Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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10
FOLK SONG OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO.
their god, preparatory to the mighty struggle awaiting them. Gala takes his place in their midst, hurls his spear skyward, catches it, and they all sing:
"We are about to drink of the palm wine."
Then the leader, Gala, sings:
"I have not drunk of the palm wine, So you need not put me out of the town, Truly you are my soldiers."
This song in its completeness must most assuredly have leaped out of spontaneity. While the soldiers all drink freely of the palm wine, the general, Gala, is not allowed to drink at all, for though the soldiers are supposed to be in a blind fury, the leader must have full possession of his mental faculties so as to lead his army aright. If he drink the wine, he is banished from the town.
Death casts the same darkening shadow over the heathen African that it casts over more enlightened souls. To him, as to others, it is the same soul-trying, heart-breaking mystery, and before it this black child of heathenism stands in awe, helplessness and final resig´┐Żnation. When a souPs "took its flight and gone home" into the far off somewhere, and those to whom it was dear have gathered around and taken the "feeble body and carried it to the grave/7 the pain is just as poignant, the experience is just as overwhelming to them, as to the rest of God's children.
Whatever his feeling may be, he expresses in his own weird way just as much as any of us could possibly say; for no multiplication of words can express finer, stronger, or sweeter sentiment than that which he expresses over the clay of him whose soul has gone with the "Pale Horse and his Eider."
"Eonlay zeer marco                                 "Fare thee well,
Eonlay yonga songa                               Fare thee well,
Monga eonlay zeer                                 On thy far-off journey,
Marco way marco                                   We shall carry thee to the hill." Marco way marco Mama."
The African folk song is naturally quite free from the tender expressions of love which we know and understand so well, for just








E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III