Sunday, 18 July 2010

I am a huge elephant!

This song was composed by Tado Dilli and sung on October 31, 1972 by Ganne-Rasha Terefe in central Sheka. It is a lamentation of a Sheka family. This song is part of 63 others, recorded from the bards performing in the Kafa highlands, and published in 'Domination and Resistance: Narrative Songs of the Kafa Highlands' by Werner Lange, 1979.

But much more than that, this song is part of the rich and formidable heritage of the oral traditions of the people of Kafa and Sheka.


ELEPHANTS:

(Male)
O, mother elephant, let us go to Vingite!
Let us run to Yeha!

(Female)
The sons of hunters with their spears,
Will not let us pass.

(Male)
Let us go through Uchchi;
Let us run through Ulla;
Let us go through Gashi
Then let us run to Galla!

(Female)
The Galla of Dido with their spears,
Will not let us pass.
The prople of Ebachchi with their spears,
Will not let us pass.

(Male)
We are trapped
We are in great trouble!
Let us save ourselves by giving up one of our children.
You are the female;
I am the male:
Together we can always produce other!

(Female)
I will never give up my baby son!
When lying he is like the fruit of a palm tree;
When standing he is like a huge monument.
I will never give up my baby son!
Before being pierced with fifty-five spears;
Before I feel death approaching;
I swear by the name of the sky-god:
I will never give up my son!

(Male)
O, mother elephant, take our children and go!
It sounds better if I die:
My body will be used to decorate women;
My skin will be used for a man's plow;
I will be used for saddles:
I will be used for armbands;
I am a huge elephant!

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