African Composers Edition

Online publisher of African compositions

Ei, ei (There, there)

Mohapeloa wrote Ei, Ei in the early 1930s, publishing it in Morija in 1935 as song No. 6 of 32 in his first song collection, Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika. It is a humourous lullaby, urging a baby boy to stop crying by trying to make him laugh. According to his brother, historian J.M. Mohapeloa and M.K. Phakisi, it was typical of Mohapeloa’s comic style:
 
His role as a comedian is evident in many of his songs, even where the aim is not to make people laugh. For example, in a song called Ei, ei he does with music the job that is done by girls of taking care of the little ones. Here the child is crying, and is being hushed: ‘There, there, little boy / Hush, please, don’t cry’. But quickly he is scorned. ‘Cry baby, you cry too much. / You are even sobbing’. This scorning continues, until we are told when the child is happy and no longer crying: ‘Ha, ha, ha ha ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, you are happy’.
 
The music’s time signature, chromatic notes, and parallel sixths parody a sentimental Victorian part-song; but there are a few un-Victorian dissonances.

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