About the song
This is a song from Namibia in south west Africa. In Camden we learned it from Gitika Partington who taught it at our Royal Albert Hall Festival in 2002. It’s a traditional song and we think it is a song that would be sung at weddings and is all to do with getting the housework done. If anyone is able to give us more information, please do get in touch.
The song is in the Oshiwambo language which is spoken in the north of Namibia up near Angola.
Here’s a link to someone who can help you learn a bit more of the language.
As you can see on the map, Namibia is a bit of an odd shape with a long 280 mile strip protruding from the north east corner. This is called the Caprivi strip. Can the you find out why it’s there?
Learning the song
Here are some links to some sheet music and recordings to help you learn the song. The arrangement is for two voices, percussion, guitar and recorder. Use any or all of these resources as appropriate and useful.
It’s important to feel the underlying pulse of this song and to “sit back” on the syncopated rhythms – don’t let them rush. Move to the pulse – step it – use claps or chest taps – or all three.
Voice 1 is the main tune and Voice 2 is a simple, lower, harmony part which uses the same rhythm, following the contour of the melody. The key to getting the lower harmony correct is staying on the same note at the beginning.
If and when we sing this song as part of a sharing festival, we will work out a simple arrangement so we’re all doing the same thing. For the moment, learn both parts and you can devise your own arrangement.
The everlasting accompaniment is just that – it keeps cycling through the song and will be useful if you are making up untuned percussion or body percussion parts. If you are able to play your recorder or guitar along to the song, this track will also be useful to practice along to.