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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Daudi Kabaka - "Harambee Harambee" (information, video, & lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post is part of an ongoing pancocojams series on African and African Diaspora rallying calls, chants, and interjections. Click this tab at the bottom of this post for more posts in this series.

This post presents information about the KiSwahili word "harambee" (pronounciation hah-RAHM-bay) and showcases a video of Kenyan singer Daudi Kabaka singing "Harambee Harambee". The KiSwahili lyrics for that song and English translation are also included in this post along with selected comments from the discussion thread of another YouTube video of this song.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, sociological, historical, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composer of this song. Thanks also Daudi Kabakato for recording this song and thanks to the publishers of this song on YouTube, and the transcribers of this song. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE WORD "HARAMBEE"
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communal_work#Harambee
"Harambee (Swahili: [ha╦łrambe]) is a Kenyan tradition of community self-help events, e.g. fundraising or development activities. Harambee literally means "all pull together" in Swahili, and is also the official motto of Kenya and appears on its coat of arms.

Harambee events may range from informal affairs lasting a few hours, in which invitations are spread by word of mouth, to formal, multi-day events advertised in newspapers. These events have long been important in parts of East Africa, as ways to build and maintain communities.

Following Kenya's independence in 1963, the first Prime Minister, and later first President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta adopted "Harambee" as a concept of pulling the country together to build a new nation. He encouraged communities to work together to raise funds for all sorts of local projects, pledging that the government would provide their startup costs. Under this system, wealthy individuals wishing to get into politics could donate large amounts of money to local harambee drives, thereby gaining legitimacy; however, such practices were never institutionalised during Kenyatta's presidency."...
-snip-
Another example of the word "harambee" being used in Kenya is that the Kenyan national soccer team is colloquially known as the "Harambee Stars".

I recall "Harambee!" being used in 1967 and 1968 as a rallying call for members of CFUN, the Commitee For Unified Newark zfcommithe Newark, New Jersey the afrocentric organization that I belonged to. My recollection is that when we chanted "Harambee!" we would pantomine the gesture of pulling hard on a rope (as done in the tug of war game).

Since at least the late 1970s, it has become relatively commong for the KiSwahili word "harambee" to be used as a name for African American community organizations and art festivals. The word "harambee" is also used in the names of a number of primary or secondary schools that have predominately Black American students.

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KISWAHILI LYRICS FOR "HARAMBEE HARAMBEE"
(composed by Fadhili William [?], as sung by Daudi Kabaka)

http://www.ghafla.co.ke/lyrics/d/141-daudi-kabaka-lyrics/636-harambee-harambee http://www.ghafla.co.ke/lyrics/d/141-daudi-kabaka-lyrics/636-harambee-harambee
Song: Harambee Harambee
Language: Kiswahili

Harambee, Harambee
tuimbee pamoja
Harambee, Harambee
tuimbee pamoja
Harambee, Harambee
tuimbee pamoja
tujenge serikali

wengi walisema
Kenya itakuwa matata
wengi walisema
Kenya itakuwa matata
wengi walisema
Kenya itakuwa matata
watu wote wastaarabu

wananchi Harambee,
tuvutee pamoja
wananchi Harambee,
tuvutee pamoja
wananchi Harambee,
tuvutee pamoja
muongoze na usalama

watu wa Kenya
hatuna ubaguzi
watu wa Kenya
hatuna ubaguzi
watu wa Kenya
hatuna ubaguzi
kila rangi tunaipenda

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Here's the Google translate for those lyrics (from KiSwahili to English)
Synergy, Synergy
tuimbee together
Synergy, Synergy
tuimbee together
Synergy, Synergy
tuimbee together
build government

Many say
Kenya will be troublesome
Many say
Kenya will be troublesome
Many say
Kenya will be troublesome
All civilized people

Synergy citizens,
tuvutee together
Synergy citizens,
tuvutee together
Synergy citizens,
tuvutee together
muongoze and security

people of Kenya
we do not discriminate
people of Kenya
we do not discriminate
people of Kenya
we do not discriminate
all the colors we love
-snip-
"All pull together" is the English translation that is usually given for the KiSwahili word "harambee". "Unity" is another English translation that I've heard or read for "harambee". However, it's interesting that Google translate gives the word "synergy" as a definition for that word. Here's a definition for from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/synergy:
"the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism."
-snip-
Betty Achieng, a commenter on a discussion thread for "Harambee Harambee" in 2013 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n8ZvhiGMm8) wrote what I believe is a better English translation these lyrics:
"In Unity, let us sing together, so that we build our government (country). Many said Kenya would experience turmoil, but Kenyans, let's be wise. Let's pull together in unity so that we are led in a secure environment. Kenyans, we have no favorites, we love all races."

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SHOWCASE VIDEO: Harambee Harambee- Daudi Kabaka



simon Kiplangat,Published on Apr 20, 2013

Artist: Daudi Kabaka

Wordlife ™ na Impactwordlife ® ni alama wa usajili wa biashara na ya mwandishi kwa mtiririko huo. Haki zote zimehifadhiwa. © Simon Kiplangat 2013.
-snip-
Google translation of those Kiswahili words: "Worldlife is a registered trade mark and the author respectively. All rights reserved."

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SELECTED COMMENTS FROM A DISCUSSION THREAD OF ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THIS VIDEO
These selected comments are from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n8ZvhiGMm8

Harambee, Harambee - Daudi Kabaka
bwanakeino Uploaded on Jan 17, 2008
Embedding disabled by request

These comments are given in relative order based on their posting date with the oldest comments given first, except for replies. However, these comments may not be in consecutive order.

kiboko52, 2010
"It seems that you cannot go back but the songs of yesterday echo painfully and bring back many memories. The red soil, the Ngong Hills, the Rift Valley, the light in Mombasa, and the rhythm of the wananchi. These are sacred memories that remind and bind us Kenyans wherever we live.
Oh for the simpler days of yesteryear."

**
daveshiwani, 2010
"Fellow kenyans we have to embrace this song by all means if we have to stay in harmony not only inkenya but also with our neighbours"

**
Mayoka Zemuba, 2012
"These were the golden days of Kenya. Harambeee."

**
hotello2009, 2012
"I heard it first 35 years ago, the song was from Fadhili ....quelli erano tempi..."
-snip-
That comment suggest that Fadhili William was the composer of the song "Harambee Harambee". Here's information about "Fadhili" from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fadhili_William
"Fadhili William Mdawida (most often referred to simply as Fadhili William) (November 11, 1938 – February 11, 2001), was a Kenyan musician/composer who is most famous for his song "Malaika" which he recorded with his band 'The Jambo Boys' around 1963.[1]"...

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Jecinta Gregory, 2013
"The days I was woken up in the morning by this song meant it was a public holiday in the Moi era. Now Kenya is full of politicians who are preaching tribalism instead of working in togetherness. Kenya imekuwa matata sasa! Ubaguzi umezidi!"
-snip-
Google translate for KiSwahili to English: Kenya has trouble now! Discrimination intensified!

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4 comments:

  1. Actually the origin of the word Har Ambe comes from the time Indian laborers were building the railways - and when pulling together they would loudly shout Har Ambe - meaning "Great Indian God Ambe give us strenght"... AMBE is an Indian Godess that gives streght. Just like the word Juggernaut- comes from the massive chariot ofLord Jaggan Nath

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing that information, Anonymous.

      I read that explanation online, but didn't know if that was actually were the word "harambee" came from.

      I should have included that origin. I'm glad that you posted it.

      Delete
  2. I love this song! I first learned it as a young performer in an "Up with People" cast that traveled across upper New York State. We performed this song in many cities along the route of the old Erie Canal in the summer of 1968. The story about the tragic killing of the rare gorilla named Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo in May 2016 jogged my memory of this song, and I went searching for the song in iTunes. I tried everything and kept coming up short, until I located your blogspot and was so glad to find that my memory had not betrayed me. I was disappointed to find that none of the many professional “Up with People” albums had recorded the song – but I was also gratified to realize that someone in our local “Up with People” cast had possessed the depth of background and understanding to include “Harambee, Harambee” in our repertoire, especially since it represented not only a very upbeat piece of world music, but also a struggle that had taken place very recently in Kenya, which connected very aptly to the civil rights movement taking place at that time in our own country. Thanks again for the lyrics and the recording and the history of the song!
    Elizabeth Bucarelli, Erie, PA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Greetings, Elizabeth Bucarelli.

      I"m glad you found this blog.

      Thanks for sharing your memories of the "Up With People" concerts.

      For those who weren't aware of the tragic killing of the gorilla Harambe, here's a Wikipedia article about it:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_Harambe.

      Delete