Saturday, May 10, 2014

Prince Nico Mbarga & Rocafil Jazz - "Sweet Mother" (with English & Spanish lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases the song "Sweet Mother" by the Nigerian/Cameroonian singer Prince Nico Mbarga. Information about this song and about Prince Nico Mbarga is also included in this post. A Nigerian Pidgin and Spanish transcription of this song are also featured in this post.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

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

Thanks to Prince Nico Mbarga for his composition of "Sweet Mother" and for his performance of this song with his band Rocafil Jazz. Thanks also to the sound file publisher of this sound file and the transcribers of the lyrics for this song.

"Prince Nico Mbarga (1 January 1950 – 24 June 1997) was a highlife musician, born to a Nigerian mother and a Cameroonian father in Abakaliki, Nigeria. He is renowned for his hit song "Sweet Mother", recorded with his band Rocafil Jazz.

...Mbarga played an important role in the evolution of African popular music. With his soulful vocals set to the light melodies of his acoustic guitar, Mbarga created a unique hybrid of Igbo and Congolese guitar playing and uplifting highlife rhythms. He formed his own group, Rocafil Jazz, to perform regularly at the Naza Hotel in the eastern Nigerian city of Onitsha...

Sung in Pidgin English, "Sweet Mother" became one of the top sellers in the history of Nigerian music. In the six years that Mbarga and Rocafil Jazz remained with Rogers All Stars, 1975 to 1981, they recorded nine albums."...

Sweet Mother" is a highlife song by the Nigerian and Cameroonian singer Prince Nico Mbarga and his band Rocafil Jazz. Released in 1976, it remains one of the most popular songs in Africa.

The demo-tape of "Sweet Mother" was turned down by EMI in 1974, citing the song's "childish appeal." "Sweet Mother" was later also rejected by Decca Records and Philips Records, before it was eventually released in December, 1976, by Rogers All Stars, a Nigerian recording company based in Onitsha.[1][2]

The song is a celebration of motherhood, sung in Nigerian Pidgin English. The music is West African highlife, with Congolese Soukous-style guitar finger-picking.

"Sweet Mother" went on to become one of the most popular hits in Africa, selling over 13 million copies.[1] Sometimes called Africa's anthem, it was voted Africa's favourite song by BBC readers and listeners in 2004, coming before Brenda Fassie's "Vuli Ndlela", Fela Kuti's "Lady", Franco's "Mario" and Miriam Makeba's version of "Malaika".[3]"


killero72, Uploaded on Apr 13, 2009

[Nigerian English Creole Lyrics]
Sweet Mother
Sweet mother I no go forget you
for the suffer wey you suffer for me.

Sweet mother I no go forget you
for the suffer wey you suffer for me.

When I dey cry, my mother go carry me she go say,
my pikin, wetin you dey cry ye, ye,
stop stop, stop stop make you no cry again oh.

When I won sleep, my mother go pet me,
she go lie me well well for bed,
she cover me cloth, sing me to sleep,
sleep sleep my pikin oh.

When I dey hungry, my mother go run up and down.
she go find me something when I go chop oh.

Sweet mother I no go forget you for the suffer wey you suffer for me

When I dey sick, my mother go cry, cry, cry,
she go say instead when I go die make she die.

O, she go beg God,
God help me, God help, my pikin oh.

If I no sleep, my mother no go sleep,
if I no chop, my mother no go chop, she no dey tire oh.

Sweet mother I no go forget you,
for the suffer wey you suffer for me.

You fit get another wife, you fit get another husband,
but you fit get another mother? No!

And if I forget you, therefore I forget my life and the air I breathe.

And then on to you men, forget, verily, forget your mother,
for if you forget your mother you've lost your life.

Here are some standard English translation of various Nigerian Pidgin words & other words in this song
pickin = (small) "child" ; This is an affectionate general referent which is the same as "pickaninny"

wetin = why do you

pat (on the back to comfort)

lie = lay

chop = eat

dey = am

fit = can

This line here means "I implore you not to forget your mother"
[Spanish Lyrics]
Dulce madre nunca te olvidaré,
por todo el sufrimiento que pasaste por mi.
Cuando yo lloraba mi madre me tomaba en su brazos y me decía."
Mi niño para de llorar , ya no llores...
cuando yo no podía dormir mi madre se acostaba a mi lado,
me cubría y me cantaba "duermete mi niño".
Cuando tenia hambre mi madre corría
y por todos lados me buscaba algo para que yo comiera.
Dulce madre nunca voy a olvidarte
por todo el sufrimiento que pasaste por mi.
Cuando me enfermaba, mi madre lloraba
y decía que mejor se moría ella antes que su hijo."
Oh Señor ayúdame , ayuda a mi nino!"
Si yo no dormia, mi madre no dormia,
Si yo no comia ,ella tampoco,
ella nunca se nunca se cansaba.
Oh Dulce madre nunca voy a olvidarte
por todo lo que sufriste por mi.
Tú puedes conseguir otra esposa,
tú te puedes conseguir otro esposo,
pero ¿Puedes conseguir otra madre? No!
...Madre si yo te alguna vez te olvido,
entonces me estaría olvidando de mi vida
y del aire que respiro.
Y esto es para ustedes ,
nunca se olviden de sus madres
porque si lo hacen habrán perdido sus vidas.

This transcription was reformatted for this post.
Click for a slightly different Nigerian English Creole version of this song.
Here's an interesting comment about Prince Nico Mbarga"s "Sweet Mother" that was written by visualito as a summary to this 2007 sound file of that song by

"One of great african hits from 70's
This song is very popular in my city Barranquilla ( Colombia ) where is known as "mazuza".

In 70's african music came to barranquilla and still remains today very popular.
Songs like "one day suffer go finish" by Super negro bantous, "aki special" by prince nico mbarga and artist like mbilia bell and pepe kalle are very popular.

This music will live forever."


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