Issue 29: Funmje Alafia

This is traditional Yoruba song. You can find many versions of it on YouTube, and it is also in the OUP song book “Young Voiceworks” by Jo McNally. It is a welcome song, about offering happiness.

(The Voiceworks series of songbooks from OUP is one of my main singing resources – photocopiable pages, lots of ideas, information and teaching tips, excellent CDs, and “Young Voiceworks” is particularly useful for instrumental as well as singing lessons)  

If this song belongs to your tradition, and I am mangling the words, pronunciation or melody that you are familiar with, I apologise now! You can find a long and detailed discussion of the song, its origins, selection of performances at the blog;

http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/11/real-history-of-funga-alafia-fanga-song.html

Anyway – here is the version of the song that I am most familiar with:

On some YouTube videos the melody of the second bar is “GG E D”. For me, the big advantage of “my” version is that it can be accompanied on a guitar or ukulele or whatever by a single chord (you might find F more comfortable on a ukulele).

The last bar makes an effective ostinato accompaniment.

The other great thing about this song is that it exactly fits a djembe rhythm which is a simplified version of “Kuku”.  I have spent most of this term teaching the djembe parts and building up a performance of “Kuku”. Adding this song has been the exact finishing touch that I wanted.

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