Delyth Dallimore recently sent me the wonderful video below from The Gambia…
The lyrics to the video can be found on our new Gambian song pages. The video is on the Mandinka language.
Del is collecting videos of Gambian children’s songs on her YouTube channel. Here’s what she wrote about The Gambia and collecting the songs…
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 ethnic 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.
If anyone can help with any of these languages, and/or the translations of any of the songs on Del’s YouTube channel, please let us know!
Meanwhile, there’s a simple Mandinka English Dictionary online, if anyone is looking for one.
Here are a couple of important Mandinka phrases:
Thanks – Abaraka
Thank you very much – Abaraka baake
You’re welcome – Amiin
Yes – Haa
No – Hani
Please – Dukare
Goodbye – N ka taa le
N ka taa le!
PS Many thanks to Del for sharing these wonderful songs with us and for taking the time to preserve them! Abaraka!
This article was posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 3:50 pm and is filed under African Children's Songs, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Gambia, Languages, Mandinka. 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.
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