Del sent us this song and wrote: "A song in Mandinka about a child who will not help her parents. Any comments or help on the Mandinka words or translation always appreciated."
Wo Sona Mariam
Di? di? balanta
Baama a fai do la
A kal be taalaa ko reto (korewo)
Koma koma wyredo (wydaala)
(ko me? ko me?)
la Sona Mariam
a di? di?, di? di? bamboo
a tilo mina 'n fala
(a kiidee mina 'n fala)
That Sona Mariam.
A child that refuses
To work for her mother and father,
Wants to drift idly like cattle,
Or water trickling into a stream.
(It is) babies that need to be carried.
The sun will kill me.
(alt: Loneliness will kill me)
*A person's name
If anyone can help with the original Mandinka words or with the translation, please let us know. Thanks! Mama Lisa
Delyth, who recorded the videotape, wrote: "The Gambia, West Africa, is one of Africa's smallest countries. It has a tropical climate. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, but is fairly stable. Because of colonialism, the language taught in schools is English, but I try and encourage the children to use their local languages as much as possible. Although small, it is home to diverse ethic groups, the largest being Mandinka, then Wolof, Jola, Fula and Manjargo, as well as others.
I started the YouTube channel because I am very interested in Gambian traditions, and wanted to preserve as much as I could. It took me ages to find the 'Ostrich' song, even adults had forgotten about it, and ostriches used to live in Gambia! Most of the stuff is in Mandinka, but I have some Jola songs which I videoed when local boys were tilling the ground near me, they're lovely, but I haven't got them translated yet. I am gradually going to build up more children's songs, and also their games, I have three videoed already. There is always a problem in writing the songs down, because most Gambians cannot write in their own language, as these languages have only fairly recently become a written language. But I have online dictionaries, and try my best. The translations I get by asking as many people as I can what it means, and picking the ones which most can agree on."
Thanks and Acknowledgements
Many thanks to Delyth Dallimore for contributing this song and for the translation!