Abayudaya - Music from the Jewish People of Uganda
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Abayudaya - Music from the Jewish People of Uganda (Smithsonian Folkways)

Psalm 136
Hiwumbe Awumba
Katonda Oyo Nalimana

The record label says:
Abayudaya: The Music of the Jews of Uganda presents a unique collection of African-Jewish music in which the rhythms and harmonies of Africa blend with Jewish celebration and traditional Hebrew prayer. This compelling repertoire is rooted in local Ugandan music and infused with rich choral singing, Afro-pop, and traditional drumming. The repertoire includes lullabies, political and children's song, religious rituals, hymns, and celebratory music, with song texts in Hebrew, English, and several Ugandan languages. This singular community of African people living committed Jewish lives has survived persecution and isolation and asserts, "We have been saved by our music."

Supplemental notes and lyrics Notes on translation and transcription: When singing psalms in Luganda, the Abayudaya make certain changes to the text of Bible. The actual performance is transcribed, followed in brackets by the printed biblical text. When translating biblical or traditional liturgical text, I give the entire text in Luganda or Hebrew followed by the entire translation of the text in English. Biblical translations are taken from Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures: The New Jewish Publication Society Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society 1988). English translations and transcriptions of Hebrew liturgical passages, are taken as indicated from Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals (New York: The Rabbinic Assembly 1998) and Kol Haneshamah, Shabbat Eve (Wyncote, PA: The Reconstructionist Press 1989).

When presenting translations of other songs in Luganda, Lusoga, Lugwere and Lunyole, I give interlinear translation. Orthography is contested in these languages and here I use the spelling chosen by leaders of the Abayudaya community.

The Abayudaya's Hebrew pronunciation is influenced by Luganda, where words end with a vowel. As a result, when singing in Hebrew, the Abayudya often add a vowel to the end of a word. Thus, likrat, "to welcome" becomes likrati, and olam "world," becomes olamu.

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