"Rhyming in the Ghana language is quite different from English rhymes. It is common to build a new phrase using substantial part of the previous one as a way to teach rhythm and continuity during language skills development in kids... Pay very close attention to the 'Dabi mekɔɔ nwuram … Kaaika' song and you may be able to spot the 'strategic' repetition of words or phrases from the previous line.

Another thing to note is this is also a call and response song. 'Kaaika' is the response and it is repeated in unison by others after each line is recited by the leader. 'Kaaika' has no meaning. It's just an interposing sound that marks musical time and makes the transition from Call to Response very smooth." -William (from Ghana)


ɔ = An open "O" sound.


William wrote:

"In the 'Dabi mekɔɔ nwuram … Kaaika' song:

-The 'Na me suro ooo' means 'I was VERY afraid'. The 'ooo' is the adverb showing the degree of the fear.

-The 'ɔpomaa ne tuo' line literally means 'he cocked his gun.' One interesting note is that pronouns are gender neutral so we don't know if the ghost is male or female.

-For the 'Atekaa teka kate pooo…' the 'Atekaa teka' connotes the sound of a tussle so perhaps something like 'And then click, clack, clock, and then pooo' would be a good transliteration. Although, 'ate' (pronounced like 'a-teh') means 'to hear' and then 'ka' is the sound something like a metal makes when clacking and so 'Ateka teka' can mean 'I hear click, I hear clack.'

'Ateka' or 'teka' depending on the context can also mean to pay back or get even with.

I guess either ending will suit the context of the song." -William

Here's a translation of the rhyme making the changes suggested in William's comments:

Once upon a time I went into the forest
And I saw ghosts
Little little ghosts
I was very afraid
I was really afraid
He cocked his gun
I also cocked my gun
He aimed it at me
I also aimed mine at him
And then I hear click, I hear clack, and then pooo.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Lyndsey and Sallo Haezebrouck for contributing and translating this song! Many thanks to William for commenting on this song!