African Composers Edition

Online publisher of African compositions


Mohapeloa wrote Ncencethe (JPM005) in the early 1930s, publishing it in Morija in 1935 as song No. 5 of 32 in his first collection, Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika. He referred to it as a ‘wedding song’ hence the translation of the title, although the word ‘Ncencethe’ is just a vocable expressing joy and empathy. A wedding in Lesotho is a lengthy affair, whether part of the ceremony takes place in a church or not, with much music making and dancing. The text is punctuated by verbal whoops of joy such as ‘tarara’, ‘oi’, ‘oelelli’ and the blowing of a whistle (‘phala’), all of which helps to create an image of people dancing up a storm on a joyous occasion. In this song, Mohapeloa told anthropologist David Coplan in an interview in 1978, he “blended African and Western harmonization”, pointing out how important the notion of ‘harmonizing’ is among African people.



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