African Composers Edition

Online publisher of African compositions

Oa Iteli-telisa

This is a humorous and somewhat unsympathetic song, sung to stop a child crying: it is not a soothing lullaby in the European sense. Mohapeloa was the fourth eldest of ten children, and later had four children himself. He was well versed in a folk culture where there were a number of songs addressed to, and games played by, children, so all this experience must have fed into this song. Many of Mohapeloa’s songs were written for school use and they were probably often sung to actions, at the very least the swaying of the choir. He consciously reflected the meaning of the text in his music. This song has the feel of an entertainment song of the type that was sung all over southern Africa in the earlier twentieth century not only in schools and villages but also in township concerts and vaudevilles, where there might also be sketches, jazz, and dancing.

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