African Composers Edition

Online publisher of African compositions
Sep 15, 2019
’Mutlanyana (Hare)

Morija Training College Choir, cond. not specified. Listed by ILAM as Mutla le hlo on ILAM 78 r.p.m. Shellac record no. TP3432, master no. 1080, 1936/37, copied 1946. A virtuoso song for SATB (here TTBB) based on a Basotho folk tale about a hare - or rabbit, for ‘mutla’ or ‘tlholo’ (‘hlolo’) is a hare whereas ‘mmutlanyana’ is a rabbit. Mohapeloa’s first composition, this was written c.1930 and established a template for the combination of Basotho and Western idioms.
The whistles of Hlolo, pilolo, pii. Hlolo is a boy’s name, pilolo, pii. He fried me but I didn’t get ripe. I fried him and he became ripe. He got burned and became ripe. He fried me and didn’t get ripe. I fried him and he became ripe. I am the hare that can be found on the wayside. (JPM)

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Sep 15, 2019
A re eeng (Let’s go)

Evangelical Lutheran Church Choir, Orlando West, leader Z.K. Mokoena. SABC LP no. not given, date 1980, digitized 2002 on SABC on CDT2163, Trk. 3. From Maseru, capital of Lesotho, the train takes two days to reach ‘Gaudeng’ - place of gold, i.e. Johannesburg. The poignancy in this chirpy SATB song from 1937 is that the passengers were mainly migrant workers, destined for the mines.
Let us go, my people, we have to go to the big city of Jo’burg. The time favours us. Tomorrow morning we shall be in Jo’burg. Come, let us go my children, let’s leave Bloemfontein, leave the veld of Phutha, and move to the other side of the Vaal River. Come, let us go my children. We have already left our home Maseru. Here now, is the Johannesburg area. (JPM)

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Sep 15, 2019
Chabana sa khomo (One nation)

Morija Training College Choir, cond. B. Mashologu. ILAM 78 r.p.m. Shellac record no. CR3032, master no. 1083, recording no. GE142, 1936/37, copied 1951. Published in 1935, this song in call-and-response style scored for STBSTB (TTBTTB here) is based on two folksongs, the main one about tanning the hide of a cow (‘khomo’) to make it into a leather blanket.
We are one nation, a nation of cattle. Moo! Can’t you see when we soften the hide; the cow goes ‘moo’ when we tan the hide. Doesn’t the cow moo when we tan the hide? The owner of the hide is clever. Hey! Meanwhile, some are still softening the hide, they keep softening (it). (MM-S)

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Sep 15, 2019
Chao (Chao dance)

Morija Training College Choir, cond. not specified. ILAM 78 r.p.m. Shellac record no. TP3429, master no. 1091, 1936/37, copied 1946. This 1937 song for SAATB (TTTBB) depicts a modern Basotho dance accompanied by singing and whistle- blowing (‘phirrr-ri!’).
Take the step accordingly or properly, because this is a type of dance. It is our habit together with our children, to just play or dance like a child when the whistles are blown like this: po, po, po. We dance according to their tempo, with everybody, together with our ancestors. Listen, please oh listen, phirrr-ri! Look at something marvellous or beautiful, these whistles with their melody; it is a wonderful thing (sound of the whistles), wonderful! (JPM)

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Sep 15, 2019
Chuchumakhala (The train)

Manhattan Brothers with Miriam Makeba. Gallotone GB2033, 1954. (See Trk. 22 on this CD for the original choral version.) This train song for SATAB (Mohapeloa scores 2nd Alto below Tenor) was published in 1937. It tells of the ‘chu- chu’ winding its way like a crab (‘lekhala’) taking passengers home to loved ones in Lesotho. The music is punctuated by the hooter, ‘hoi! hoi!’ and the changing tempi suggest calling at stations along the way.
The train, the White people’s thing, millipede, resounds through the hills. Hoi! Hoi! the sun is setting. Hoi! Hoi! resounds through the hills. Train, rushing all the time, cut the fields, my home is far away. The owners are crying. Stop decorating yourself. Let the smoke shoot up, let the fields resound! (MM-S)

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Sep 15, 2019
Chuchumakhala [ii]

Sebokeng Training College Choir, cond. Jacob ’Moleli. SABC LP no. not given, date 1983, digitized 2003 on SABC CDT2255, Trk. 4.

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Sep 15, 2019
Coronation march

Quthing Evangelical Musical Society, cond. not specified. SABC LP no. LT3947, c.1980, digitized 2001 on SABC CDT1949, Trk. 9. One of few songs Mohapeloa wrote to English words, supplied by a ‘Miss Bull’, this SATB song from 1937 marked the coronation of George VI. Mohapeloa later changed the lyrics to honour Elizabeth II, crowned in 1953 - the version heard here. Later he adapted it to a Sesotho text as Lesotho lefa la rōna (Lesotho our inheritance).
Come, and with music sweet and strong, make this a day of joy and song; with all the nations the world round, that in her Empire may be found, let us with hearts and voices sing in honour of our new-crowned Queen. Far, far from us in England’s land, the eager thousands waiting stand. As their rejoicing eyes behold the gracious Queen and her consort, we cannot see them but we meet with joy and song our Queen to hail. We of this land, where mountains lift their peaks on high, would add our gift. We cannot bring the wealth or powers of people greater far than ours, yet none with truer fervour sing, ‘God save and bless our new-crowned Queen!’

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Sep 15, 2019
Ei, ei (There, there)

Orlando Methodist Church Choir, cond. Thabo Motaung. SABC LP no. not given, date 1980, digitized 1997 on SABC CDT904, Trk. 5. This 1935 lullaby for SATB mimics a sentimental Victorian cradle-song, with some rather surprising dissonances.
There, there, stop crying, little boy, stop crying, please, hey, don’t cry, please. There, hey, stop crying please, little boy, stop crying, please, don’t cry. Cry baby, you cry too much; you are even sobbing. Hush, wipe the tears. A man is a sheep, he doesn’t cry. Ha, ha, ha, you are laughing; ha, ha, you are happy. When you giggle you are adorable. When you cry you are very ugly. (MM-S)

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Sep 15, 2019
Hook, haneu (Stop, stop!)

Bonamelo Adult Choir, cond. M.P. Pule. SABC digital recording 1990, recorded live during the Old Mutual Music Festival, Standard Bank Arena, Johannesburg, 8-9 Dec, 1990, stored 1990 on SABC CDT314, Trk. 6. This SATB song published in 1939 is in syncopated close harmony, a tight-textured rhythmic song that depicts the cliff-hanging ride of high-spirited young men driving a horse-cart. The excitement whips up the audience at the end, on this live recording.
These are the cart horses. They are well bred horses, 'hook, haneeu’, (stop, stop). Take your time boys (Don’t be in a hurry). Move aside, we want to show you, hook, haneu, How are these children? (What type of children are these!) These are the cart horses. They are well- bred horses, they are trotting, and there’s no time wasted. We only hear the sound of the hooves. They are trotting, and even mad or wild, yes, listen! It is the real horses. Take your time, boys, SLOWLY, Slow, slowly and relax. (JPM)

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Sep 15, 2019
Kolliana (Kolliana)

Morija Training College Choir, cond. not specified. ILAM 78 r.p.m. Shellac record no. CR3031, master no. 1085, recording no. GE141, 1936/37, copied 1951. This breathtaking syncopated song for SSATB (TTTBB) expresses the anxiety of a family calling their child Kolliana in for the night.
Kolliana, come back home, the sun is about to set. (It is late.) You are very far away Kolliana, playing so well in the warm fine lake. Next to the lake is green grass. Playing with some of his mates. Back home, Kolliana, come back home. It is cold, and at home there is happiness. (JPM)

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Sep 15, 2019
Leeba (The dove)

Mamelodi Adult Choir, cond. Simon Makgalemele. SABC LP no. not given, date 1983, digitized 1997 on SABC CDT608, Trk. 1. Published in 1939, this hiccupping SATB song imitates the repetitive call of the African turtle dove.
‘Hu ... ku ... tu ...’. The dove is singing high up in the trees. (JPM) It cries from the cliff. The mottled pigeon says, ‘Hoo koo too! I am dru ... I am very drunk’. (MM-S)

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Sep 15, 2019
Liphala (Horns)

gina Mundi Choir, cond. Jabulani Mazibuko. SABC LP no. not given, date 1981, digitized 1997 on SABC CDT669, Trk. 6. This is one of four songs from 1951 in which Mohapeloa claims a new direction for his work, eschewing traditionalism and embracing a new African modernity. ‘Liphala’ could mean whistles, pipes, bugles, trumpets, or horns - instruments used to summon people.
Listen to those horns. They are inviting you who are still arriving here at this school. It is a school of happiness. The horns are telling everybody to be happy. (JPM) They sound like that so that people can rejoice. These horns, to us, when the sound enters the ear it reminds us of endless happiness. Happiness and joy are there at the end. (MM-S)

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Sep 15, 2019
Methaka [Methaka, emang]

Methaka, emang (Friends, stand up). Morija Training College Choir, conductor not specified. Listed by ILAM as Methaka on 78 r.p.m. Shellac record no. TP3431, master no. 1081, 1936/37, copied 1946. This bittersweet SAATB (here TTTBB) song from 1935 tells of a commonplace event in Lesotho: farewells between young people who are (probably) going off to seek work and friends who are left behind.
Friends, stand up, sing with us, and let us rejoice together. Make a noise so loud even the deaf would hear, the mute would shout in answer! We greet our age-mates, we greet our friends, we say go well, beloved age-mates. We say many greetings. We say all this with pleasant hearts. But even amid such joy, we are unable to stop our tears, when we remember the days gone past, and today’s separation. (MM-S)

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Sep 15, 2019
Moea oa Leboea (The North wind)

Meadowlands N.G. Kerkkoor, leader Z. Moloi. SABC LP no. LP LT4069 or 4071, date c.1990, digitized 1996 on SABC CDT426, Trk. 7. Published in 1949, this SATB song suggests the close-harmony vocal style of the 1940s and 50s.
North wind, rain-source, come, come and thrash the passes. Go through Makheka, the Pass of Liphofu! Bringer of Spring, come carrying lots of fog. The clouds should make a shadow. The horse smells something like the mud of rain. There the old frog exclaims; he shouts and says the rain is coming! Rain-source, come, come, renew the land, decorate it with springs and greenery until a person’s heart is happy! Make thick showers of rain! Blow, rain-source; wander about, Spring-spreader (MM-S).

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Sep 15, 2019
Mokhotlong (Mokhotlong)

Soweto Teachers Choir, leader J. Mazibuko. SABC LP no. not given, date 1980, digitized 2002 on SABC CDT2163, Trk. 11. Composed in 1972 and published in 1976, this SATB song has a stately 3+3+2 meter that refers to a regional dance style called ‘seakhi’ and is about the town of Mokhotlong, nestled in the mountains not far from where the composer was born.
We who were born in Mokhotlong are proud of and love our home, Mokhotlong. This is the peak of South Africa, with mountains like Mont-aux-Sources. The beauty of the place is a source of wonder and admiration. Mokhotlong, our home. (JPM) Mokhotlong, the top of the water supply of South Africa is there in its precipices. It takes us there with spiritual wings. We go to Tšehla ea malimo and Chesetsi. The beauty of the countryside is truly amazing. Yes, look, there is Sekoka; go and admire Phofung and others; as for Thabana- Ntlenyane, admire it much. Do not go past Sasol, at Lake Terai. Mokhotlong, spread your beautiful wings, with your head in the sky. Mokhotlong, the centre of Liphamola, our home is lovable. (MM-S)

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Sep 15, 2019
Molelekeng (Molelekeng)

Sung at the Massed Choir Festival in 2001 (no choir/cond. details), recorded live, stored 2003 on SABC CDT2324, Trk. 8. This popular SATB song from 1951 sung here at a ‘new South Africa’ nation-building event, was sometimes sung in the 1980s at protest meetings, a hint at how strongly African songs are lodged in the memory of those who knew them, re-emerging on any occasion. The ambiguous ending of Molelekeng’s text also serves to remind us of the relationship all the songs on this CD have to an intangible African heritage, mysterious in Mohapeloa’s day, and now even more veiled.
I look at the lilies in summer during the month of December when they swing, and shake. It reminds me of my sibling, Molelekeng, of her good looks when she walks around. She is a beautiful child, wonder of the well of Litshepe, a beauty, my younger sister, mother’s Molelekeng. Beautiful flower of Molumong, I miss you, younger sister, Molelekeng while you are far away in a foreign place. Oh, my younger sister, this horned cow brought me trouble! (MM-S)

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