Chuchumakhala (The train)

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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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