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African Folk Songs

Richard Bridge 11 Feb 14 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,travelin-jack 10 Feb 14 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Guest Anthony R 15 Dec 13 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Brendan Delaney 10 Aug 13 - 07:45 PM
GUEST 05 Aug 13 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,louise 05 Aug 13 - 09:32 AM
Charley Noble 31 Mar 12 - 09:45 AM
Azizi 31 Mar 12 - 02:12 AM
Azizi 31 Mar 12 - 01:48 AM
Azizi 31 Mar 12 - 01:44 AM
GUEST,peter fosu 09 Aug 11 - 09:53 PM
GUEST 01 Nov 10 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,mg 12 Aug 10 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,iyailu.com 12 Aug 10 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Ara Mi Le 12 Aug 10 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,Clentis 03 Jan 10 - 07:27 PM
GUEST,mae 05 Jul 08 - 09:53 AM
Amos 11 May 08 - 01:42 AM
Azizi 10 May 08 - 11:13 PM
Tangledwood 10 May 08 - 07:03 PM
Azizi 09 May 08 - 09:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 May 08 - 08:07 PM
Tangledwood 09 May 08 - 02:54 AM
GUEST,tgirl 08 May 08 - 10:56 PM
Azizi 22 Jan 08 - 08:43 PM
Azizi 22 Jan 08 - 07:31 PM
Saro 21 Jan 08 - 11:12 AM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 09:54 PM
Azizi 20 Jan 08 - 12:08 PM
Azizi 20 Jan 08 - 11:36 AM
Azizi 20 Jan 08 - 10:28 AM
Azizi 19 Jan 08 - 10:51 AM
Azizi 19 Jan 08 - 10:47 AM
Azizi 19 Jan 08 - 10:08 AM
Azizi 19 Jan 08 - 09:43 AM
Azizi 18 Jan 08 - 06:49 PM
Azizi 18 Jan 08 - 06:40 PM
Simon G 18 Jan 08 - 11:50 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 18 Jan 08 - 06:59 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 18 Jan 08 - 06:53 AM
Kent Davis 17 Jan 08 - 10:11 PM
Azizi 17 Jan 08 - 02:35 PM
Azizi 17 Jan 08 - 09:18 AM
Azizi 17 Jan 08 - 08:47 AM
Simon G 17 Jan 08 - 07:19 AM
Azizi 16 Jan 08 - 08:05 PM
Azizi 16 Jan 08 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,DeBowrah 16 Jan 08 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,K.R. 20 Sep 07 - 01:42 PM
sian, west wales 23 Mar 07 - 05:34 AM
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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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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: 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,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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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,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,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,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,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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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 timesby 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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:

"Bamidl, olk il,

Bamidl, olk il,

Jw gb mi d'l,

Jw gb mi d'l,

Il baba mi, o-.

Bamidl, olk il.

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, Bamidl is substituted for Akwowo, who is the main
character in roy's poetry. Late Baba Oltnj, Nigerian master
drummer who was also an immigrant in America popularized this tune by
using the Akwowo name. Baba was old enough to know what happened when trains were brand new in Nigeria, and for him, Akwowo was a famous conductor who faithfully ensured that the passengers on his train did not miss the train. roy's Akwowo both recalls Baba's and is in synch with our childhood memories of 'Bamidl, olk il'. 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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 - 10:08 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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