African Composers Edition

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Mohapeloa wrote Lipshamathe in the 1930s, publishing it in Morija in 1939 as the twenty-eighth of 32 songs in Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika ka J.P. Mohapeloa: Buka ea Bobeli [African Songs and Extemporary Harmonizations by J.P. Mohapeloa: Book II]. Mohapeloa continued numbering songs in Meloli II - his second songbook - from where his previous book, Meloli I ended; thus Lipshamathe is song No. 60 in Meloli II, not No. 28. The song is ironic, in a country as poor as Lesotho (or Basutoland as it was at the time when this song was written) where many people were - and still are - badly nourished and where there is still, as in other places in Africa, rampant corruption. Those who get ‘fat’ in this song don’t do so by laughing but by some other means, is the suggestion in the text, and so they end up laughing, happy. ‘Fat’ refers to wealth more than physique although it implies that too, and the song relies on the way the idea of ‘news’ is used ironically; the wealth of some people is scandalous and worthy of gossip - hence the translation of the title.



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