When I hear Manu Chao‘s name- this is the first song I think of – I love it – there is just nothing like Bongo Bong.

Bongo bong

Mama was queen of the mambo
Papa was king of the Congo
Deep down in the jungle
I started bangin’ my first bongo

Every monkey’d like to be
In my place instead of me
Cause I’m the king of bongo, baby
I’m the king of bongo bong

I went to the big town
Where there is a lot of sound
From the jungle to the city
Looking for a bigger crown
So I play my boogie
For the people of big city
But they don’t go crazy
When I’m bangin’ in my boogie
I’m the “king of the bongo, king of the bongo bong”
Hear me when I come
King of the bongo, king of the bongo bong

They say that I’m a clown
Making too much dirty sound
They say there is no place for little monkey in this town
Nobody’d like to be in my place instead of me
Cause nobody go crazy when I’m bangin’ on my boogie
I’m the king of the bongo, king of the bongo bong
Hear me when I come
“King of the bongo, king of the bongo bong”
Bangin’ on my bongo all that swing belongs to me
I’m so happy there’s nobody in my place instead of me
I’m a king without a crown hanging loose in a big town
But I’m the king of bongo baby I’m the king of bongo bong
King of the bongo, king of the bongo bong
Hear me when I come, baby, king of the bongo, king of the bongo bong…

(lyrics from here)


When I arrived in South Africa in 1997 – I started my new African adventures with brewing African beer in a factory next to Hammanskraal (North of Pretoria).

The beer we were selling was named Bafana Bafana – name of the South African national football team. Those were interesting times – tipsy times I’d say – since the factory workers for some reason were mostly in a happyyy mood – they were dancing around all day – I wonder why 🙂

This song is by Yvonne Chaka Chaka – one of the greatest singers in SA.

When asked who she admired most, Chaka Chaka said “My mother because she has always been there for me. My mother raised three daughters single-handedly on a domestic workers salary. That took great courage and strength. She is my mentor and hero. When I was born in 1965 in Soweto, it was during apartheid, and those were extremely difficult times. My dad was a great musician who could never realize his dream. He died when I was 11 years old. I inherited my talent from both parents, so music has always been in my blood .When I was little I would strum an empty tin and blow into a broom stick pretending it was a microphone. I sang in church choirs. I loved singing. I am blessed that I achieved my destiny, and been able to accomplish what my father could not.” (Wikipedia)

Yvonne Chaka Chaka : Umqombothi

We MaDlamini
Uph’umqombothi (3x)

I work hard every day
To make my beer
Wake up early every morning
To please my people with African beer
I make sure the fire burns
To make my beer
My special beer Umqombothi
Is African beer

We MaDlamini (Everybody)
Uph’umqombothi (Come and drink my)
We MaDlamini (magic beer)

I work hard to make them happy
Every weekend (Umqombothi)
Makes them party to the rhythm
Makes them dance, this magic beer (Umqobothi)
I wanna make you happy (Umqobothi)
I wanna make you smile (Umqobothi)
I wanna make you dance (Umqobothi), dance
I’ll make sure there’s a party
Where they drink my special beer
Umqombothi is magic beer
Umqombothi is African beer

Chorus 3x
We MaDlamini (Everybody)
Uph’umqombothi (nawu)
We MaDlamini Uph’umqombothi (nawu madoda)

Wozani ka MaDlamini
Wozani ngithi wozani
Wozani ka MaDlamini
Come on I wanna make you happy
I wanna make you smile lets boogie together
Umqombothi (Umqombothi)

I work hard every day
To please my people with African beer
( lyrics from )

This is another favourite – and looking at this blog – I seem to have an infinite number of favourite songs – and it’s even more interesting how my favourite songs change from artist to artist – from band to band – and eventually become folk songs with a million different versions and styles….(many times having originated from folk songs themselves).

Well, I stand up next to a mountain
And I chop it down with the edge of my hand.
Well, I stand up next to a mountain,
Chop it down with the edge of my hand.
Well, I pick up all the pieces and make an island,
Might even raise just a little sand.
cause Im a voodoo chile,
Lord knows Im a voodoo chile, baby.

I didnt mean to take up all your sweet time,
Ill give it right back to you one of these days.
I said I didnt mean to take up all your sweet time,
Ill give it right back one of these days.
And if I dont meet you no more in this world
Then ill, Ill meet you in the next one and dont be late, dont be late.
cause Im a voodoo chile, voodoo chile,
Lord knows Im a voodoo chile, hey hey hey.
Im a voodoo chile, baby. (lyrics from here)

It was Eostar still back at university that introduced me to Jimmy Hendrix’s music. We spent our time listening to all sorts of music ( Bob Marley, Jimmy Hendrix, Ali Farka Toure and everything in between ) instead of preparing for tests or writing assignments. Hm – I am still planning to graduate one day 🙂 It seems like neither of us stopped listening or playing and we are still listening to the ‘old music’ of those days back in the student hostel.

Here is the story about the recording of Voodoo Chile :

This session, typical of many in this period, sprang from a jam at the Scene club earlier in the night. When the club closed, Jimi’s full entourage moved to the Record Plant. “Jimi invited everyone back to the studio,” recalled Jefferson Air­plane bassist Jack Casady. “There were at least twenty people, and most of them didn’t belong there.” At around 7:30 a.m ., the for­mal recording for the day started with a line­up of Jimi on guitar, Mitch Mitchell on drums, Traffic’s Steve Winwood on organ and Casady on bass. The song took only three takes, though they were lengthy: The released version would clock at fifteen min­utes, the longest official Hendrix studio cut. ( click to read on… )

Angelique Kidjo has her own version of Voodoo Chile.

In February of 2003, she performed a cover of Jimi Hendrix‘s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City alongside Chicago blues guitar legend Buddy Guy and New York rock guitarist Vernon Reid (of Living Colour) in what would become part of Martin Scorsese‘s “Lightning In A Bottle: One Night In The History Of The Blues”, a documentary about blues music that features live concert footage of other rock, rap and blue greats. (from the Wikipedia)

During my daily adventures in cyberspace I discovered one of my favourite songs, Neria by Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi. He is a great musician & song writer from Zimbabwe – Shanda, a documentary film describes his life’s work really well – you can come to watch it at the OpenCafe 🙂 or buy it here.

This song is actually part of the film also entitled Neria – the story from this site will give you some background before watching the video:

Patrick and Neria, through shared hard work and resourcefulness, have built a comfortable home, good life and family in the city. But when their loving and equal partnership suddenly ends with the tragic death of Patrick, Neria’s nightmare begins.

Patrick’s brother Phineas helps himself to their car, bank book, furniture and house. He takes advantage of tradition to suit his own needs, making no effort to take care of his brother’s family. Yet Phineas claims that tradition and law are on his side.

Neria watches helplessly at first, believing there is no legal or moral recourse for her. But when Phineas takes her children, Neria decides she must fight back. In desperation she seeks justice. Neria learns that law and tradition can both be on her side if she remains strong and fights for her rights.

Other songs:

Some more of the magic:

Ismael Lo – Baykat

Daby Toure – Yafode

Daby’s story from his site:

Daby’s story goes back two generations and has a fairy tale beginning. Once upon a time, there were four brothers who lived in a village near Kayes, in what is now the modern state of Mali. They were all shoemakers and leather workers and they strived to sustain the old traditional family trade by turning the skins of crocodiles from the nearby river into shoes, bags, pouches and wallets. But for some reason, perhaps drought or excessive hunting, the crocodile population began to fall dramatically and the family were no longer able to live from their craft. The brothers decided to disperse to the four winds and they never saw each other again. One of them, Daby Toure, went to live near Zinguinchor in Casamance, the southernmost province of Senegal, where he married four wives and produced a large brood of children. For reasons that no one has ever been able to really explain, this new Toure generation was touched by a deep love and gift for music. A younger member of the clan, Hamidou Toure, was brought up by an uncle up north in Mauritania. Once he had graduated as a doctor in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, he was sent to a sand blown desert town called Boutilimit, where he married a beautiful woman, who was half Moorish or Hassaniya and half Toucouleur. They gave birth to a son who they called Daby, in honour of his grandfather, the patriarch of the family.

Other songs:

From the film One Giant Leap featuring Neneh Cherry, Speech and Ulali , taken from

Yo we was talking earlier and I was telling you talking bout life
I feel like life is like braided hair
Its sorta like twist you know
Bout braided hair like twist
You know three strands twist together
Ultimately you get to where you wanna get to

From the same dirt from the heels of my ancestors
The naked roads and the fields where the pain festered
And I wonder where the hold came from
In the deeps of my heart make me yearn for the drum
It’s the same place where the cross is burned
The same place where the loss was earned

It’s the place where the floss was yearned
Gold teeth and bling ice on the ring baby sure

We’ve all got things that are hanging about

Things that make us cool,
Things that make us whack,
Things that make us mad
Things we wish we never had done
But they’re just the things that make us real
Not the maps to guide where we go from here
The road twists and braids our hair

Until we all get there

I like that I don’t know some mysteries
Ancient things and beginnings
Excited about the day when I don’t have to hear all the theories

My scalp needs some grease
It’s the same place where the crosses burned
The same place where the loss was earned
The only way we all can learn
Is if we have these braids with the twist and turns so

Walking in the race of life
Looking for my own pace
Not always wanting to but I have to
Sometimes feeling like I’ve bitten off much more than I could chew
But the wind goes though my hair

Lifts me up with ease not a crease
Hair full of grease no weave embracing me
It’s you I see

I am you and you are me I see yeah
I am you and you are me I see

We might survive as brothers ye