Liphala was one of only two songs published during Moerane’s lifetime, in 1938. (The other was his arrangement of the spiritual, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.) He wrote both the lyrics and the music, and he obviously had a school choir in mind, although this is a fun song for adults, too. It is jam-packed with useful knowledge about staff notation and music theory: simple time, triplets, modulation, intervals, staccato and legato, accelerando, accents, and many different dynamics - an amazing number of different expressive markings for such a short, apparently lightweight song. The work comes with a free mp3 of the spoken lyrics, on purchase, to help choirs get their tongues around the rapidly sung Sesotho. A typescript by Moerane was discovered long after the song was published and widely sung, which shows some deviations from the published score, which are in some ways more interesting. It is this version that is published here, but the original Lovedale publication is also available as a resource, for comparison, on this site.
Liphala audio sample (piano) Audio