African Composers Edition

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Mohapeloa wrote Senkepeng in the 1930s, publishing it in Morija in 1939 as the thirtieth 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 Senkepeng is song No. 62 in Meloli II, not No. 30. Mohapeloa must have had a relation called Senkepeng, because reference is made in the song to the BaTaung clan, to which Mohapeloa belonged. His whole family sang, and were musical. Singing - whether folksongs or hymns or other kinds of music - remains the most common musical practice in Lesotho. Mohapeloa’s father organised school choir competitions, his family sang hymns in the evenings, and Mohapeloa knew many folksongs by heart, as his brother the historian J.M. Mohapeloa has observed (Mohapeloa and Phakisi Likheleke tsa Pina Sesothong 2009). (See the last page of the score for this source.) He literally grew up with song; and later he married a wife, Mai Stimmiri, who was known for her fine Alto voice. This could be why the Altos divide towards the end of the song, creating a richer sound. For the most part, the voice registers lie quite low, but there is one sudden ‘high’ note at the end.



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