Zie Mwea (Natural Conditions)
Ancient Keyboard Music
of West Africa
Bernard Woma, Valerie Dee Naranjo, Barry
Music for Gyil, Kuar, Voices and
1. Pog Tona (hard working woman)
2. Dome Yang Mhaa (the enemy is happy) 6:19
3. Nifaa Mi Kpi (the bad person has died) 6:38
4. A Ni Been (the loner is thinking) 8:09
5. Milgala Mil Gongolo (if you gossip) 6:51
6. Kola Per Bir (cat and mouse) 1:19
7. A Ni Fa Bie (a bad persons child must also eat) 6:09
7. Yaa Yaa Kole (keep beggin baby) 6:01
8. Naamwin in Nu Tom (God has sent me) 8:40
POG TONA (hard-working woman) is a bagr binne
song: traditional music played, in past times, only during the initiation
of people into the Bagr religious practice. Later on this style was
adapted "for work and happiness." Often when people get
together to execute a community project, musicians are called in
to supply the happiness. Since colonial times bagr binne is played
by school children or teachers so that the students who have been
playing in the schoolyard can march into lines in order to proceed
to class in an orderly fashion. Here the women's chorus is reminiscent
of the gatherings of women who repair roofs, complete farming projects,
sew clothes, bake bread, and lately, run businesses, found schools
and the likecollectively. The song's title, "Pog Tona," means "hard-working
DOME YANG MHAA (the enemy is happy) is an
old funeral song played to announce the death and to honor a man
of leadership age. The vocal treatment show the styles connection
to popular music in the diaspora.
NIFAA NI KPI (the bad person has died) is
a composition "The person has died and his enemies become happy." If
someone in the community is fond of standing up for justice or speaking
the truth, and those around him do not like the truth, they will
delight at his passing.
A NI BEEN (the loner is thinking) "If
a person is alone thinking, he is either savoring his good fortune
or dreading his fate." The spirit behind an act is as important
as the action itself. This song has a prelude of voices without instruments,
since gyil music comes from the melodies that people sing.
MILGALA MIL GONGOLO (if you gossip) This
Bewa-style dance gives good common sense advice: "if you gossip
about others, you yourself will be the subject of vicious gossip."
KOLA PER BIR (cat and mouse) Sung without
instruments, this song is taken from an old gyil recreational song.
A NI FA BIE (a bad person's child must also
eat) is one of the Dagara people's important festival songs. "The
bad person's child must also eat."
YAA YAA KOLE (keep beggin' baby) is a recreational
song in the Bewa style, often danced all night during the full moon.
This one offers a bit of teasing: "If you ask a woman over and
over for her hand and she refuses, just keep begging. When she is
satisfied she will surely give in."
NAAMWIN NU TOM (god has sent me) composed
by Bernard Woma, talks about his God-given talent as a gyil player. "Fuu
saa tuur me." Even if you insult me, I will continue to play. "Naamwil
nu tome," God has sent me. "Kpulankyee na," it is
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