A Shona song, sung by women to accompany the stamping or pounding of maize into flour (see also Pounding Songs).
You who are at the men’s meeting place,
The amount of sadza in the hand should be fine…
A Kamba lullaby from Kenya for singing babies to sleep. The singer calls her child ‘Mama’ as a form of endearment by which a child is addressed as a parent.
Mama, child’s mother, don’t cry like a poor person.
You have come to me, you are crying more than I used to…
Many of the protest songs sung by the chiSena women of the Lower Zambesi region of Mozambique contain a short play, inserted into the song. A typical performance begins with the women standing in a circle, bending forward from the waist and clapping or clacking piece of wood or shaking tin machacha as accompaniment to the lead singer.
Ay — ay
Paiva’s the master…
A Hausa song from northern Nigeria. The singer is longing for a child. It is from an anthropological record of the Hausa people, partly compiled from an oral account given by Baba (1877–1951), the daughter of a Hausa farmer and Koranic teacher, and translated by May K. Smith.
May Allah give me a true friend whether he’s small or big,
Even an infant sucking at the breast, or one lying in the womb…
An Acoli girl’s love song from northern Uganda, collected and translated by the famous Ugandan poet Okot p’Bitek, author of Song of Lawino. It would be sung during the ortak or courtship dance.
Where has my love blown his horn?
The tune of his horn is well known…
Three Yoruba songs, sung by women supporters of the two parties in the Federal elections of 1959 in western Nigeria.
The palm tree grows in the far bush:
Nobody allows the leper to build his house in the town:
The palm tree grows in the far bush…
This site opens a window on something that will be new to most people, namely, the vast amount of superb poetry hidden away in the 3000 different languages spoken in Africa … More