Issue 29: Senwa Dedende

I have found this song in various books, including the Kodaly book “How Can I Keep from Singing”. It is also on the singup website at

This is a lovely song, and works very well as a round – listen to how they do it on singup for inspiration. I understand that it is part of a long call and response song about a mother vulture calling her husband home for his meal.

Here is my version, where the caller makes up lines about calling the vulture home, and the class responds using the phrases of the song. It is based on what I can remember from a Ghanaian djembe teacher sang to us, several years ago. I expect it is not very authentic, but if “Frere Jacques” can turn into “I hear thunder” in England, and “Two Old Tigers” in Chinese, then hopefully I can be allowed to use Senwa dedende as a starting point for call and response improvisation. The class thoroughly enjoyed thinking up suitable food to entice Mr Vulture home for his dinner, and I was encouraged by the number of children prepared to sing out in front of everyone.

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