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NightChants: African (Chindau) Settings

Mateka (ensemble)


Chililo (alto solo)

Score Sample

Mafuve (women)


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NOTE: From the Ndau tribe (East Africa). The Chindau songs are the composer's arrangements of transcriptions found in Natalie Curtis' Songs and Tales from the Dark Continent, Schirmer, 1920.

Mateka (Rain Ceremony)

NOTE: Nyamakambala (Thunder of the East) means that rain is coming. The thunder is caused by Halakavauma (the noisemaker) who dwells in the sky and looks like the great river tortoise. They hit against each other, making a great noise because they are hard. Mbeni (the outspread one) is the lightning, a bird whose right wing is tipped with fire and whose left wing is dark. One can hear the crackling of their fiery wings as they strike each other in battle or against the metal sky. In this song people call upon Nyamakambala for rain.

Chililo (Lament)

Where shall I find one, like Balanku, Mother!
He it was who brought me unto goodly things:
All these truths I did possess,
Through him, my husband, I beheld great joy, Mother!

Now all these sorrows have befallen me,
And this great misery is mine alone,
By myself thus weeping I am left alone, Mother!

Mafuve (Dance of Girls)

NOTE: This song tells of a bride, who, overcome with homesickness, thinks with longing of her mother, and of her childhood home, even though she loves her husband.

Alas, O we yo 'we iye
Mother's home, we yo 'we iye,
I left my mother's home...
I love my husband's home


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