Rap Music from Gambella

Good news, Africa music fans! After several long months away, we’re back in Gambella, discovering still more of the exciting music-making happening along Ethiopia’s western border.

Today we’re featuring Kamal and Athurkare, two talented young rap artists from the youth music collective Many Bëënyö (Many Bëënyö, in the Anywaa language, means “Looking for Hope.”) They compose lyrics aimed at inspiring and advising their fellow youth to work hard for their future and to get along with one another.

Without further ado, here they are performing live for us in Gambella town:

Kamal and Athurkare’s musical style and the way they dress is inspired by rap artists such as 50 Cent, but they have made the genre their own by rapping about subjects that are relevant to their own community. “What inspires me is [American rappers’] style, and the way they sing,” Kamal said. “What I don’t like about them, some of their songs, is when they insult or attack people.” Clearly, Kamal and Athurkare’s message is quite the opposite, in fact.

Athurkare and Kamal have written other songs intended to make a positive impact on their community, such as the rap that Kamal wrote to encourage people to work hard for their success. “One of the problems that I see or I know with my community is they are ashamed of going to work,” Kamal said. “You know, making their own business and get something from it. They are ashamed of that…So, for me to give them a lesson, I decided to address that work is not really bad…It’s good for us. We have to dedicate ourselves to work so that we can succeed in our life.”

Such messages for the community is one of Kamal’s main motivations for becoming a musician. “I think, the best way for me to address the entire community to compose a song and address the problem that is happening with my tribe, or in my community,” he said. “So, this is one of the reasons why I decided to compose my own song and be an artist.”

Clearly, Many Bëënyö boasts some impressive talent and a great message for the their fellow Anywaa. It’s going to be exciting to see where their music takes them in the future!

As per usual, we have the wonderful Mr. Ojho Othow to thank for his excellent translation. For those who are interested, here is the complete transliteration (written in Anywaa) and the English lyrics:

Manna nyooth dëël
We’re putting on a show
Manna nyooth dëël o jøø
Check it out
Manna nyooth dëël
We’re putting on a show
O jøø cøøa wïï (2x)
Friends, I hope get us

Ba keri köö ni mooi teeng dööta ngi, cøøa wïï (2x)
Don’t say, “What kind of trash is this?”, we hope you get us
Nyooth dëëri nø, këël ki tïïc mari, keel ki ngaap mari
Show yourself, your work, and your life’s struggles
Poot gääbö jïri
All these things are good for you
Manna nyooth dëël
We’re putting on a show
Manna nyooth dëël o jøø
Check it out

Manna nyooth dëël
We’re putting on a show
O jøø cøøa wïï (2x)
Friends, I hope get us

Aana K nyilaar G,
I am K [Kamal] from G [Gambella]
ni näk maa akuyï,
If you don’t know me
ngäca kany,
Now is the time and place to know me
wala pëëyï ki dhaanhø ni manø anga, bëëde kaa,
Or ask someone next to you where this guy is from
ba ni näk mii manya kar bëëte mara ö i kaläp Many Bëënyö,
If you want to really know where I live, just join Many Bëënyö
Many Bëënyö bee kanyo rïïa yie,
Many Bëënyö is where I spend most of my time
bee kanyo mätha yie,
It is where I eat and drink

Ba ni näk mo i manya paac, ö i Bëëthi-Naam town, di nyootha Akway Caam Jïri,
If you want to find me, just come to Bëëthi-Naam town, Akway Caam will show you where it is*
ba apaa ngatta angeem, jwïëya paa jwïëa angeem, yea angäya bëët raap
I’m not against anyone, I don’t have this kind of attitude, I just love the rap style
ki ngeethø, ki mëër, amëër ki jiy bëët , ni bung nyi-män jïra
I have a good time, and I accept all people; I don’t make enemies
oranga dëëra, dëëra patha dëëra ageem
I don’t see myself as being against other people
nyenga paa nyenga ageem, yah
My reputation is not one of opposition
aano ngäädhö ki jwïëy møa ni jwïëc kwääk,
I’m confident enough to joke around
aano ngäädhö ki jwïëy møa ni jwïëc ngeethø
I’m confident enough to have sense of humor
aano ngäädhö ki jwïëy møa ni jwïëc mëër
I’m confident enough to have an attitude of love
Ok, nee ngøla yie, aana dhaanh mëër, atut man bëëda yie bee atut mëër,
Ok, let me be brief: I’m an accepting person, just like my village
Jaay ø caarø ngø? Manyø bëët mëër,
Guys, what are we spending our time thinking about? Let us pursue peace
Nøø pïëö i caae mooi tïïya bëët mëëri.
Peace is the reason that we’re here today
Kwäägö naa ciel, jaay kwäägö naa aciel, bee dwør mëër
Let’s get along together, guys, let’s get along together, this is what love’s all about

Ba keri köö ni mooi teeng dööta ngi, cøøa wïï (2x)
Don’t say, “What kind of trash is this?”, we hope you get us
Nyooth dëëri nø, këël ki tïïc mari, keel ki ngaap mari
Show yourself, your work, and your life’s struggles
Poot gääbö jïri
All these things are good for you

Manna nyooth dëël
We’re putting on a show
Manna nyooth dëël o jøø
Check it out
Manna nyooth dëël
We’re putting on a show
O jøø cøøa wïï (2x)
Friends, I hope get us

Keri duu dëëra o jøø, i ranga mar coka
Don’t be against me, friends, I consider you as brothers
Nøø bëëdö ni ø mëër o jøø bee man manya.
Friends, what I want is to live with you in peace
Ba keri köö ni mara mwøl, man bee bëëta
This doesn’t make me foolish, this is just my attitude
Keri koorø bääta thøw, i pera riemmø buuta
Don’t make fun of me, I will just ignore you
Ni bung caae jïra
I don’t have time to tolerate this kind of attitude
Moabëënö manna tïïc mari tïïyï jïra, kiper ï ena bäät bïït cooth manøgø ngää,
Moabëënö, this is your work, do it for me, I know that you’re always making beats**
Ni näk mo kuyyu wäät-jaay, man bee dwøra,
Guys, if you don’t know, this is my message for all of you
Uuna pwøøa kiper mana wïnyu mara, yah
Thank you for your attention, yah

* Bëëthi-Naam is the village where Kamal and Athurkare live (in the English transliteration, you may see “Vetinam.”)

** Moabëënö is one of the music producers in Gambella region.

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