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Robert DeCormier

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Bayeza (1960)
G Schirmer Inc
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
2 Minutes
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Programme Note
Robert DeCormier Bayeza (1960)
In America, certain songs, (Christmas songs, "Happy Birthday to You," etc.) are closely connected with specific occasions. "Bayeza" is closely connected with certain African village ceremonies. If the melodies seem to repeat themselves almost endlessly, realize that they might be more like a choral accompaniment to a dance, rather than a "song" as we know it. The dance might be extremely syncopated and complicated, so the song would intentionally be kept simple.

The craft of the African shaman is built around a number of spirits, each with its own particular function. One of the more mischevious of these is the Nomothotholo, which, among other doubtful habits, hovers over the chimney tops of houses, and reports any useful conversation to the shaman, and is not above running down the chimney from time to time to steal tobacco if it is left lying about. This song is an invocation to this spirit to come with the dawn.

This song is one of the simplest to learn, and can be taught to an audience and sung in three- or four-part harmony within a few minutes. It is printed here in the exact arrangement transcribed in Africa. It becomes quite effective when parts are gradually added and then taaken away. There is no need for Englsih lyrics, since the few African words are so easily pronounceable.

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