African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Shona (Page 2 of 2)

Riddles – The little boy blows his trumpet with his chest thrown out

Kakomana kanoridza mumhanzi kakafenegera
The little boy blows his trumpet with his chest thrown out.

The Mbira-Player

A Shona song from Zimbabwe, praising the Mbira-player for his musicianship. The Mbira, which is sometimes called a hand-piano, is described in Lines 24-29. It has two (sometimes three) keyboards, made of metal strips, which are plucked with the thumbs, and it is set in a hollow gourd to increase the resonance. The gourd is decorated with shells, which rattle to provide a rhythmic accompaniment. It is a versatile instrument, offering the player and singer a great range of effects. In this song, the words ‘Expert With The Rattling Shells’, ‘The Mbira-Shatterer’, ‘He Who Makes The Mbira Resound’, etc, are all praise-names.

Strike the Mbira, Expert With The Rattling Shells!
It is he The Mbira-Shatterer of whom you hear nothing but praise,

The Boast of the Good Farmer

A Shona poem from Zimbabwe, recited by the farmer himself at a beer party given for his friends to celebrate his harvest. The poem ends with a well-known song in which everybody joined.

I have ploughed and I have sweated,
And now I am enjoying my crops, my friends,

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African Poems