Sunday, May 10, 2015

Prince Nico Mbarga - "Sweet Mother" (sound file, lyrics, comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a sound file of and lyrics for Prince Nico Mbarga now classic 1976 song "Sweet Mother". Selected comments from this sound file's discussion thread are also included in this post.

The Addendum to this post features a video of Nigerian vocalist Tilda singing Prince Nico Mbarga's song "Sweet Mother".

The contents of this post are presented for cultural, entertainment, inspirational, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Prince Nico Mbarga and his band Rocafil Jazz for their musical legacy. Thanks also to the publisher of these examples on YouTube and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

In addition, thanks to all mothers and mother figures who take care of and care for children.

SHOWCASE EXAMPLE Prince Nico Mbarga Sweet Mother

visualito, Uploaded on Apr 10, 2007

One of great african hits from 70's

This song is very popular in my city Barranquilla ( Colombia ) where is known as "mazuza".
Click for information about Prince Nico Mbarga (1 January 1950 – 24 June 1997).

(composed by Prince Nico Mbarga)

Sweet mother I no go forget you
For dey suffer we you suffer for me yeah [2x]

When i dey crry my mother go carry me
She go say my pikin wetin you dey cry yeah yeah
Stop stop! stop stop!! stop stop!!!
Make you no cry again oo

When i wan sleep my mother go pet me
She go lie me well-well for bed
She go cover me cloth say make you sleep
Sleep sleep my pikin oooo

When i dey hungry my mom go run up and down
She dey find me somthing we i go chop
Sweet mother eeeeee..sweet mother oooo..eee

When i dey sick my mother go cry cry cry
She go say instead wey i go die make she die
She go beg God, God help me, God help me, my pikin oo

If i no sleep, my mother no go sleep
If i no chop, my mother no go chop
She no dey tire ooo
Sweet mother i no go forget dey suffer wey you suffer for me yeah yeah
Sweet mother eeeeeeeeeeee
Sweet mother oooo....eeeee


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


when i dey hungry my mom go run up and down
she dey find me somthing we i go chop
sweet mother aaaaaa...sweet mother oooo..eee

when i dey sick my mother go cry cry cry
she go say instead wey i go die make she die
she go beg God, God help me, God help me, my pikin oo

If i no sleep, my mother no go sleep
If i no chop, my mother no go chop
she no dey tire ooo
sweet mother i no go forget dey suffer wey you suffer for me yeah yeah
Sweet mother aaaaaaaaaaaaa
Sweet mother eeee..ooooooo
Sweet mother aaaaaaaaaaaaa
Sweet mother eeee..ooooooo

Source: by schompification schompye, 2014
Profesor Jair posted the same lyrics in 2014.

Another commenter, ScottShuster, indicated that the word "stuffed" was sung instead of the word "stop" in the line given above as "Stop stop! stop stop!! stop stop!!!", with "stuffed" meaning "stuff your mouth with the mother's breast [the baby being breastfed]. Another commenter with a (Yoruba) Nigerian name AFOLABI ALADE agreed with him. However, "stop" is usually given as the word that is sung in that line.

Source: Nigerian Pidgen dictionary

"i no go forget dey suffer wey you suffer for me" = I'll never forget your sufferring (sacrifices), the way you sufferred (sacrificed) for me

"pikin" = young child, baby, child

"When i dey hungry my mom go run up and down
She dey find me somthing we i go chop" = When I am hungry, my mom goes here and there to find me something to eat. [dey= to be, am]

"If i no chop, my mother no go chop" = if I don't have anything to eat, my mother doesn't have anything to eat (implying that his mother would give sacrifice eating for her child)

she no dey tire = she doesn't get tired

"she go say instead wey i go die make she die" = she says "Instead of me dying, make her die"

"fit" = can ("You fit get another wife
you fit get another husband
but you fit get another mother? No!") = You can get another wife, you can get another husband, bus can you get another mother? No!

These comments are posted in relative chronological order with the oldest dated comments given first. Selected comments However, these selected comments may not be in consecutive order.

visualito, 2006
[In response to a question about whether people in Colombia understood the Pidgen words in this song.]
"No, In Barranquilla many people only hear the lyrics thinkin in sapanish and name the sogns with an alias acording with a showy word, in this case, the singer says "ma-zuza" and somebody named the song "mazuza".
I know many song with these alias, and recently (10 years) I discover the real names."

soukous70, 2007
in reply to visualito
"Thank you so much for sharing this information! I always wondered how the Champeta folks got a hold of this old african guitar music! They use it to great effect,I think they,in their own way,really pay respect to African musical tradition.This song has been made and re-made so many times,it is truly a classic,like 'guantanamera' in spanish language music..."

Cynthia Emanuel, 2007
"Its the most beautiful African song I've ever heard. Its our Mother's Day Theme Song every year in St. Lucia, Caribbean. The African Caribbean connection is quite clear in this music."

mber01, 2007
"This song is still played in most Caribbean countries, especially around Mother's Day. I am from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia and we grew up listening to The Great Prince Nico. Even today. Although we have migrated to other countries, we still paly his music."

tulani99, 2007
"This song was a hit in Zimbabwe at one point. It also won a BBC poll of most popular African song. Way to go my broad"
"my broad" probably means "my brother".

fanniterrette, 2007
"This song was a big hit in a house full of suburban white Catholics in the Midwest (U.S.A.) who had had very little exposure to African music before I set the needle down on this pulsating number and the rest of the Nico Mbarga album, which shows how infectious the music is. Love to hear it again, thanks for posting!"

ghanahumanright, 2007
"GHANA!! The time we are growing, this song accompanied abroad, it let we remember our sweet mothers, God bless them"

OmenDoomDeath, 2007
"I love this song since I was a littie girl growing up in Sierra Leone, Every time we have a party , every one dance's to this song I glad I found it on youtube. Isatu from Mahera"

"The Sweet Mother and many more Primce Nico Mbarga songs were very popular back in the seventies in Mano River,Liberia .These songs brings back sweet memories instead of the uglyness of civel war!"

willian de jesus padilla padilla, 2008
"hey you people, i,ve got to tell you: this music is very apeciated in cartagena, barranquilla, santamarta and all the towns in carribean coasts of Clombia Suramenrica. they love this classics as his own!"

vixxy02, 2008
"All this bickering about where Prince Nicco was from is so childish! I'm Naija to the maxx and I love my country,and culture etc, but I must nay WE must give credit where credit is due.He was CAMEROUNIAN with a Nigerian mother.His music has elements of rhumba/makossa,as this is the popular music of Cameroun,as well as elements of Nigerian highlife,which epitomises Prince Nicco-unique and sweet just like his music!
Without his CAMEROUNIAN AND NIGERIAN heritage we would not have had such a LEGEND!"

Ebony Dean, 2008
"He lived in Onitsha, Nigeria where he ran a joint called Nico Line at Old Market Road and was playing regularly there. He kept huge afro hair cut and rode a honda motorbike CD 195. I still remember clearly him riding around Onitisha those days. The beautiful yesteryears... anyho, I guess I am not off on a tangent."
He kept huge afro hair= He wore his hair in a huge afro.

stylishnene, 2008
"this is a CLASSIC
It can never fade

Love it"
A number of commenters with Nigerian names wrote that this song is "everygreen". That means the same thing as "it can never fade".

funkg, 2008
"this was a big tune in my household growing up in the east end of london"

mikoquillero, 2009
"Greetings to all my africans brothers, his music was so huge that influence a lot our lives in the caribean region of Colombia, specially in my city Barranquilla, and others like Cartagena and Santa Marta. God bless mother Africa!!!"

Brenda Mande, 2009
"well the mum is Nigerian,the dad is a Cameroonian,Mbarga is an Ewondo,name"

peaches4you, 2009
"Just so i can put some few misconceptions to bed..Prince Nico Nbarga was a&struggling musician..he approached the owner of a new label with his master tape of SWEET MOTHER after being turned down by many companies..he was then offered 500 NAIRA(about$700 in those days..the 70"s) for the full rights of the fate will have it the album became a monster selling over 10 million copies,but he had signed the rights away......."

Paulette Sedegan, 2009
"You go boy!!!
Very original, llke most African songs. It reminds me of my days in Mali Africa during the 70's.
Ca me rapelle mes vieux jour au Mali durant les annees 70."

AquaCherokee27, 2009
"There is no way you can finish a celebration, wedding, party whatever without this song. My husband has a CD with this song on it. It runs for 12 minutes. Happy times o."

mtafiti, 2009
"i used to hear this song after the 1 pm news in the now Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, then Voice of Kenya. Now i know where it is coming from. Naija-Cameroon, oh yeah!! Good! But i never used to hear the Moda, it was mother to my ears. Being young is being innocent!"

dfunk4real, 2009
"This song was voted as the best african song of all time followed by brenda fassie's "Vulindlela" and the Fela Anikulapo Kuti's "Lady""

Traggy rambotee , 2009
"I was raised in zimbabwe , and this song is probably the best song to ever come from Africa .Even though most zimbabweans listens to south african music , this song is absolutely an african jewel . its sentimental song on the other hand it shows attachment , rapport . African heriage is homogeneous and it is music which embraces the spirit of african renaissance"

Traggy rambotee , 2009
"Undoubtebly the best song ever to come from Africa , even to our generation born in the late seventies from the southern part of Africa Botwswana, Zimbabweand South Africa ;this is a well respected song ."

Sandra Nwajiaku, 2010
"Sweet Mother I no go forget u - happy times - a traditional stalwart at all the Nijah do's I've been too.. a floor filler fo sho':
Nijah= Naija (9jah) = contemporary way of saying "Nigeria"/"Nigerian"

"Nijah do's= Nigerian parties

"A floor filler fo sho'"= a record that is sure to get people up out of their seats and dancing.

BajanC, 2010
"I love this song so much. It reminds me of my childhood watching my parents hosting house parties and everyone swinging to this one. I used to love hearing my older broher singing this (he has a great voice). I never knew it was Nigerian - I'm British born of Barbadian parents and we loved it. I used to think it was a sepcial type of calyso! Funny how all nationalities claim this as their own eh? All the same - the sentiment is spot on. My mum is the best and I'm blessed to have her."

realhiphopnation25, 2011
"For all the people who keep trying to figure out which country has "ownership" of this man or song, just know that Nigeria and Cameroon used to be one country until the British separated us. This song is sung in Nigerian Pidgin but has a Cameroon melody. Embrace it, we are all one. Where Nigerians are, Cameroons are and vice versa. Africa unite!"

vixxy02, 2011
"@Kenx95 His mother was not Igbo, she was Ejagham from Ikom in Northern Cross River State."

Jehu Djuekou, 2011
in reply to realhiphopnation25
"@realhiphopnation25 I'm from Cameroon and this has been a major topic over and over again back home... Truth been told right here, we'all ONE!!! WORD UP"

Henry Brown, 2012
"I remember this music as if it was just yesterday. But it is as far back as1975, and I remember just were I was when I hear this music on BBC (Focus on Africa). I knew this music would have change the WORLD and it did. OUR SWEET MOTHERS, WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOUR FOR THE LOVE AND SUFFERING THAT YOUR DID FOR US, AND CONTINUE TO DO."

kelb57, 2012
"I can believe I've heard this song about every time I go to an Afircan party."

Uche Ogbuji, 2012
"I wager that if you could truly survey all the people on earth, and not just those easily reachable by typical media and technological methods, Prince Nico's "Sweet Mother" would turn out to be the most popular song ever. It's amazing the stories I'v heard of how the song is loved in all surprising parts of the world. Truly a song for the people. What a loss was the premature death of prince Nico!"

mdl11225, 2013
"My mother is Jamaican and played this song at ALL of her parties in North London in the 70s. I heard this song for the first time in 35 years last Saturday at a family gathering in North London. It was nice to see the dance floor full with ALL those friends and family members from the 70s that used to dance to this at my house when I was knee high to a grasshopper (LOL) and they knew ALL the words! The dj had to pull it up and start again. Good Memories, my mum would be happy. :-)"

Harrison Nwozo, 2014
Wey my Old Skool Nigerians at??
Ok...the Youngies suppose sabi this one......
This comment appears to combine African American Vernacular English with Nigerian Pidgen:
"Where are the Nigerians that like old school music (music from the olden days/the past?
Ok. I suppose the young folks know this one" [sabi= to know something or someone]
tracyfins, 2015
[response to Harrison Nwozo]
"Present sir !"

mskayaz, 2015
"It's also popular in the Belizean community. One of my favorite jams too, :-)"

Asedri Amin Amin, 2015
"Prince Nico was African born of Cameroonian and Nigerian parents. He was raised and lived in Nigeria until he died at the age of 47 in a motorcycle accident. Tilda successful sang lyrics of Prince Nico's songs despite she's a Cameroonian. The border between Nigeria and Cameroon has people that belong to same tribe divided into two separate countries by British colonial rule. Nigeria with the biggest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the entire Africa, needs her neighbors especiatially Ivory Coast which has the highest GDP in Sub Shaharan west Africa. For Africans, Fathers not only mean a lot, but also determine their African tribal race. Prince Nico been born with Cameroonian Father and retained his Mother's Nigerian Nationality says a lot about changing cultural norms in Africa."

Asedri Amin Amin, 2015
..."I'm still in a state of s[h]ock myself to find out that this historical outstanding music was sung by a Nigerian! In my East Central African nation, this music went viral in early 80s and we had no info who the singer represent. Zaire been popular at the time, a lot of us assumed, he was a Congolese. Well, the chandelier just came crashing down! Nigeria has being rocking African world all along
Not only in music, one of the best literature book taught in African high schools is written by Nigerian Chenua Achebe titled "Things fall apart ", finally in 21st century, U.S. has acknowledged Achebe's literary academic work in some colleges. My calculations are, eyes on Nigeria!."

Paula Rodriguez, 2015
"Nico left a song that will forever be played and remembered. My family would party to this song in the living room and I would peep out and see all those moves that I just had to learn. Boy, did I learn those dances."


Rogers All Stars Channel Published on Jul 17, 2014


Original song was by Prince Nico Mbarga.

"Sweet Mother" is a highlife song by the Nigerian and Cameroonian singer Prince Nico Mbarga and his band.

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