I don't often get the opportunity to share the story about a song or go in-depth about it. Sound like a good blog topic? I think so too!
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to lead some songs for Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light's Prayer Circle after a rally at the Capitol. The organizer attends the church I work at (Hi Julia!) and already had ideas of what songs and vibe she wanted to create. This was on some short notice, so we agreed on songs me and my amazing guitarist and right hand man, Jim, already knew. Julia promised to make song sheets and away we go.
Cut to the prayer circle.
After listening to poetry, singing prayers from Jewish and Christian traditions, and taking part in a loving kindness Buddhist meditation, we are at the point of sending ourselves out into the world. Julia selected a song from South Africa, Hamba Nathi, whose catchy rhythm and simple melody have a way of imprinting itself on people's hearts & souls that they find themselves singing or humming it days later.
I started with having people echo the Xhosa words in short phrases after me. As I'm about to tell them about a new verse we made up for the day ("Climate justice for all living things" - you're welcome), someone asks what the translation is. In that moment, I couldn't remember if the English verses on their piece of paper is a close translation or something completely different, so I just affirmed it was the poetic translation of the first English verse: Come walk with us the journey is long. Cross fingers and toes and promise to check when I get home (and thank you for blogging to correct my mistakes and ask forgiveness!).
I am here to tell you it is a poetic translation! (Phew!)
Check out a little bit of the song here.
This gave me an opportunity to learn a little about the translator and song pollinator, Anders Nyberg. Please checkout this Swedish conductor's mission of bridging one of the most Northern countries with the world's most Southern. It is inspiring to me. You may recognize one of his songs. "Freedom is coming" is one from my college years. It's another amazing catchy tune full of hope that will carry you through a number of days. Do watch the YouTube video at the end of the page (after listening to the embedded songtrack) for a performance with great hand and foot choreography.