Page 222 - Voice for Life Songbook 1
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                                40. Sizohamba naye
This traditional song from Swaziland is about the life of a Christian – to walk through life following the example of Jesus who has gone before us. It fits well at the end of a service and can be sung in procession – although you may find that rather than walking out people may end up dancing!
The first verse is in Swazi so have a look through it to make sure you can pronounce it all before you demonstrate to your singers. Don’t worry if you are not certain how to pronounce it: an authentic accent is not essential! Before you begin teaching the notes of the song you may want to speak the words ‘Sizohamba naye’ slowly to your singers and ask them to repeat it back. Once they are happy with the pronunciation start teaching the song.
Teaching the song
Begin by teaching your whole group the melody line with the Swazi text.Then divide your singers into groups and teach Harmony 1 and 2. Finally you can add in the descant.You will need to listen to the balance to work out how many singers you need on each part.The melody needs to be heard at all times so you will probably need the largest group for this (or simply ask the other groups to sing more quietly if they are drowning it out).The descant would work well sung by a soloist.
You will need to decide how you want to begin the piece: you could start with the harmony parts: part 2, then 1, then finally adding the melody over the top, or you may prefer to begin with your whole group singing the melody in unison and then have your singers break off into their harmonies from verse 2 onwards.
Although it is difficult for a non-African choir to precisely imitate the sound of African singers, you should encourage your choir to adopt a robust and hearty sound in keeping with the style. Singers should try to retain some speech quality in the sound and avoid sounding too much like cathedral choristers.
If you can find any recordings (there are many websites that include sound samples of world music for instance), play them to the choir so they get an idea of what they should be aiming for.
Be creative
Traditionally this kind of music would not be sung while the performers stand completely still – singing always comes hand in hand with some kind of movement or dance. Encourage your singers to feel the rhythm by physically moving as they sing.
While you add in the off-beat clicks (or claps) you could ask your singers to walk on the spot in time to your clicks – or alternatively you could get them to walk around the room while they sing.
Musical skills and understanding
What is the pitch name of the highest note in the descant?
Look at the rests in the last bar of Harmony 1 and 2.What kind of rest is this? How many beats is it worth?
Track 40

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