Exploits of Tortoise and Hare
Traditional African Stories
1/5/9/12/16. Choir of Main Road Primary, Jinja, recorded 1997. A young man's mother disapproves of his choice of bride, and tests her unfairly till the community protests.
2. Ni Wapi Banana? Swahili pop song in praise of bananas. In Uganda 300 varieties of banana are grown.
3. Tortoise Doesn't Fly. Pride comes before a great fall. This explanation of why tortoise's shell seems broken is also told by Alerindians.
4. Kilimanjaro. Swahili pop song. "Wife, let's go on a journey to see the great mountain."
6. Tortoise Builds a House. Better to sing and dance when you can, life is fleeting. In some versions of the story it is Lion who competes with Tortoise.
7. Tortoise Saves the Animals. Slow and steady is not stupid. Fast and flashy is not clever. The problems of droughts are not new.
8. Everybody Loves Saturday Night. A Nigerian Yoruba Highlife celebration song loved around the world.
10. The Fire King of the Birds. Why the birds fly around in flocks, seeking something. A story I found in a booklet sold from a pavement in Kampala in 1997.
11. Pole Mzee. A Kenyan freedom song. Sorry, Mzee Kenyatta, you were locked up because you struggled hard for freedom. Mzee means old man, a term of great respect.
13. A Good Turn Deserves a Bad Turn. Michael Kerins tells a different version of this tale featuring Snake instead of Tiger. I have stolen his 'snake's honour' idea.
14. I Ziga Zumba. Brought back from South Africa by Boer War veterans. Taught to me by my father. I met Prince Mpose Mamba of the Swazi people, a storyteller. He assured me that the words are respectable.
15. Tiger and the Big Wind. This West African story of greed punished came to me via Jamaica.
This CD is specially created to raise funds for the Mengo Mutessa Street Kids Project in Kampala's metal-working quarter.
Recorded © 2005/3, 1997.
Track 5 previously appeared on GAL 009.
The stories are my retellings of traditional African tales. The words and details change from one telling to another.
Saturday Night learned in Scotland, Swahili songs when I lived and worked in Uganda then Kenya in 1961-1964.