaming the messenger for the bad news.

Lumping Kumbaya in with some of the other rather second rate songs mentioned isn't justifiable. (I don't mean they are all second-rate.) Kumbaya is not a second-rate song, though often enough like any good song it's been sung in a second rate way, and without much understanding. Often sentimental and wishy-washy.

I started writing this and I was called away, and before I came back I saw a bit of a TV programme about Archbishop Tutu, and one of the songs featured a South African group of singers with a version of Kumbaya. Nothing sentimental or wishy-washy about the way they sang it.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 01:09 PM

Right on.

Now THIS is the real reason why "Kumbaya" is a dirty word. It means "Go f*ck yourself!" in Navaho. It's even worse than saying "Kimosavay" (which means "you are the progeny of a wild dog and a traveling snake oil salesman")! So never ever sing "Kumbaya" when you're visiting the Navahos, but feel free to sing it anywhere else you please without hesitation.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 01:41 PM

So, singing We Shall Overcome = doing something about it

singing Kumbaya = wannabe, naive idjits who do nothing

I had no idea all of our actions meant absolutely nothing since we were, at times, singing the wrong song

That is fucked up...


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 01:44 PM

Little Hawk, I suppose that your 17 Feb 08 - 01:09 PM post was snark.

But giving that meaning even in jest to the title of a religious song seems quite off-putting to me...

However, I guess to each his or her own.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 02:06 PM

It all depends on whether you take it seriously or not, I suppose, or whether you take it on the level it's intended as...pure satire. One thing I have discovered is that when one engages in any form of barbed satire, someone out there is always offended....and who does one hear from? Not the 99 people who weren't offended, but the one who was.

I was defending the song "Kumbaya", Azizi, by satirizing the very idea that it is "a dirty word" in such a way as to say that that idea is ridiculous. If you read all my remarks in context throughout this thread, you will see that I am defending the song "Kumbaya". I agree with Spaw's remarks and McGrath's...people who object to something they themselves once participated in with open hearts...or that other people did...are most often people who are experiencing considerable inner sorrow over their own lost youth and the idealism that was once a part of their youth.

The strength of a song like Kumbaya is that it is simple in structure and perfectly set up for many, many people to sing in unison. It's good for people to sing together like that. It joins their hearts in a common upliftment, rather as a good chant does. Your favorite candidate, Mr Obama, seems to be well aware of that, and he is finding his own ways of doing something along that line.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 02:44 PM

Little Hawk,

I appreciate your response.

However, I'm old school enough to be turned off by the words you used to make your satirical point, especially when those words are used for a religious song. I also was turned off by your put down on the so called Navaho word or phrase.

But, I'm not going to belabor these points. I understand better than I did before you wrote your response that you really didn't mean anything negative by what you wrote.

Again, it's a matter of different strokes for different folks.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 03:06 PM

Maybe it's because it is religious that it seems so wet?


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 08:06 PM

Like "Where Have All The Flowers Gone", "Kumbaya" was done to death. I cringe in unison with other members of the audience when anyone starts either one though I love both songs. Go figure.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 08:13 PM

I suppose it's unnecessary, but "dirty word" was a metaphorical phrase; in no circumstance did I mean to imply that anyone as far as I know actually think that "kumbaya" is a nasty word. If anyone got that impression, mea culpa for not making myself clear.

So do all the truly great and thoughtful responses to "Kumbaya" as a song and a concept also then apply to The Times They Are a'Changing and Blowin' In The Wind (as well as some of the other naively hopeful songs already mentioned like Last Night I had the Strangest Dream, etc.)? (tough to handle punctuation in a parenthetical).

They must. What were we thinking back then, then? And what has changed in us?


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 08:14 PM

Sorry, that last GUEST post was me, forgot to login on the home machine.


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Subject: RE: Why is Kumbaya a dirty word?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 17 Feb 08 - 08:19 PM

They should've said that "it was a Waltzing With Bears moment." That I could've got behind.

Art


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