This Wolof song, Yàlla baax na, was recorded at a multi-ethnic worship seminar at Serrekunda, The Gambia, in January 2003. The workshop was hosted by the Evangelical Church of the Gambia (a WEC-related church) in conjunction with SIL and Heart of God Ministries.
The workshop coordinator reported that small groups were formed according to language group (Wolof, Mandinka, Jola Fogny, Fulani, Manjak) to research the different kinds of music they have in their culture and to start composing new songs. Suggested Bible texts from Luke were given as a basis to work from – passages such as Mary’s song and Zechariah’s song. This song was based on Luke 1:46 & 50.
Groups quickly got into song making. The Jola group made a song based on an existing church-song tune. When asked what kind of Jola music this was, they were not able to answer and it was clear that it could not be played on the small Balanta balafon they were using. It was then suggested that they think about different kinds of Jola songs that people sing, for example at harvest, for women’s events or in the fields. Very quickly, they started on a new song which so excited one of the cooks in the kitchen that she grabbed a branch and came dancing over to the group. 'Songs that make you dance' or 'songs that make you cry' are frequent definitions of heart music heard in Africa.
When each group was happy with their new song, they were able to record it in a quiet room (one single stereo microphone was used with a mini disk player). Groups were able to follow simple hand signals to make the recording neater and then made good clear recordings with appropriate instruments. For example, the Manjaku group used drums, a bottle and a cooking pot tapped with metal knives. Six songs were recorded in total. Several singers were moved to dance as they got more excited by their songs, showing that the songs are in truly indigenous styles.
Composer: Wolof believers
Recorded: Serrekunda, The Gambia, 2003
Vocals: Wolof believers
Contact for track: firstname.lastname@example.org
Full title: Yàlla baax na (God is good)
Local title: Yàlla baax na
Copyright: ©2002 Resonance
(Picture Credit: Pixabay)