Another in our series of Chopi Migodo, from Mozambique, collected by the great ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey. In Gomukomu’s ng’godo for 1942/43, work, taxation, and their effects on women are the dominant themes, against the background of oppressive Portuguese rule.

NG’GODO
Composed in 1942/43 by Gomukomu weSimbi, orchestral leader and composer at the village of Filipe Banguza, Zavala District, Mozambique.

1. Msisto wokata
Msitso wombidi
Msitso woraru
Msitso Womune
Msitso Woklanu
2. Ng’geniso
3. Ndano
4. Cidana Cacidoko
5. Cibudu Coosinye
6. Cibudu Coosinye Kambe
7. Mzeno
8. Nsumeto Mabandla
9. Mabandla
10. Yokugwitisa Yen’ngoma
11. Msitso Wokata Kugumiro

First Orchestral Introduction
Second Orchestral introduction
Third Orchestral Introduction
Fourth Orchestral Introduction
Fifth Orchestral Introduction
The Entry of the Dancers
The Call of the Dancers
The Little Call
The Dance
The Second Dance
The Song
Preparation for the Councillors
The Councillors
The Drum Finale
The Orchestral Finale

Movements 1, 10 and 11 have no words to them.

1st Movement: Msitso, in five parts:
This ng’godo is unusual due to the five orchestral introductions Gomukomu created to show-off his flair as a composer.

2nd Movement: Ng’geniso, the Entry of the Dancers:

Sung’geta ng’guwo-o-o-o-o!
O we-e-e-e
Sung’geta ng’guwo!

Gird up your loins-o-o-o-o-o! (1)
O we-e-e-e
Gird up your loins!

3rd movement: Ndano, the Call of the Dancers:

Mahung’gwa a Filipe
Akuna bala ndwendwe
wasihora nana.

Mahung’gwa a Filipe
Akuna bala ndwendwe
wasihora nana.
Mahung’gwa a Filipe
Akutsamba kuwia nendwendwe!

Gomukomu mwana atu,
Vani votsile vacikona mwaya
ng’guvatu herande,

Gomukomu mwana atu,
Vani votsile vacikona mwaya
ng’guvatu herande
Guwotiswa ng’gwakoma!

Eyu wang’gani dayela Makomo
Wo homane nowusiko
amunu ecipeka nyiwo.

Eyu wang’gani dayela Makomo
Wo homane nowusiko
amunu ecipeka nyiwo
Unawona katevane acanawela
unagwita inkudawa.

Awe Lakeni woteka nemakanju ucatsimbisa.
Unagwita inkukudaya.

Awe Lakeni woteka nemakanju ucatsimbisa.
Unagwita inkukudaya.

Awe Lakeni, ntimang’gade lahle
Mwana Nyamandane watisa.

Awe Lakeni, ntimang’gade lahle
Mwana Nyamandane watisa.

Mahung’gwa a Filipe
Akuna bala ndwendwe
wasihora nana.

Mahung’gwa a Filipe
Akuna bala ndwendwe
wasihora nana.
Mahung’gwa a Filipe
Akutsamba kuwia nendwendwe!

It is Filipe’s opinion (2)
That the girls also should sign on
and go to the mines

It is Filipe’s opinion
That the girls also should sign on
and go to the mines.
It is Filipe’s opinion.
What a good idea!

Gomukomu our beloved,
No krall is a good krall unless it’s full of women: take your choice.

Gomukomu our beloved,
No krall is a good krall unless it’s full of women: take your choice.
Even Chief’s daughters say so! (3)

The one who killed Makomo
Will go out
and weep in the night. (4)

The one who killed Makomo
Will go out
and weep in the night.
He may even take another man’s wife
and so meet his death. (5)

You Lakeni, you refuse us
the cashew fruit.
You will be the death of us. (6)

You Lakeni, you refuse us
the cashew fruit.
You will be the death of us.

You Lakeni, you are as black as coal,
Son of Nyamandane, you are a terror!

You Lakeni, you are as black as coal,
Son of Nyamandane, you are a terror!

It is Filipe’s opinion
That the girls also should sign on
and go to the mines.

It is Filipe’s opinion
That the girls also should sign on
and go to the mines.
It is Filipe’s opinion.
What a good idea!

4th movement: Cidana Cacidoko, The Little Call:

Lavanani miciteng’gisa
Lavanani ncwakatano misitabwa
Ndano.

Lavanani miciteng’gisa
Lavanani ncwakatano misitabwa
Ndano.
Njane timbila mikone tsimba kusika takanane kwang’gu?

Njane timbila mikone tsimba kusika takanane kwang’gu?

Ha! Wieza sheng’getile shibando shaka sheng’getile
Cing’golela camaboi.

Ha! Wieza sheng’getile shibando shaka sheng’getile
Cing’golela camaboi.
Natanele konevune cilung’gu
utzumbelako ng’gukule.

Natanele konevune cilung’gu
utzumbelako ng’gukule.

Mang’ganakana ambane mahung’go
Awu vamombako valung’go,
tate wakwe kafuma.

Mang’ganakana ambane mahung’go
Awu vamombako valung’go,
tate wakwe kafuma.
Mafu kavabang’gane waCopi
malalane nimilaya!

Mafu kavabang’gane waCopi
malalane nimilaya!

Dikombo daKawane wang’gu cisihate
Mwanana wandoko acimaha noni mwananeyo wang’gu.

Dikombo daKawane wang’gu cisihate
Mwanana wandoko acimaha noni mwananeyo wang’gu.
Woteka nimasemba acatisvela
ukoma wapindu.

Woteka nimasemba acatisvela
ukoma wapindu.

Lavanani miciteng’gisa
Lavanani ncwakatano
misitabwa Ndano.

Come together and hear,
Come together with your wives and listen to Ndano.

Come together and hear,
Come together with your wives and listen to Ndano.
Don’t you want the new Timbila music I make from my heart?

Don’t you want the new Timbila music I make from my heart?

Ha! We quarrel again!
The same old trouble.
The older girls must pay taxes. (7)

Ha! We quarrel again!
The same old trouble.
The older girls must pay taxes. (8)
Natanele speak for me to the white man
to let me be. (9)

Natanele speak for me to the white man
to let me be.

You elders must discuss affairs.
The one whom the white men appointed was the son of a commoner. (10)

You elders must discuss affairs.
The one whom the white men appointed was the son of a commoner.
The Chopi not longer have the right to their own country, let me tell you!

The Chopi not longer have the right to their own country, let me tell you!

The sorrow of my Kawane, the mystery
Why your children all die,
yet you are still young. (11)

The sorrow of my Kawane, the mystery
Why your children all die,
yet you are still young.
Now you cease to bear and take the inheritance of your dead children.

Now you cease to bear and take the inheritance of your dead children.

Come together and hear,
Come together with your wives and listen to Ndano.

5th movement: Cibudu Coosinye, The Dance:

Nizambwa nyekile
Nizambwa nyekile gumwana wang’gu adi cilung’guni.
Acinitona necing’gwalang’gwanda ninya tumbwane nintona
Nizambwa nyekile.

I am most distressed, (12)
I am most distressed as my man has gone off to work,
And he does not leave me
clothes to wear,
Not even black cloth. (13)

6th movement: Cibudu Coosinye Kambe, the Second Dance:

Lavanani mootse miciteng’gisa tafaneyo Faife.
Lavanani mootse miciteng’gisa tafaneyo Faife.

Come, all of you and listen to the boy
Faife. (14)
Come, all of you and listen to the boy
Faife.

7th movement: Mzeno, The Song:

Hing’gane malala necimigela kupsuela kuhanya yeti mbang’go wamagermani.
Mahung’go aTsewane othwata nemwanana.

Waho wakwambe pekwa mpawa
guwakwane.
Matijawo kutilawe.
Bladifulu walung’gu
wacilwa
Fo nyawu ng’guni ruketela
Matijawa.

Kwalakanye Ng’guyusa mwana atu kwasika Timbila
Kanena mbaza yasika
timbila takutsamba
Timbila tona tisiya
nicama shamba.

Maho mamwane mabala solane awa vasikati wakuteka mbewu vaci shawa sopa!
Ng’guteka mbewu acining’gela kuseça…!
Hing’geng’gisela O…?
…magarashu maguuma!

Gutsiwelwa nzila guwakoma waZaline nevaNyabindini
hicacisekweni.
Filipe, mwana atu hedawisile
Ng’gung’gundwane.
Awo Manjeng’gwe hinang’go hayi makono
kaCumasi?
Dawoti nene acihilomba
ng’guCikome.

Kupekwa manzane niwakoma wantumanini hing’geng’gisela
Dizang’ga daJulai mweno kupeka
manmzani!
Kahena mbaza hicambala mabuluku.
Kwalakanya Julai ng’gufuma acinawaluta dibuku.
Julai akoveng’gela niwa wasikati.

Ukwela citiwela newakoma hing’gaboka
Sewe hicawomba wombe
Ng’gundawa yakuldya
vacihitsuralela
Hicama mana
maPortughezi
mamba makong’gu
ng’gudawa yakuldya
Ng’gundawa yakuldya
vacihitsuralela.

Hing’gane malala necimigela kupsuela kuhanya yeti mbang’go wamagermani.
Mahung’go aTsewane othwata nemwanana.

Be quiet while we older people
explain to you about the German war.
It is because Tsewane
has no children. (15)

Who would allow himself
to be smacked in the face?
Matijawo wouldn’t allow it. (16)
Thje bloody fools of white men are fighting.
Matijawo says they are like four-legged beasts.

Think about playing Timbila, Nguyusa,
my lad, (17)
Because I am not composing any new music for the Timbila just now.
I will have to leave my Timbila behind when I go to the farm.

There are women foolish enough to take grain from the bins to sell for beer!
To take corn and waste it on drink…!
Listen, oh…?
…the bottle is empty!

The way to the court is closed by the Chiefs, by the people of Zavala
and Nyabindini. (18)
Filipe, our child, Ngundundwane troubles us with his constant calling.
And you, Manjengwe, how shall we go to Chamusi?
Dawoti says we must go by way of Chikome.

Even Chiefs are beaten on the hands, you people of Wantuma, listen.
The arrogance of Julai in even beating the hands of Chiefs! (19)
We will not wear trousers any more. (20)
Julai imagines he has opened
a book. (21)
Julai spares not even women.

We got on the train
and arrived at Sewe, (22)
And when we spoke
about the matter of food,
About the matter of food,
they turned their backs.
We overheard the Portuguese
speaking about food,
Speaking about food
while their backs were turned.

Be quiet while we older people explain to you about the German war.
It is because Tsewane
has no children.

8th movement: Nsumeto Mabandla, Preparation for the Councillors:

Wuhokile impwebwe!
Wavawona wasikati vang’gweno
vasang’gile mbo vanda vakoma.

Cider time has come! (23)
So women today
favour the Chiefs!

9th movement: Mabandla, The Councillors:

O! Mata mazambi akubomba,
Mata mazambi akubomba ng’gu timbila.

Oh! Here come the fine young men,
The fine young men for dancing.

from Chopi Musicians,
by Hugh Tracey.
Oxford University Press, 1948


Footnotes

  1. This song is very brief because it is accompanied by the N’goma and Nzomo drums, which would drown out any further words. It is simply an injuction to the dancers to adjust their loin-cloths for dancing.
  2. A rueful joke about one of this ng’godo’s main themes, the taxation of women. Women occupying their own homes (“huts”), namely grown-up girls or second and third wives, were liable to the same hut tax as the men, but without the same means of paying it. For women to go to the mines would solve this problem, plus the problem of loneliness for wives whose husbands were absent for six months at a time.
  3. For Gomukomo to marry all these women would be a further solution!
  4. Makomo was Gomukomu’s grandfather, and orchestra leader in his time. His sudden death was never explained.
  5. That is, die taken in adultery.
  6. The same Lakeni, the officious court messenger, as in the 1940 ng’godo. Here he is enforcing the ban on cashew fruit, used for brewing kachasu, or cashew gin.
  7. Returning to one of this ng’godo’s main themes, the unfair taxation of women by the Portuguese. See note 2.
  8. Again highlighting one of this ng’godo’s main themes, the unfair taxation of women by the Portuguese. See note 2.
  9. Natanele worked for WENELA, the agency recruiting men for the mines. Gomukomu has no wish to be recruited.
  10. With the introduction of indirect rule, the Portuguese increasingly intervened in chiefly successions. Hugh Tracey suggests this is the same dispute as in Katini’s 1940 ng’godo (see footnote 12 to that ng’godo).
  11. Kavane is Gomukomu’s sister, one of the wives of Chief Filipe Banguza. None of her children has lived for more than a few weeks, a fate she must now accept.
  12. Continuing this ng’godo’s focus on women, Gomukomu presents the lament of a wife whose husband has gone off to work in the mines.
  13. The cheapest cloth, available from Indian stores, not necessarily for funerals.
  14. Faife is Gomukomu’s nephew, already an expert on the xylophone.
  15. Tsewane is a local prostitute over whom the young men have been fighting. The joke that this is what the English and Germans are fighting over introduces a mzeno full of humour.
  16. Matijawo is one of the dancers, a hefty six-foot youth, much too big to be ever challenged to a fight.
  17. Nguyusa is Gomukomu’s younger brother, who will have to be responsible for the Timbila while he himself goes to work in the banana plantations of the Nkomati valley. Despite footnote 9, Gomukomu has after all been recruited.
  18. A feud has broken out between the districts of Zavala (called Zaline in the original text) and Nyabindini. As a result, the roads are closed, meaning people cannot obey the summons of the administrator (Ngungundwane), nor get to the WENELA recruiting office at Chamusi. Dawoti, the clerk at Chamusi, says recruits must register instead at Chikome, but that is twenty miles off. Gomukomu appeals to Manjengwe, a fellow musician and the messenger at Zavala, to get the dispute settled.
  19. The complaint here echoes the Second Dance of Katini’s 1940 ng’godo (“Here is a mystery, the Portuguese beat us on the hands, / Both us and our wives”). Julai, a fellow Chopi, is the head sepoy who is authorised to administer corporal punishments, even to chiefs like Filipe Banguza.
  20. Meaning, we are no longer adults. This echoes the complaint in the Little Call, “The Chopi no longer have right to their own country”.
  21. The book is the census of villagers and tax payers, held at the administrator’s office. Julai imagines he has become an administrator. “Even women” echoes the complaint about the taxation of women.
  22. The incident described here occurred during the same state visit by Portuguese President Carmona which featured in the Mdano and Joosinya of Katini’s ng’godo of 1943. Katini describes the Portuguese being overwhelmed by the power of Chopi music. Gomukumo ripostes that, at a second performance at Sewe, near Inhambane, the musicians were treated with contempt.
  23. See footnote 6. Despite the restrictions, the women are brewing kachasu (“cider”), and inviting chiefs to their parties.