Trevor Wiggins Ghana Music Collection

Bewaa songs: Joseph Kobom and Trevor Wiggins

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  • Recording date

    1994-10-14; 1994-10-1; 1994-10-14

  • Is part of (Collection)

    Trevor Wiggins Ghanaian Music Collection

  • Recording locations


  • Performers

    Kobom, Joseph (xylophone), Wiggins, Trevor (percussion)

  • Recordist

    Wiggins, Trevor

  • Abstract

    (60) Nandomme devieli dem. Lit: The Nandom people, the good dancers are coming The Nandom people, they are coming. Meaning: The beautiful music and dances of the Nandom people. Notes: Composed by Bangni Dong in the early 1960's. The Sekpere group would always sing this as they approached the place where they were to perform to reassure people of their intent and announce their arrival; + Kpere bandazuzie (dance). Dagaare: Kpere bandazuzie (dance). Lit: Shake your head, [name of the lizard]. Meaning: Stand and dance like the lizard Notes: Fast bewaa. A dance section which can be used with a number of songs e.g. Sebro bambala wele. The words would not be sung as the gyil player would improvise around the tune while everyone danced. Composed during 1960's.(61) Pataasi nyuure fu na yinbiekang yangme wahala. Lit: Alchohol drunkard one day you will bring me trouble. Meaning: If you drink too much you will bring trouble to your family after your death. Notes: Written by the Nandom group in the early 1960's. One of the group, Alissi, would always get drunk on akpeteshie before a performance so the group had to guard him to keep him from drinking when a performance was coming. The song was written to warn him about his behaviour. This song was also performed for Queen Elizabeth when she visited Ghana (1961); (62) Waale be kuor e yel a saa o kuor. Lit: Waala man doesn't farm, and telling father to farm. Meaning: The Waala man is lazy and tells his father to go and farm in his place. Notes: This song comes from the Nandom area and dates from the early 1950's when the Waale people were beginning to settle in the Nandom area. (63) Kogledem bale nu wo zangkpana. Lit: Kogle the small dog is having spots in the skin. Meaning: A man in Kogle had a young dog which had an infection which caused spots/boils in its skin. Since it is believed that this could be caught by people, the song is interpreted as a warning not to go there. Notes: Written by Ambaa during the early 1960's. A friend of his in Kogle had a young dog and was not looking after it properly. Ambaa wrote the song to get him to change his ways and it worked. (64) Kyonkyolo nuor karakye pog.Lit: Long mouth, educated persons wives OR Long mouth, long mouth you are talking about me. Meaning: Teachers' or educated peoples' wives have long mouths i.e. they gossip a lot. Notes: Dates from around 1948. An educated woman had a husband who she thought was seeing another girl too much. The girl was part of the Nandom group and they were concerned that her actions were causing arguments and jealosy. The song was written to warn her off by pointing out that the teacher could gossip about her a lot and spoil her reputation (65) Vielu daa na Nandomme mi nyu, akuraku. Lit: Very good pito Nandom people drink, wonderful, The rainwater comes, comes, comes and turns to pito then we drink, wonderful. Meaning: Self evident! Notes: Not composed by Nandom people! Composed in the early 1960's by people from Tuoper who always enjoyed the Nandom pito when they came to the town. Although akuraku does mean "wonderful" its precise meaning is also "I'm surprised its so good!" + Doo dem nu lo kele yaw[ere] (dance).Lit: Very good pito Nandom people drink, wonderful, The rainwater comes, comes, comes and turns to pito then we drink, wonderful. Meaning: Self evident! Notes: Not composed by Nandom people! Composed in the early 1960's by people from Tuoper who always enjoyed the Nandom pito when they came to the town. Although akuraku does mean "wonderful" its precise meaning is also "I'm surprised its so good!" (66) Fra-fra woe ko simie yang baa. Lit: The Fra-fra, joke, farms groundnuts, gives to the dog (repeated). Gives to the dog, now the dog doesn't bite. Meaning: This is a joke (woi) at the expense of the Fra-fra who are so stupid they farm groundnuts to feed the dog, then the dog doesn't bite. Notes: There was a Fra-fra man who lived in Nandom during Polkuu's time whose dog would eat groundnuts. The song was written because the Fra-fra and the Dagara are always joking with each other. The Dagara thought that you couldn't give groundnuts to a guard dog otherwise it wouldn't do its job. You must give it some real food - like TZ. The song was written by Saala who is now dead. Saala also composed Kolaperbir. (67) Langme nye bong kuu buole biir be wa. Lit: The Sisaala have seen dead donkey, calling the children should come. Meaning: The Sisaala eat donkey (the Dagara don't). When a donkey died in the Sisaala village the man called to the children to come and see the food. Notes: Another example of intertribal understanding - a joke at the expense of the Sisaala. Pun on the use of the word "beɛwaa". Old style of bewaa music, dating from the early 1950's. Composed by Sangnuo Borro from the old chief's palace who was also a butcher. This style of bewaa can also be used without xylophones to dance Kpaa ngmaa. (68) Nandomme Naa yela ye maali, maali, maali. Lit: The Nandom Naa is saying come together, come together, come together. It is good to unite together and contribute to build up the place. Meaning: The chief of Nandom has called on people to come together to build. Notes: Written by the Nandom Sekpere group to publicise the advice which Polkkuu was always giving. (69) Sebro bambala wele. Lit: Dancing they blow the big flute, dancing chief has not come. Meaning: The large flute (wele) has sounded, but the the chief dancer has not come. Notes: Composed by Mamaa Borro who was as the time, the chief for the youth of Nandom in the late 1950's. Mamaa Borro died over 30 years ago. (70) Puo yele yee nie kung bang. Lit: Your secret within you, nobody would know. Meaning: If you keep your secrets to yourself other people can't know them. Notes: A song from Jirapa. (71) Pogle na bang a kyenfo. Lit: A girl should know how to move (cook) The first beans have come (Ganda's grandson come and see the soup is done) I advise you to move (cook). Meaning: A girl should know how to move. If you come late you will miss the soup made with the first beans. Don't move with bad friends and become like a prostitute. Notes: Sounds very like Kpere bandazuzie, but is a song. Composed by Bangnido during the early 1960's. (72) Timbe lagne, timbe lagne yee. Lit: I won't pair with you, I won't pair with you, no. Woman who will not go for water. Meaning: We will not cooperate or work together. You will not do your fair share. Notes: The second part of the song plus a ho-ho-ya-ho response is also used separately. Written by the Nandom group according to Bangnido. Nandom wanted its own administration district separate from Lawra to whom they were joined at the time, but you can't say that directly in song. So the song was composed about 2 wives not wanting to share a husband, but intending a wider meaning. The song continues to be apposite to the chieftaincy dispute in Nandom etc. (73) Samari be de kobo. ?Hausa: Weniafi, weniafi, samari be de kobo. Lit: Someone has more than you, (repeat), you don't have any pennies. Meaning: The young man has no money, so don't marry him. Notes: This is an old song with the words in Hausa. Kobo is an old word for pennies. This song is also widely known e.g. in Accra and appears in bɛwaa so that the Hausa people will have something they recognise in a bɛwaa performance. 1/11/94: (74) Maa be bobr a pogli per kpagr kulu. Lit: I don't like the girl's fat buttocks, she is lazy. or I don't like a girl who washes her legs and sits down. I want one who will fetch water for the house. or I don't like the girl who goes from place to place, place to place, that sort of a girl is a betrayer (gossiper). Notes: Second version composed by Maabeniakuu during Nkrumah's time. First version, no details. Third version from Bangnido. (75) Pogkuor buolini zimaani aa-nng. Lit: Unmarried woman that you call when the sun is down, I'm happy. Meaning: If you want to spend time with an unmarried woman you must call her in the evening when she has finished her work and can spend time with you. Notes: Old song. Composed by Kyella Antare from Antare house, who died many years ago. The boys in the Sekpere group used to call out to their girlfriends when they finished work etc. and Kyella brought this song out at the end of one rehearsal, much to their amusement. (76) Katarima kyen bekuone yir o paar ti leb. Lit: Katarima [woman's name] went to bekuorne clan, her vagina was hit and instead of blood the dregs of pito came. Someone's son (who tested her found she was not sweet and sent her away) OR (tried to put it back but you can't do it except by magic) Go home Katarima, go straight home. Meaning: Katarima is a well-known woman from the chief's clan. She was flirting too much and behaving like a prostitute so the song was composed to bring her down a bit. The song is implying that she is like the last dregs of pito making (zamakuo) - anyone can have it or pour it away. Notes: Sung around early part of 1960's. Composed by the Nandom group. The essential word in this was changed for some public performances from paar(vagina) to kpaa(back of the head). At least 2 versions of the song (alternative in brackets). (77) Kurema woe, Kurema woe be dang be yel fo. Lit: Kurema [woman's name] advice, didn't we tell you (repeated). Serious advice, didn't we tell you. Zietuo [man's name] is calling his wife to come and take a calabash of pito. Meaning: Kurema liked people to buy her free pito whenever she could get it. Zietuo called to his wife to take pito and Kurema thought she was being called, but was sent away empty- handed and very disappointed. Notes: Old song from Guo. Kurema was the wife of one of Maabeniakuu's senior brothers in the Bekuone family, but it was during his early childhood (1940's) so he does not remember any more details. (78) Be dug nye, be dug nye, Kuuri na bire. Lit: Boil try, boil try [if] The stone is done. Meaning: If you want to try your strength with me, try cooking a stone first. If you succeed in that you will be able to beat me.Notes: Campaign song written by Thomas Kerinkay for Nkrumah's election campaign around 1963/4. (79) Nkrumah nu maali Ghana. Lit: Nkrumah he has unified Ghana (rpt) Another person wants to challenge? Meaning: Anyone who wants to challenge Nkrumah's government, try it and see! Notes: Written by the Nandom group for Nkrumah c.1963/4. According to Bangnido, written by Thomas Kerinkay during the time that Termare was District Commissioner.(80) Zong be nyere e kyen Nandom daa ti yaa sense zini kpolakpola. Lit: The blind man cannot see walked Nandom market, bought bean cakes, sat down and ate them. Meaning: People were very surprised when a blind man walked round the market, bought food and ate it without any help. Notes: Old song dating from the early 1950's. Also performed by the Diebougou group(D5/5) with the name of the place changed to Zamboi (a village between Lawra and the Black Volta). (81) Zong be nyere yee e kye nyuur pataasi. Lit: Blind person who cannot see, drink alchohol, even you, blind person who cannot see, drink what is in the bottle. Meaning: If you are blind you should not drink alchohol. Cut your coat according to your size. Notes: Old song, 1950's. Composed by Sangnuo Borro. 9/11/94: (82) Poglinokpagr nu wo zangkpana, wo zangkpana. Lit: A girl who argues has spots on her skin, spots on her skin (repeated). Your forehead long, long, long, long end of the forehead. Meaning: A girl would not take the advice she was offered, she always argued. When she developed a skin rash she was insulted for it, together with her long forehead. Notes: 1960's. The idea for the song came from Bangnido and Ambaa contributed the tune. During the group's journeys to different places the boys and girls would be mocking each other. This song was the result. + Tag yi e kye wa (dance). Lit: Go forward then come back. Meaning: The girl should give me space to dance Notes: Fast bewaa. Can go with e.g. Sebro bambala wele (83) Fu na be ter bagngman kuora, e bobr a pogbe. Lit: You don't have strong arms to farm, and you are looking for women,(repeated), looking for women, when women come. What will you do? Meaning: You are not strong enough to farm, so how can you support a wife. Notes: 1970's from Tuoper. + Kokoguule pole na nye Naangmin zo gori e wa(dance). Lit: Kokoguule young boys have seen God, run round and come back. Notes: Fast bewaa. Can go with e.g. Puo yele yee nie kung bang (84) Pogle na wa (dance). Lit: The woman has come. Notes: Fast bewaa. Goes with Pɔgle na bang a kyenfo or Pogbe yaga Nandom daa puo (85) Pogle na tag yi be (dance). Lit: The girl should get away from the line. Meaning: The girl should move away from the line of dancers and give the men room to dance. Notes: Fast bewa. Can be used for e.g. Sebro bambala wele or Nandomme devieɛli dem. (86) Pogle na yag[yeow] e ber me (dance). Lit: The girl should jump and leave me. Meaning: The girls should jump and leave the boys down in the dance. Notes: Fast bewaa. Can go with e.g. Nandomme devieli dem.

  • Description

    Bewaa songs for gyil and kpagru, played by Kobom and Trevor Wiggins.

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