"Fatou yo" is sung in different countries in Africa.

Fatou yo - Senegalese Children's Songs - Senegal - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


There was a question about the language of this song. Some people think it's in Mandinka and others Wolof. I asked Del Dallimore who lives in nearby Gambia. Here's what she wrote, "It is definitely not Mandinka. Most of Senegal speak Wollof or French. They [Del's friends] think it is Wollof but mixed with another language. I will get others to have a listen."

Later we found out it's in a Balanta language. If anyone knows which Balanta language it's in, we would welcome the info! We also welcome help fine-tuning the English translation. Please email me if you can help. Thanks in advance! -Mama Lisa

Jazzy Ellis wrote, "The Balanta language is K'rassa. Most of the Balanta people are in Guinea-Bissau today."

Helena wrote, "My friends in Senegal taught it to me, according to them the lyrics are in the Mandinga language."

Marion wrote: "I may have a lead for the language of Fatou Yo: according to certain links, I found it to be a song from the Ivory Coast. Wikipedia talks about strong similarities between Ivory Coast languages and Mandingo ... have you looked in this direction?"



Many thanks to Isabelle and the T1 teachers (in their 1st year of teaching) for singing Fatou yo, and to Pierre Bénichou who accompanied them on guitar and some of the teachers were on percussion too.


Many thanks to Mackenzie Wang for sharing the background music to this song! Mackenzie wrote, "We sang a few songs that I found on your website in a little outdoor spring show last month, and my husband and I created backing tracks for each. I would love to provide them to you so they can be shared with the community."

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Isabelle for contributing this song, the translation and recording. Thanks to Del Dallimore and Jazzy Ellis for trying to help us identify the language.

Thanks to Helena Cuaresma Maestre for sharing the 2nd video!

Photo: "Ouakam-Cité Assemblée" by Jeff Attaway from Abuja, Nigeria - Cite Assemblee (cropped). Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Thanks so much!