Embu & Mbeere - Music and Dance

Embu wedding song

An Embu wedding song, from Ciarunji Chesaina's outstanding book "Oral Literature of the Embu and Mbeere" (1997: East African Educational Publishers, PO Box 54314 Nairobi, Kenya). See the copyright notice for textual extracts.

We were about to drown (Nitwendaga gutwarwa)

Nitwendaga gutwarwa
Nitwendaga gutwarwa ii
Nii muvuro wa Thura ii
Tukiringia ng'ombe wana mburi
Tukite uthoni
Turetete ruraiyo

Nayo niovi ya mwana ii
Nitungitwarirwe ni muvuro
Andu a run go
Tukite uthoni Nthagicu

Nitutungwe muvirigari
Ni mburi na ng'ombe ii
Niivingurirwe rwaga
Andu a uthoni nimakinya
Athuri njovi ya mwana niyakinya

We were about to drown
We were about to drown ii
In Thura river ii
Driving cattle and goats across the river
On our way to marriage negotiations
Bringing bride-price

And a child's beer ii
Should not spend the night on the way
We almost drowned
We people from far away
Coming for marriage negotiations in Nthagicu!

Meet us at the gate and welcome us
It is cattle and goats ii
Which are making so much noise at the gate
Let someone open the shed for them
The in-laws have arrived
Oh! You men!
The child's beer has arrived!

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Traditional Music & Cultures of Kenya
Copyright Jens Finke, 2000-2003

also by Jens Finke
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