Nonyana se-nya-mafi (The prattler)

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Meloding Youth [Choir], cond. Mr Ramereki Matlokotsi. SABC LP no. and date not given, digitized 1995 on SABC CDT298, Trk. 2. This SATTB song from 1947 well illustrates the difficulties of translating Sesotho: the title refers literally to a ‘milk-secreting bird’ but it could be a metaphor for someone who cannot stop ‘oozing’, i.e. talking. The folk tale associated with this song must be the impetus behind the modal quality of its harmonies.

Far away in the mountains, yes, far, far away, we lived with a prattler. We herded cattle there in the valleys, far behind those grey mountains. He is still watching us, the wide-eyed one. We were punished with a bad omen. Clap for me, please, so I may sing a lot! Where I am going, they sing a lot. When we followed it so far away, it kept saying, Clap for me please, so I may sing and sing. Let me dance and sing a lot! When following it, I went far. Even where I am going, they are always singing! They said we were dead, long ago, while we were living there in the mountains. (MM-S)

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