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Re: Fanga Lyric Interpretation?

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  • bones45991@aol.com
    Unfortunately the Olatunji Songbook only has the first verse and no English interpretation of the song. However, Baba says on a live recording from the
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 31, 2006
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      Unfortunately the "Olatunji Songbook" only has the first verse and no
      English interpretation of the song. However, Baba says on a live recording from the
      Starwood, that what he read (he doesn't list the source) was that, and I
      loosely quote,
      "...the last time this song was performed was in 1875 in Liberia when Captain
      Clapitane was sent to look for the source of the river Niger. And from that
      river was where they got the name 'Nigeria'. When he got to the capital of
      Liberia they did this welcome dance. It was the first time they saw anybody coming
      from another part of the world, so they say "We welcome you from the bottom
      of our hearts with open hands, and without weapons. We welcome you, even Mother
      Earth on which we all stand, she too will welcome you. Whether you are from
      the East, West, North or South, we welcome you to this wonderful place." And so
      they say "Fanga ah lafiya, ashe' ashe'..." (end loose quote)
      And then they go directly into the song.

      So this doesn't give a direct translation of the song lyrics but it is
      interesting enough to share what Baba had said about the meaning behind the song.

      I'm not sure about the language either as most of the words are not in my
      "How to Speak Yoruba" book, although it's not a full blown Yoruba dictionary
      either so who knows...

      Hope this helps.
      Peace,
      Dan E.
      St. Paul, MN, uSA
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "Antonio likes cheese." Matt B. ;-)
    • djembesilo
      Hi R, ... The rhythm is indeed of Liberian origin, from the Kpelle people, I think, but possibly also Vai. The song, which is not fAnga , but fUnga , is
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 31, 2006
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        Hi R,

        > Fanga/Funga is a song that has dubious origins. Some say it is
        > from Liberia and is in the Vai language others say its in Yoruba.
        > Some of the words below are indeed of Yoruban origin.

        The rhythm is indeed of Liberian origin, from the Kpelle people, I
        think, but possibly also Vai. The song, which is not 'fAnga', but
        'fUnga', is 100% Yoruba. It was one of Baba Olatunji's favourites,
        which he used to tell a really cool story for.

        The song and rhythm are not related in any way, but go together nicely.

        > I've "No clue" about the meaning of "Ikabo" however.

        Some thoughts:
        ikà + bó = to escape cruel intentions
        ika + bò = to cover a knife (symbolic for making peace)
        i + kà + bo = he/she/it recites (Edu) scripture

        May I suggest you ask this question on the following Usenet newsgroups
        (News reader required. Outlook Express has this built in):

        alt.religion.orisha
        soc.culture.african.yoruba
        alt.hipclone.culture.african.yoruba
        soc.culture.nigeria

        And/or try these groups:
        Yoruba (Google group)
        http://groups.google.com.au/group/Yoruba?lnk=gschg&hl=en

        Yoruba groups at Yahoo
        http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/dir/Cultures___Community/By_Language/Yoruba?st=0

        Words change according to context, as I'm sure we can all relate to.
        So I'm sure if you post the lyrics "wholus-bolus", we would get a
        better understanding.

        Drew
      • Taiwo Adelaja
        I believe ikabo is a corruption of the Yoruba contraction ekabo ( e ku abo)...meaning welcome . Hope this helps. Cheers, Tai
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 1, 2006
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          I believe "ikabo" is a corruption of the Yoruba contraction "ekabo" ( e ku
          abo)...meaning "welcome".

          Hope this helps.

          Cheers,
          Tai
          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
          Reverend R Clark writes:
          I've "No clue" about the meaning of "Ikabo" however.

          Drew AKA "djembesilo" <drumpower@...> replies:
          Some thoughts:
          ik� + b� = to escape cruel intentions
          ika + b� = to cover a knife (symbolic for making peace)
          i + k� + bo = he/she/it recites (Edu) scripture
        • Rfuaw Diarra
          Yes, this is what I was taught also. During the life and time of Pearl Primus. Way back in the day when tradional songs and dances were the bomb. The
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 1, 2006
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            Yes, this is what I was taught also. During the life and time of Pearl Primus. Way back in the day when tradional songs and dances were the bomb. The description is what I was taught. Also Pearl Primus was the first teacher to bring this dance to America. My elder sister was taught Funga by Pearl Primus. Thank you for bringing back the memories of the good ole days.
            Peace, Love and Mnay Blessings,
            Rfuaw

            bones45991@... wrote:
            Unfortunately the "Olatunji Songbook" only has the first verse and no
            English interpretation of the song. However, Baba says on a live recording from the
            Starwood, that what he read (he doesn't list the source) was that, and I
            loosely quote,
            "...the last time this song was performed was in 1875 in Liberia when Captain
            Clapitane was sent to look for the source of the river Niger. And from that
            river was where they got the name 'Nigeria'. When he got to the capital of
            Liberia they did this welcome dance. It was the first time they saw anybody coming
            from another part of the world, so they say "We welcome you from the bottom
            of our hearts with open hands, and without weapons. We welcome you, even Mother
            Earth on which we all stand, she too will welcome you. Whether you are from
            the East, West, North or South, we welcome you to this wonderful place." And so
            they say "Fanga ah lafiya, ashe' ashe'..." (end loose quote)
            And then they go directly into the song.

            So this doesn't give a direct translation of the song lyrics but it is
            interesting enough to share what Baba had said about the meaning behind the song.

            I'm not sure about the language either as most of the words are not in my
            "How to Speak Yoruba" book, although it's not a full blown Yoruba dictionary
            either so who knows...

            Hope this helps.
            Peace,
            Dan E.
            St. Paul, MN, uSA
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "Antonio likes cheese." Matt B. ;-)
          • djembesilo
            ... Yes, that would certainly fit the context/meaning of the song/dance. It s probably spelled as ikabo because of a spelling error in the transcription,
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 1, 2006
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              --- In djembe-l@yahoogroups.com, "Taiwo Adelaja" <taiadelaja@...> wrote:
              > I believe "ikabo" is a corruption of the Yoruba contraction
              > "ekabo"... meaning "welcome".

              Yes, that would certainly fit the context/meaning of the song/dance.
              It's probably spelled as "ikabo" because of a spelling error in the
              transcription, although 'ika bò' (meaning peace) is still possible.
              There were other errors of that nature in the book. For instance, in
              the Fanga entry, Cpt Hugh Clapperton's name is spelled "Clapitaine".
              The dance movements look like pulling bits of meat out of a pot.
              According to Olatunji, Clapperton's crew misunderstood the gestures of
              the dance, thought they were going to get cooked and eaten, and got
              out of there real fast!

              Drew
            • Adam Klein
              Something I thought I should share about Funga which I heard from Mohamed da Costa. There s this song called Little Liza Jane from the African-American folk
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 1, 2006
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                Something I thought I should share about Funga which I heard from
                Mohamed da Costa.

                There's this song called Little Liza Jane from the African-American
                folk song tradition, played by Preservation Hall Jazz Band and
                various Appalachian groups from time to time including by me, and
                when we were jamming at the Borenya festival in '04 we were trading
                songs, and I started singing Liza Jane which went well with that
                particular rhythm, and thet Mohamed started singing Fanga along with
                it. It's almost the same tune. Mohamed told me afterward that he had
                heard that Liza Jane was brought to Africa by some American music
                group on a tour or exchange program, and the Africans took the tune
                and put the Fanga words to it.

                But of course if OAlatunji says it was first sung in 1875, that would
                have had to be a very early American Music Exchange program!

                Anyway, that's what I heard. Liza Jane is not about welcome, it's
                pretty much a song purely for the fun of call and answer.

                AK
              • Bill Matney
                Hello Adam, I was at Borenya in 04. I very much remember you two singing those songs together. However, I missed Mohammed s story. Thanks for sharing that.
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 1, 2006
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                  Hello Adam,

                  I was at Borenya in '04. I very much remember you two singing those songs together.
                  However, I missed Mohammed's story. Thanks for sharing that.

                  Bill


                  --- In djembe-l@yahoogroups.com, Adam Klein <adamcjklein@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Something I thought I should share about Funga which I heard from
                  > Mohamed da Costa.
                  >
                  > There's this song called Little Liza Jane from the African-American
                  > folk song tradition, played by Preservation Hall Jazz Band and
                  > various Appalachian groups from time to time including by me, and
                  > when we were jamming at the Borenya festival in '04 we were trading
                  > songs, and I started singing Liza Jane which went well with that
                  > particular rhythm, and thet Mohamed started singing Fanga along with
                  > it. It's almost the same tune. Mohamed told me afterward that he had
                  > heard that Liza Jane was brought to Africa by some American music
                  > group on a tour or exchange program, and the Africans took the tune
                  > and put the Fanga words to it.
                  >
                  > But of course if OAlatunji says it was first sung in 1875, that would
                  > have had to be a very early American Music Exchange program!
                  >
                  > Anyway, that's what I heard. Liza Jane is not about welcome, it's
                  > pretty much a song purely for the fun of call and answer.
                  >
                  > AK
                  >
                • mwjones@aol.com
                  I am going to be in Detroit a few days and was wondering if there is a drum or dance class happening on Monday or Tuesday night? Please respond off-list.
                  Message 8 of 10 , Aug 6, 2006
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                    I am going to be in Detroit a few days and was wondering if there is a drum or dance class happening on Monday or Tuesday night? Please respond off-list.

                    Thanks in advance,
                    Mike (from Eugene, OR)
                  • HappyShel Weisman
                    ... dance and drum teachers on site. Here s Detroit Dance info that we have: http://djembelfaq.drums.org/african_dance.htm#MI Drum Teachers:
                    Message 9 of 10 , Aug 6, 2006
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                      Hey Mike, et al:

                      : As a suggestion, always check out our Djembe-L FAQ as it has lots of
                      dance and drum teachers on site.

                      Here's Detroit Dance info that we have:

                      http://djembelfaq.drums.org/african_dance.htm#MI

                      Drum Teachers: http://djembelfaq.drums.org/MI_teachers.htm

                      Peace,
                      HappyShel
                      Djembe-L Webmaster
                      happy@...



                      On Sun, 06 Aug 2006 12:06:03 -0400 mwjones@... writes:
                      > I am going to be in Detroit a few days and was wondering if there is
                      > a drum or dance class happening on Monday or Tuesday night? Please
                      > respond off-list.
                      >
                      > Thanks in advance,
                      > Mike (from Eugene, OR)
                      >
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