Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mory Kanté & Fatala - "Yeke Yeke" (Guinean song: information, YouTube examples, & comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Revised October 19, 2017

This pancocojams post showcases the song "Yeke Yeke" from Guinea, West Africa.

Part A of this post showcases two YouTube examples of the mega hit song "Yeke Yeke" by Guinean composer, musician, and singer Mory Kanté. Selected comments from the YouTube discussion threads from these examples are also included in this post.

Part B of this post also showcases a YouTube sound file of "Yeke Yeke" as performed by the Guinean group Fatala. Unfortunately, that sound file has only two comments in its discussion thread. One of those comments indicates that a person from Persis appreciates this song, and the other comment is entirely off-topic.

According to a commenter in the discussion thread for the sound file of Mory Kanté's performance of this song, Fatala's rendition of "Yeke Yeke" proceeded Mory Kanté version of that song.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Mory Kanté for this song. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

I became aware of this song as a result of research into the meaning of the words "yeke yeke" in the Trinidadian adult dance song and children's game song Afouyèkè. Click for a pancocojams post about that song.

(This is not to say that the Guinean word "yeke" is from the same language source as the word "afouyèkè" since words that are spelled the same of similarly and words that have the same or similar pronunciations may have different language origins and meanings.)


[Pancocojams Editor's note: These lyrics were posted on that website as a response to a request for lyrics.]

"that number is on the CD "Akwaba Beach" and it has the following text in the booklet (not that I know what it means):

Yé Ké Yé Ké

Bi sounkouroun lou la donkègna ah ah
Bi kambérén lou la donkègna ah ah
I madji ma yèlè
I kanan n'bila nara ro
N'bo n'bolo bila
Kanfalani yana sara lé ila
Gnin kissè gbèla sara lé ila

Yèkèkè nimo yé ké yé ké

Kè woyé boli lalé
n'na doni kassi kan
woyé boli lalé

eh, eh

Nyé n'ta sorona kono mi ma ta i yonfé
wo dén té soron lonkéléna
sini mory la diyanidé
timba bara wouloukounta
souba ma kata i yala
ah sara lila
yèkèkè nimo yé ké yé ké

Djely mousso ni kédjou to wara bo

M'ba mofila téma yan féou
Unfortunately, I'm not sure what the song "Yeke Yeke" is about.

I'm not sure about the accuracy of websites & YouTube channels that give the English translation for this song which begins "You're my own little movie star/I've found you/you are my superstar/the number 1 in my heart" as that transcriber rastaman.kwasi... wrote "I don't have the correct translation, anyhow I really think it's the Dogon Language".
The Dogon people are in Mali, West Africa and this song is from Guinea, West Africa. Although Dogon languages and Manding (spoken in Guinea) are from the Niger-Congo language group, that doesn't mean that the words which might be similarly spelled mean the same thing.


Information about Mory Kanté is given in comments #27 in the compilation from the discussion thread for the Sound File given as Example #1 below. Information about Mory Kanté is also given in the summary for the video that is given as Example #2 below.

Example #1: Mory Kanté yeke yeke [sound file]

tarekyeerum2006, Published on Jun 30, 2007

Here are selected comments from this sound file's discussion thread. These comments are given in relative chronological order based on their publishing date, except for replies. Numbers are assigned for referencing purposes only.

1. Paul Kuria
"Finally, i found it..i didnt know the artist or the song but heard it when i was a kid and it got stuck in the back of my mind. FYI its the first african song to sell over a million copies in the UK"

"I was a member of a folk dance troop of my university in Egypt, and attended the First African Folk Dance Festival in a stadium on the Suez Canal. More than 80+ troops each walked in to their National anthem. After 4 hours of National anthems we were bored to death. Then Mory Kante sang this song on full blast for Burkina Faso hosting next year's festival, and the stadium went ON FIRE, each dancing his country's folk dance for 20 minutes. It was true African brotherhood.. "

3. MaxtorTechno
"MAMA AFRICA [followed by the internet symbol for "love"]

4. maria giuttari
"my gorgeous friend and her family in africa ...this music is brilliant ...and our song we used to listen on cassette player ...."

5. xuarxu
"Unforgettable summer of extra long and strong heatwave burning greece and everywhere people listen to yeke yeke and im nin alu..."

6. legios07
"Language is manding ( mandingue in french )."

7. Dreadlords N
"Me Like ,Me Like Music , Who Needs Lyrics , i'm Into The Music not the Text ( No Disrespect to Mory) ,,This is Awesome Music , Great Sound Quality .Remember this Song was Nr 1( Eurochart) ,on MTV back in the 80s"

8. Olumide Oluwasegun
"Songs from my childhood. Been looking for it for over 15 years"

9. vadragon1
"Does someone have the traditional version of Yeke yeke by Fatala? Would realy appreciate if someone could load it up."
A pancocojams post that showcases Fatala's performance of "Yeke Yeke" will be published ASAP and that link will be added to this post.

10. Divin Champagne
"Excellent morceau, vive l'Afrique, vive le monde les différences et les cultures de chaque peuple"
Google translate from French to English;
"Excellent piece, long live Africa, long live the world the differences and cultures of each people"

11. sofiane ssou
"the best & the original"
"The original" refers to the original version and not a remix of this song)

12. mannymnts
"is it Bambara?"
This commenter asks which language is used in this song.

13. hahahahha1232
"yeah but the guinean version/ the original called malinke"

14. 3615glouni
"+hahahahha1232 what are you talking about? Explain please my friend.
an older version exist?"
This commenter may have thought that the words "the original" meant "the song" and not "the language that was used for the song."

15. hahahahha1232
"there are 3 large groupe under the Mande people, dyala, means trader and it is the people who live in Southern West africa like Ivory coast, ghana. togo benin. some say they moved down their under the rule of emperor Samory toure then there is Bambara which is spoken in mali. they broke of to them self during 1700's but these people are just a branch of Mandinka because they come from Mande also called the malian emperier in europe and noth america and to this day they still speak mandinka - but there own verison, the dyula and bambara has from french influence dyula more then bambara while malinke is stil all african, Manlinke, mandingo and mandinka the same people there just 3 names for our people and malinke is spoken in the westen parts of West africa, and is the original luangage which is a very old luangage"

16. Azizi Powell, 2017
"hahahahha1232, thank you for that sharing that explanation. It's great that we can learn something about African history while we are listening to this classic song!"

One love!
from an African American sister

17. egalitarian cease-fire
"What is "yeke yeke"?

18. Daria Aras
"+egalitarian cease-fire "one on one"
I added the quotation marks to differentiate the response from the name of the commenter who asked the question.
I wish that Daria Aras had included a written source and/or which language the word "yeke" is from.

19. Chadi Matar
"Big hit in the 1990s all the way from Africa to Beirut.
Good Music has no limit..."

20. Popoche
"+Chadi Matar In France too, whe had this song in night club in 1989 :)"

21. Bata Batke
"Way cool!"
There were other comments that included the word "cool" or which had just the one word "cool". I included this comment as an example of the way that African American Vernacular English words appears to still be used throughout the word (presumably by non-African Americans) even when African Americans have largely stopped using those words.

22. Fat Freddy
"Banging tune. Still a big favourite."
"Banging" = very good. I think that meaning of "banging" originated from the United Kingdom and is quite different from the African American use of "banging" (fighting) in the phrase "gang banging".

23. Merwyn D
"+A.I. Ozymandias i saw and learned of this incredible song in the bollywood film Agneepath.."

24. yosshakalaka, 2016
"+Me Cru Bollywood?? the singer is African and he speaks susu :) , i don't know may be they teach African dance or something in bollywood since they love dancing :)"

25. Merwyn D, 2016
"+yosshakalaka you did not understand me. i heard this song as they had the song as a background tune in the bollywood movie Agneepath in 1990. awesome movie and greater tune."

26. maverick211211
"just proves music has no language or barrier"

27. shemanic1
"Mory Kante is from Guinea, the music is a blend of African music & western electric, sometimes called Afro Manding music. From his album Akwaba Beach, it became an international hit, a special Afro Acid Mix was made for the british charts. He's singing in Mandinka in the griot tradition. He's using the kora harp from Mali. I haven't found out the meaning, yet"

28. Justin Francois Ngome Paul
"beautiful music! African and proud forever"

29. toure aboubacar
"+premier milenkov i found this son in american movie , that movie is adventure movie on netflix, .. and morikante and i are from same country (guinea) 😴😴😴"

30. adam verdy
"+toure aboubacar the beach lionardo dicaprio"

31. aykut uzel
"which language is this ? totally amazing"

32. el zahra sylla
"malinké ou mandingue !"

34. Cardinal Black
"Man do I love this track. Grew up listening throughout my childhood. No one that came to age in the 90s here in East Africa that isn't familiar with it. Adoro!!"

35. Juan Yanes
"Inolvidable esta canción y tan actual. I like it too much. Regards from Canary islands. Spain."
Google translate from Spanish to English
"Unforgettable this song and so current."
"I like it too much" = I really like it a lot". Click for a pancocojams post about the positive use of the adverbial phrase "too much".

36. philip gubb
"The first truly international African hit."

Example #2: Mory Kante-Yeke Yeke (1987) [House Remix]

Canal Tv XTUDO!, Published on Apr 3, 2016

Mory Kante-Musico e instrumentista guineense-Mory Kanté nasceu no dia 29 de Março de 1950, na cidade de Kissidougou, na Guiné Conakry, numa das melhores famílias de músicos descendentes da tradição griot. Foi enviado para o Mali com sete anos. Em 1971, tornou-se membro da Banda Rail, em que Salif Keita era cantor. Keita abandona a banda em 1973 e deixa Mory Kanté como cantor. Mory Kanté é mais conhecido internacionalmente pela canção “Yé Ké Yé Ké”, de 1987, sendo um dos melhores hits de sempre de venda de África, e o número um europeu, em 1988. Tornou-se o single africano que mais vendeu, comercializando mais de um milhão de cópias. As músicas “Yeké Yeké”, “Tama”, “Inch Allah”, do seu quinto disco “Akwaba Beach” foram fonte de inspiração de canções de grande sucesso em filmes indianos.
O artista fez de novo enorme sucesso em 1994, quando “Yeké Yeké” foi regravada em remix por um DJ alemão, e em 2006, pelo DJ britânico Darren Tate.
Mory Kanté foi nomeado Embaixador da Boa Vontade da Organização de Alimentos e Agricultura (FAO), da Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU).
O seu disco de maior sucesso intitula-se “Akwaba Beach” e foi lançado em 1987, tendo atingido o número um na Suíça. O primeiro single “Yé Ké Yé Ké” foi o número um na Holanda, número dois na Alemanha e cinco na França.
O seu último disco de originais, “La Guinéenne”, foi lançado no dia 2 de Maio deste ano e é dedicado a todas as mulheres africanas.
Do seu repertório constam as obras discográficas, “Courougnegre” (1981), “N’Diarabi” (1982), “A Paris” (1984), “10 nozes de kola” (1985), “Touma” (1990), “Nongo Vila” (1994), “Tatebola” (1996), “Tamala – Le Voyageur” (2001) , “Best Of” (2002), “Sabou” (2004).

Fonte: JA
Google translate fromFrench to English
"Mory Kante-Musician and Guinean instrumentalist-Mory Kanté was born on 29 March 1950, in the town of Kissidougou, Guinea Conakry, one of the best families of musicians descended from the Griot tradition. He was sent to Mali at the age of seven. In 1971, he became a member of Band Rail, in which Salif Keita was a singer. Keita quits the band in 1973 and leaves Mory Kanté as a singer. Mory Kanté is best known internationally for the song "Yé Ké Yé Ké" from 1987, being one of the best selling hits of Africa, and the number one European in 1988. It became the African single that sold the most, commercializing more than one million copies. The songs "Yeké Yeké", "Tama", "Inch Allah" from their fifth album "Akwaba Beach" were a source of inspiration for songs of great success in Indian films.
The artist made huge success again in 1994, when "Yeké Yeké" was remixed by a German DJ and in 2006 by British DJ Darren Tate.
Mory Kanté was named Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Their most successful album is entitled "Akwaba Beach" and was released in 1987, having reached number one in Switzerland. The first single "Yé Ké Yé Ké" was number one in the Netherlands, number two in Germany and five in France.
Her latest album, "La Guinéenne", was released on May 2 this year and is dedicated to all African women.
His repertoire includes the recordings of "Courougnegre" (1981), "N'Diarabi" (1982), "A Paris" (1984), "10 kola nuts" (1985), "Touma" (2001), "Best of" (2002), "Sabou" (2004), and "Titobola" (1996)."

Here are selected comments from this sound file's discussion thread. These comments are given in relative chronological order based on their publishing date, except for replies. Numbers are assigned for referencing purposes only.

Mustapha Aminu
"One love African"

"This is a world class music right here, my African brothers and sisters!!!"

Charlotte Manga
"From which country ?love it"

Mohamed Fofana
"Charlotte Manga Guinea, Conakry. The Mandingo world"

"There is a bollywood song copy of this one..which one is it?"

Aratrika Sengupta
"tamma tamma loge"

Ruth Mckay
"Used to set dance floors on fire with this one, absolutely brilliant."

yekeke - fatala

sensualvibes, Published on Apr 26, 2012

Time heals all wounds
No matter how much one is weeping
The moon always follows the sun.
Eat your banana's and fresh leaves,
And don't cry anymore,
Because forever and ever
The moon will follow the sun.
(african poem)
good night my love, sleep well and dream of all the thing you love ....
I don't know anything about this poem, including if it has anything to do with the song "Yeke Yeke"
According to Google search, "Fatala" is a river or stream in Guinea. Unfortunately, I couldn't find information about the musical group named "Fatala".

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  1. The only guy who'd ever truly know what it means is the person who wrote it.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Unknown.

      You wrote that only the composer ever truly knows what it means. Yes, but did he share that information with anyone else and, if so, what did he say?