African Composers Edition

Online publisher of African compositions

Siu Bo Sele

Mohapeloa wrote Siu Bo Sele in the 1930s, publishing it in Morija in 1939 as the nineteenth 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 Siu Bo Sele is song No. 51 in Meloli II, not No. 19. After the previous songs in this book, about Africa or Africans waking up to political reality and the dawn of a new era, this one is literally about the early morning, a companion piece to Ha Bo E-sa (At the Crack of Dawn) in Meloli I (JPM013). Such songs remind us that Lesotho is predominantly a rural country and that the composer grew up very close to nature and to the rhythms of the day and the seasons. The rising sun is portrayed by a rising imitative musical figure in a 7-bar slow introduction, and the crowing of the cocks represented by a syncopated rhythm in the fast main section, while the slow-fast opening is quite unusual in Mohapeloa. Perhaps all these features owe something to 18th-century styles of music with which the he was familiar. The periodic very low Bass notes, on the other hand are reminiscent of Basotho men’s folk music.



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