African Composers Edition

Online publisher of African compositions

Liphala (Horns)

The youth of 1951 Lesotho and South Africa (when this song was published) were into jazz, dancing, and the fashionable modernities of the time. This was the youth for whom Drum magazine was founded, in the same year that this volume of songs came out. Vocal jazz was particularly popular at this time, and its syncopated punchy rhythms infuse Liphala. The word ‘Liphala’ (pronounced ‘Dipala’) is a plural noun meaning whistles, pipes, bugles, trumpets, or horns - any loud musical sounds used to summon people - and in reference to this song the summons is to school. The text reinforces the importance of education for modern Africans, key to upward social mobility and political liberation. The message is hugely positive: schools are places of joy that one should look forward to attending - hence the summons ‘peperi …pepe’ (the horn call) that reverberates throughout the song.

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