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252                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
Loudness in singing is his great end and aim, and to effect sudden sforzando effects, he has a peculiar method, i. e.—the choruses of the songs are usually meaningless, being often a mere reiteration of the words e-e-e-yu (which may be called the African "fol de rol de ray"), and when, after shouting with full lungs on the e-e-e, the singer desires more power on the yu, he effects it by giving himself a sound thump in the ribs with his elbows; this produces a marked emphasis on the syllable, and the result, when two or three hundred singers do this simultaneously is start­ling. The Kaffir, contrary to our practise, sits down, when he sings.
One of their favorite songs, is used at husking festivals. " The dry heads of maize are thrown in a heap upon the hard and polished floor of the hut, and a number of Kaffirs sit in a circle round the heap, each being furnished with the ever useful knobkerry (a stick or club, very like a shillelagh, but with a knob at one end). One of them strikes up a song, and the others join in full chorus beating time with their clubs, upon the heads of the maize. This is a very exciting amusement for the performers, who shout the noisy chorus at the highest pitch of their lungs, and beat time by striking their knobkerries upon the grain. "With every blow of the heavy club the maize grains are struck from their husks, and fly about the hut in all directions, threatening injury, if not absolute destruction to the eyes of all who are present in the hut. Yet the threshers

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