Vagrancy, Permanence and the Sense of Home 1

The next series of ‘video’ montage postings will be dealing with a single song, which I’ve translated as Fishing for Our Lord. This is a rare treat because I shan’t be putting up every Salia Koroma song in its entirety given the length of most of the ballads. With this particular song, I’ve chosen to edit it into about five sections. This first part deals with the prelude and a third of the quest for the njagbo. Be on the lookout for the other parts.
On the surface, it sounds a tad monotonous with its refrain: “I didn’t see any njagbo there,” or “It didn’t have any njagbo attached.” Salia himself may have realised this, for in this 1980 version he chose to preface the song (in Krio), essentially telling the casual non-Mende listener that he’s dealing with many things and not just repeating a line over and again. (I edited out that spoken preface here.) It’s a very complex song thematically. In my next few postings I shall be discussing the song.

*** Meanwhile, pay attention to the lines about him not wanting to be any one’s slave companion had he lived in the days of the old Mende wars. Note the hypothetical case. Some lines later, when Salia ups and sets out fishing, the language changes in a very subtle way. He’s no longer supposing; he’s there; the conditionality of the earlier language is gone. What we see is that the first scenario (old wars/slavery days) is a poetic device, a peg on which he’s going to hang many themes and explore them systematically. Note also the anachronisms. In the olden days there’d have been no airplanes, no electricity and things like that. But as I said, it’s a poetic device, a clever way to treat disparate themes.

See the Salia Collection in the sidebar for “Fishing for Our Father I. Once again, enjoy, you very Happy Few!


Posted on April 20, 2009, in Salia Koroma, Vagrancy And The Sense Of Home and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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