A Kipsigi war song from Kenya. Though the song describes the army and its exploits, the purpose of the raid is to capture cattle, this time from the Masai (see also the Cattle Raid). The names in the song are of people and places.

Child’s mother oo wo ho
Child’s mother oo wo ho
Put the pot on the fire oo wo ho
Put the pot on the fire oo wo ho
The one which can hold a head oo wo ho
The army is going to war oo wo ho
The army is going to war oo wo ho
You don’t know where oo wo ho
The army is going to war oo wo ho
The army is going to war oo wo ho
To Mangorori oo wo ho
Oye leiyo oo wo ho
Oye leiyo oo wo ho
Arap Tombo oo wo ho
Arap Tombo oo wo ho
Repair the bridge oo wo ho
So the army may pass oo wo ho
Oye leiyo oo wo ho
Arap Mama oo wo ho
The army is going to war oo wo ho
The army is awake oo wo ho
The army is going to war oo wo ho
To capture the Kipsiyabe oo wo ho
Arap Tombo oo wo ho
Repair the bridge oo wo ho
So the cattle may pass oo wo ho
I praise those warriors oo wo ho
When there is a scare they kneel oo wo ho
Then leap up and bellow oo wo ho
Then leap up and bellow oo wo ho
Like the elephant oo wo ho
My brother’s wife oo wo ho
Pack the food in the war bag oo wo ho
The army is awake oo wo ho
The army is going to war oo wo ho
To kill the Masai oo wo ho
To kill the Masai oo wo ho
To drive the cattle oo wo ho
Which is dark brown oo wo ho
Which is brown oo wo ho
With a white tip of the tail oo wo ho
My brother’s wife oo wo ho
Sharpen the spear oo wo ho
Then rub it with fat oo wo ho
The army is going to war oo wo ho
You don’t know where oo wo ho
To Mangorori oo wo ho
To kill Jaluo oo wo ho
To capture cattle oo wo ho
Which are passing by oo wo ho
They ford oo wo ho
The wide Kipranye oo wo ho (1)
The army has gone oo wo ho
To Mangorori oo wo ho
Through the rocky gorge oo wo ho
To kill Mayo oo wo ho
Oye leiyo oo wo ho
Oye leiyo oo wo ho
Oye leiyo oo wo ho
Oye leiyo oo wo ho

from Social Institutions of the Kipsigis
trans. by J.G. Peristiany


Footnotes

  1. Kipranye is a river.