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International Music & Culture
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LisaMarie wrote to me asking about the Ghanaian song Obwisana. I posted her email below, followed by the lyrics, an English translation, two YouTube videos of the song and finally a link to the score.

Here’s LisaMarie’s email…

Hi

I was hoping you could help. I’m training to be a teacher and for my music assessment I have to discuss a piece of music and have chosen to look at Obwisana but was wondering if you could tell me where I could obtain a free version of the traditional song.

Yours
LisaMarie Sheppard

Here are the lyrics to Obwisana:

Obwisana

Obwisana sa nana
Obwisana sa
Obwisana sa nana
Obwisana sa.

English Translation of Obwisana:

The rock has crushed my hand, grandma
The rock has crushed my hand.
The rock has crushed my hand, grandma,
The rock has crushed my hand.

Here are two YouTube renditions of Obwisana. The first video is an expanded version of the song that includes other lyrics…

The second version includes lots of sound effects and beats…

Obwisana is a circle game. Kids sit in a circle while singing ob-wi-sa-na and they pass around a rock. Each kid taps the rock on the ground and passes it to the next kid. The taps make a beat at each syllable of the song.

Susan Arnold wrote me:

“I know this song as an Akan song from Ghana. ‘Obo asi me nsa, nana, obo asi me nsa’ which is sung in a circle by children. The Akan place great importance on co-operation and this circle game can’t be played without that and a high degree of accuracy when placing the stone, especially as it gets faster and faster and more intricate with 2 stones tapped together or going round in the opposite direction.”

Here is an Obwisana Score.

You can visit our Obwisana song page for a midi tune and for Spanish and French translations!

I hope this all helps you LisaMarie!

Mama Lisa

PS If anyone knows more about the extended lyrics to this song, please let us know about it in the comments below. Thanks in advance!

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This artilce was posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2009 at 8:13 pm and is filed under Akan, Children's Songs, Circle Games, Countries & Cultures, Games Around the World, Ghana, Ghanaian Children's Songs, Languages, Mama Lisa, Obwisana, 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.

4 Responses to “Obwisana Song with a Translation and YouTube Video”

  1. Karen Odom Says:

    Which word translates to Grandma? Our Music class is playing this game. Thanks.

  2. Cheryl Kula Says:

    I really enjoyed Duda and the All County Chorus – I can’t quite make out the words in this one blank spot: Hey, do you want to go on down to Ghana? Hey, do you want to come along my brother? Hey do you want to go on down to Ghana? _________________ will sing this happy song! I am putting on an African theme concert in May. I’d love to do something with this. Thanks so much, C. Kula

  3. Bill Says:

    For Cheryl Kula . The children sing ‘And as we travel we’ll sing this happy song’

    Respects

    Bill

  4. Savannah Hiner Says:

    Hey, like http://www.mamalisa.com/blog/obwisana-song-with-a-translation-and-youtube-video/, is that this a custom theme? can you post where you bought it?, maintain the writing.

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