Can Anyone Help with the Song “Tue Tue” from Ghana?

Lynn Egerton wrote:

I want some info about the song “Tue Tue” from Ghana. All we can find online is that it is about being thankful for the harvest. Does anyone know the exact translation for the text “tue tue barima”, and “abofra ba ama dawa dawa”?

Here are the lyrics put together…

Tue tue, barima tue tue
Tue tue, barima tue tue
Abofra ba ama dawa dawa
Tue tue
Abofra ba ama dawa dawa
Tue tue
Barima tue tue
Barima tue tue
Barima tue tue
Barima tue tue
Barima tue tue
Barima tue tue

If anyone can help with the translation of this song, if you can identify the language, and/or provide the tune, please let us know in the comments below or by emailing my at lisa@mamalisa.com .

Thanks!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Saturday, February 20th, 2010 at 11:17 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Ghana, Ghanaian Children's Songs, Languages, Mama Lisa, Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

20 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with the Song “Tue Tue” from Ghana?”

  1. Lisa Says:

    There are conflicting reports about what this song means.

    One site says it’s a nonsense song.

    Another says it’s about a little girl selling rice cakes at the marketplace.

    A Catalan site gives this translation:

    Barima fa el dinar. – Barima cooks (makes) lunch
    Abofra ba li porta espècies perquè sigui mes bo. -Abofra brings her spices to make it taste better / so that it’d be better.

    Help!

  2. mawuli Says:

    My dear, l am a ghanaian from the EWE tribe of Ghana.and your request is an ASHANTI language which l speak very well.
    the right sentence will be/—- DUE DUE BARIMA DUE DUE
    ABOFRA BA AMA WA DA WA
    DUE DUE .
    Simply means SORRY SENIOR MAN SORRY, THIS SMALL BOY HAD MADE YOU FALLEN FLAT SORRY SORRY.
    1.DUE DUE means sorry sorry
    2.BARIMA means a man/young man/boy–(simply a male.
    3.ABOFRA BA means a young boy/young girl.
    4.AMA WA DA WAA means you have fallen flat or helpless.
    And if you want more Ghanaian musics then try these sites 1.Ghanamv 2.Ghanaexpo 3.kokorooko.com

  3. Jaden Says:

    Tue Tue barima tue(call)
    Tue Tue barima tue(response)
    Abofraba amadawadawa Tue Tue(call)
    Abofraba amadawadawa Tue Tue(response)
    barima tue tue(call)
    barima tue tue(response)
    All over again
    except when you do it again you scream tue TUE!

  4. JULIA GAUL Says:

    The lyrics that you have are correct. This was a song taught in my Music Express Mag last year and it is a song about harvest. My magazine interpreted this Fanti Lyric.(as published by Hal Leonard and John Higgins)
    We are thankful for our harvest
    Do you want to go on down to Ghana?
    Do you want to come?
    We will sing this happy song as we travel.
    I hope this helps!

  5. Louis Says:

    I will say they teach me the song, but it’s not that one, I think is this:

    Twe Twe, Barima Twe Twe,
    Twe Twe, Barima Twe Twe,
    A bofra ba Ama dawe dawe twe twe,
    A bofra ba Ama dawe dawe dawe dawe,
    Ai Barima Twe Twe, Ai Barima,
    Ai Barima Twe Twe, Ai Barima,

    I will add that the teacher told me that this song is an African song, when the African Slaves work on the farmlands as they couldn’t talk between each other, (they have it prohibited or they torture them) they made sounds with tools or their mouth, abnd putting them together thats how it sounds like. As the Slaves were very far away from each other, only a little sound was heard, and between them hearing the sounds, all started making sounds and a song, that is was like kind of funny for them and all sounds can be mixed and make a nice song. Also the sounds changed day by day making remixes or difference in the original song.

    I hope this was usefull for you and many other persons.
    Best Regards from outer this country (USA)…

    R. Metal :)

  6. Karen Says:

    I was told by an Ewe man from Togo that this is indeed a nonsense song … a palago children’s clapping song. The lyrics, he translated, were Food, Food (adult implied) bring me food, food. Tuwe Tuwe Barima Tuwe Tuwe. Other lyrics are added or changed everywhere it is sung. Palago Songs are of a certain rhythm structure but the lyrics change from place to place…village to village.

  7. Tano Chtina Says:

    Im from a tribe in Ghana called the EWE tribe the translation is simple

    The lyrics that you have are correct. This was a song taught in my Music Express Mag last year and it is a song about harvest. My magazine interpreted this Fanti Lyric.(as published by Hal Leonard and John Higgins)
    We are thankful for our harvest
    Do you want to go on down to Ghana?
    Do you want to come?
    We will sing this happy song as we travel.
    I hope this helps!

  8. ria Says:

    Hello.. Im ms. Ria. A music teacher from Philippines.. Im just curious about the song “tue tue” from africa.. actually the song is lively and i want to know more about the true meaning and interpretation of the song.. as i read the messages written above it seems that it is a occupational song and always accompanied by clapping of the hands and tapping of drums with the use of bare hands.

    love to hear the song.. thanks..!!

  9. Lucas Duarte Says:

    Hello, here in my country we use the music ter, ter in youth ministry (only A group of young people who meet weekly to hear the word of God and discuss issues of society – the Catholic Church) … and here we usually use this song to start the meeting, because they say that in Africa we sing this song as a sign of “Welcome”.

    Goodbye (I loved the blog)

    (BRAZIL)
    (Translated by Google Translate)

  10. Gabi Says:

    When I got the song,it said it was a circle dance song.there is also more to the song,but it might only be my version. The translation was,celebrate, come and sing, come and dance, on this new day.

  11. Lisa McMaster Says:

    We have the notes here in Iceland for this song – just wondering how I attach them!
    

  12. Lisa Says:

    You can email them to me and I can fix the text so the computer can understand it. My email is lisa@mamalisa.com Thanks in advance!

  13. Samantha Says:

    Hello. About four years ago I sang this song in my choir class, and I remember it going :
    Tue tue barima tue tue
    Tue tue barima tue tue
    Abofra ba Ama da wa da wa
    Tue tue
    Abofra ba Ama da wa da wa
    Tue TUE! Ai! Barima
    Tue TUE! Ai! Barima
    Tue tue.

    Come and sing (come and sing, join us as we sing)
    Come and sing (come join us as we sing)
    Come dance along ohhh come dance along
    Come sing a song ohhh come sing a song
    Come on, and join us all together, come celebrate.
    Come on, and join us all together, on this new day .

    Ai! (ohhh on this new day)
    Ai! (ohhh on this new day)

    Come and sing (come and sing, join us as we sing)
    Come and sing (come join us as we sing)

    Tue tue barima tue tue
    Tue tue barima tue tue
    Abofra ba Ama da wa da wa
    Tue tue
    Abofra ba Ama da wa da wa
    Tue TUE! Ai! Barima
    Tue TUE! Ai! Barima
    Tue tue. {x2}

    Come and sing (come and sing, join us as we sing)
    On this day! Ai!

    -this is how I remember the song, not sure if it will help you at all but I gave it a shot.

  14. Fluffyearmuffs Says:

    I think the best explanation of the song is that given by MAWULI.

    I had been told by a British vocal leader that the song was about a girl called Marima, and it was asking her to move along. Although I don’t think this is the real meaning of the song, it fits well with the dance that I teach with it!

    All standing in a circle, and facing inwards, clap the pulse by slapping your legs and then clap your own hands, your partners hands (out to either side) and then your own hands – repeat throughout the song. Once you have got really good at that, put a step in on the first beat so that you are all travelling around the circle whilst maintaining the actions and the dance. Fun!

  15. abi Says:

    Hello there, I understand you have found a Ghanaian version of this song and you might find this information below of interest as well, as I know many versions exist of most African songs as it is, after all, the natural outcome of a mostly aural tradition.

    This is a song which accompanies the Moribyassa rhythm or the Malinke people from Northeast Guinea.

    Moribyassa is a rhythm which is played only once in a woman’s life, if at all. After she has overcome her lowest, toughest point, whether that be illness, or a child’s illness. Afterwards she will fulfill her vow and dance Moribyassa.

    The words of this version are actually:

    Tue tue Mareema tue tue
    Tue tue Mareema tue tue
    a bossum ta, amma Yaroma tue tue
    a bossum ta, amma Yaroma tue tue
    Tue tue mareema tue tue
    Tue tue mareema tue tue
    a bossum ta, amma Yaroma tue tue
    a bossum ta, amma Yaroma tue tue
    Mareema tue tue Mareema tue tue
    Mareema tue tue Mareema tue tue

    Also, Guinean djembe master Mamady Keita has a book with more details of this rhythm, from which I paraphrased with the meaning above.

    I hope this is useful to you.
    All the best

  16. Lisa Says:

    Thanks Abi! If anyone can translate Abi’s version (if it has a meaning), please let us know.

    You can hear Abi sing Tue Tue here.

  17. Barima foods | Syr21 Says:

    […] Can Anyone Help with the Song – Mama Lisa’s World of Children …Feb 20, 2010 … The lyrics, he translated, were Food, Food (adult implied) bring me food, food. Tuwe Tuwe Barima Tuwe Tuwe. Other lyrics are added or … […]

  18. Rina Says:

    I was told the same translation as Muwali by a British vocal teacher. It’s about a young boy who knocked down an old man and he is very sorry…

  19. Lisa Says:

    Nancy Parish wrote the following interesting email to me about this song:

    Hello, Lisa,

    This whole discussion with a WIDE range of answers was very interesting. Such varying opinions! I have also heard many different explanations (and attributed ethnicities) for the song “Sarasponda”.

    I first encountered the song through the Wee Sing series (“Around the World”) by Pamela Beall and Susan Nipp. This book says the words of the song come from a combination of languages and have no particular meaning.

    I have been doing the three levels of the Kodaly Music education course in New York City (just finished the 3rd level this summer, and am putting together my song collection.) The notated copy I have from the course, said it came from Judith Cook Tucker in 1991. There is no translation, but two descriptions of movement.

    You might be interested in this, African Songs collected by my professor, Dr, Jerry Kerlin. He should be given credit.

    Description of song movement:

    One is a circle game where singers side-step, close and clap hands of their neighbors.

    The second is a stick game where they are very long sticks on the floor, raised and tapped together on the 3rd and 4th beats. Students line up and take turns stepping or jumping through the sticks.

    AND, in one more direct source, one of the employees in my building here in NYC is from Ghana, so I asked him. He wasn’t totally familiar with it. I believe his language is not this.

    I also know from this man, Kwazi, that each child is given a name (in addition to their birth name) for the day of the week they were born. (Kwazi was born on Sunday).

    Here is the female and male names:

    Day Female Male

    Sunday Akosia Kwasi
    Monday Adwoa Kwadjo
    Tuesday Abena Kwabena
    Wed Akia Kwaku
    Thursday Yawoo Yah
    Friday Afia Kofi
    Saturday Ama Kwame(ee)

    The name “Ama” could be substituted for the others.

    My friend, Kwazi, says that “Barima” is a name. “Dawa-dawa” is a seed (for flavoring). A little girl has something on her head to hold the rice cakes.

    I noticed that your website had one or two Ghanaians write as well. It would be really interesting to know the TRUE MEANING of the song!

    Kind regards,

    Nancy Parish

  20. Irene Says:

    Great job Lisa!
    This post has taken years and still no translation.
    I am an Ashanti from Ghana, I sang this song many times growing up, I know is a borrowed song from another language, we just never learned right, and don’t remember how they explained it after so many generations. Karen or Abi may be right!

    Ashanti’s learned this from other tribes that migrate but learned it incorrectly. It may sound different from original version as it passes down from generation to generation, the meaning is lost. That’s why it’s meaningless to some because it doesn’t sound like anything in their language.
    ‘Due’ as Mawuli mentioned is used a funerals meaning “sorry for a loss”, that’s not it.
    I sung as ‘Tuwe tuwe Maamuna tuwe tuwe’ as a child, meaningless in Ashanti.

    I have sang songs I found out in later years were Swahili.
    Karen could be right if her Togo friend says Tuwe is exactly a word in his language, otherwise I will go with Abi. We have to find a Guinea native to translate!

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