Tag Archives: Fanga

Fanga

Our new drumming class appears to be a success. We had 22 drummers in the third week up from 12 in week one. One thing that makes the class interesting is that it is not just about drumming. There’s hand-clapping, knee-slapping, foot-stomping and even singing.

The song that Dave has been teaching us is called Fanga (though it is often pronounced and written ‘funga‘) and is worth saying more about.

Fanga is an African greeting song. In our version, each line is sung first by the instructor and then echoed back by everyone else. The lyrics that we learned are:

Fanga alafia, ashe ashe

Fanga alafia, ashe ashe

Ashe ashe

Ashe ashe

Fanga alafia, ashe ashe.

Note that ‘ashe’ is pronounced ‘a-shay’. The song Fanga was written by Babatunde Olatunji, a Nigerian born who spent much of his life introducing African music to America. The words are from the Yoruba language of Nigeria while the melody is taken from the American song ‘Li’l Liza Jane‘. See the Wikipedia link for Fanga song for more historical information.

But fanga is not just a song – it is also a rhythm and a dance. Here are some audio and video links for Fanga that are worth checking out:

Now if we could just get our dancers, drummers and singers together maybe we could put on quite a show.

 

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