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Kumbaya

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Kumbaya

"Kumbaya" or "Kumbayah" or "Cumbaya" (Gullah, "Come by Here"—"Kum ba yah") is a spiritual song first recorded in the 1920s. It became a standard campfire song in Scouting and summer camps and enjoyed broader popularity during the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s.

The song was originally a simple appeal to God to come and help those in need.[1]

Contents

  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Folk music revival 1.2
  • Contemporary social definitions 2
  • Lyrics 3
  • Recordings 4
  • Melody borrowing 5
  • References in politics 6
  • References in movies and TV 7
  • References in video games 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

History

Origins


Come By Here / Kum Ba Ya / Kumbaya transcribed by the United States Library of Congress from a 1926 recording.

According to Daniel and the Lion's Den. Of the other two, one has been lost, and one cylinder was broken, so it cannot be determined if they are versions of "Kumbaya".[1]

According to an article in Kodaly Envoy by Lum Chee-Hoo, some time between 1922 and 1931, members of an organization called the Society for the Preservation of Spirituals collected a version from the South Carolina coast.[2] "Come by Yuh", as they called it, was sung in

  • The history and meaning of Kumbaya, the tune and French Translation
  • Origins: Kumbaya
  • What does 'Kumbaya' in the song 'Kumbaya, My Lord' Mean?
  • What does 'Kumbaya' Mean? at Straight Dope
  • Michael E. Ross: Oh, Lord, Kumbaya. How an innocent campfire song got warped by the cynicism of our times The Root, October 2008
  • Kumbaya: arrangement for choir, full score
  • Listen to its Short version
  • Full version, with chords and mp3
  • Sir-Ivan hit dance single "Kumbaya"
  • Library Of Congress research on the origins of Kumbaya

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Winick, Stephen (Summer–Fall 2010). "The World's First 'Kumbaya' Moment: New Evidence about an Old Song" (PDF). Folklife Center News,  
  2. ^ a b c d Jeffery, Weiss (November 12, 2006). Kumbaya': How did a sweet simple song become a mocking metaphor?"'".  
  3. ^ "Mama Lisa'a World-Kumbaya". Retrieved November 1, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Stern, Gary (June 27, 2009). Kumbaya, My Lord:" Why we sing it; why we hate it.""". The Journal News. Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
  5. ^ , FW02407We've Got Some Singing to DoSmithsonian Folkways,
  6. ^ Amy, Ernest F. (1957). Cooperative Recreation Service: A unique project. Midwest Folklore 7 (4, Winter): 202–6. ISSN 0737-7037. OCLC 51288821.
  7. ^ World Around Songs: Our History
  8. ^ Zorn, Eric (August 31, 2006). "Someone's dissin', Lord, kumbaya".  
  9. ^ Feb 10, 1962 CKWX RADIO Official Survey
  10. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (December 12, 2006). "Annan bows out of UN with attack on Bush". December 12, 2006 : The Guardian (London). Retrieved December 12, 2006. 
  11. ^ "Telstra rejects Labor net plan". Australian IT. December 6, 2007. 
  12. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpdOiq-2DFU
  13. ^ http://www.sirivanmusic.com
  14. ^ "Insults start to fly from furious Coalition".  
  15. ^ . The McGlaughlin Group. 
  16. ^ Korte, Gregory (March 24, 2015). "'"Obama says Netanyahu differences go beyond 'Kumbaya.  
  17. ^ "Kumbaya! Web series". 
  18. ^ "Minions film review: Kevin, Stuart and Bob are this summer’s unholy trinity". 26 June 2015. 

References

  • In the opening cutscene of the game Resident Evil 4 the protagonist Leon, while talking to some cops, says, "I'm sure you boys didn't just tag along so we can sing Cumbaya together at some boy scout bonfire. Then again, maybe you did."

References in video games

  • In the movie Addams Family Values, Wednesday Addams is horrified when on a summer camp, in order to "encourage" her to participate to the camp activities, the group starts singing "Kumbayah, my Lord, Kumbayah!" The camp-owners are later revealed to discriminate the children based on Class discrimination, race, and physical appearance.
  • In the opening scene of the movie Friday the 13th, the camp counsellors are singing 'Kumbaya' in front of a fireplace.
  • In the movie Heathers, Veronica has a dream that Heather Duke has a funeral and Heather Chandler's spirit shows up and says, "My afterlife is so boring. If I have to sing 'Kumbaya' one more time I will spew Burrito chunks."
  • In the movie Troop Beverly Hills the song is sung several times.
  • In the popular Canadian reality TV show Dragons Den, former Dragon Kevin O'Leary uses the song several times to poke fun at pitches that have a naïvely optimistic view of the world.
  • On Eekstravaganza!, Eek the Cat commonly exclaims "Kumbaya!"
  • In South Park season 8 episode 9, Randy leads a chours singing "Kumbaya" while watching the Wall-Mart burn.
  • In 2015 a web series by the name of Kumbaya! was released.[17]
  • In Minions (film).[18]

References in movies and TV

  • After a private farewell dinner on December 5, 2006 at the White House for outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan (Secretary-General 1996 to 2006), soon-to-resign U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton joked that "nobody sang 'Kumbaya.'" When told of Bolton's comment, Annan laughed and asked: "Does he know how to sing it?"[10]
  • In November 2007, Sol Trujillo, the chief executive of the Australian telecommunications company Telstra, mocked the proposed $4.7 billion taxpayer-funded, public-private partnership for a new national broadband network. He labeled it as some sort of "kumbaya, holding hands" theory.[11]
  • Woodstock music festival in Water Mill, New York banker-turned-singer, peace activist, and television celebrity, "Sir-Ivan" performed his new hit dance single "Kumbaya"[12] in front of 800 guests and friends who attended Castlestock 2009 to raise money for The Peaceman Foundation. Sir-Ivan founded The Peaceman Foundation[13] to combat hate crimes and to assist sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD,
  • In September 2010, Christopher Pyne, the opposition's manager of business in the Australian House of Representatives said "This will not be a Parliament where all of its history is turned on its head and we all sit around smoking a peace pipe singing 'Kumbayah'."[14]
  • In March 2015 at the White House, Barack Obama said: "so this can't be reduced to 'let's all hold hands and sing "Kumbaya'". He used the phrase to emphasize the difficulty in the achieving peace between Israel and Palestine.[15][16]

References in politics

  • In Peppa Pig, a British children's animated television series, 'International day' episode 8 of series 4, the lyrics "Peace and Harmony in all the world; Peace and Harmony in all the world; Peace and Harmony in all the world; Peace and harmony" are used.

The melody of Kumbaya has at times been borrowed for alternate versions that remove the spiritual emphasis:

Melody borrowing

In 2013, Christian folk-rock band Rend Collective Experiment recorded a version as the opening track on their third album.

German band Guano Apes and German comedian Michael Mittermeier recorded a rap metal cover of "Kum Bah Yah" called "Kumba Yo!" and made a music video ("Kumba yo!" on YouTube). The "Kumba yo!" single was released in 2001.

Stacie Orrico used it in a short interlude on her 2000 album Genuine.

Peter, Paul & Mary recorded Kumbaya on their 1998 Around the Campfire album.

In 1986, the Kidsongs Kids recorded it on their Kidsongs Video "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" for the African segment of the video.

In 1984, the proto-punk band, Guadalcanal Diary, recorded a version on their album Watusi Rodeo.

Raffi recorded it for his Baby Beluga album.

It was included on The Sandpipers' 1969 album The Wonder of You.

Ballad singer Tommy Leonetti gave the song chart status in 1969. His single reached #54 pop, #4 easy listening, released on Decca 32421. The song charted three years later for the Hillside Singers, reaching #117 in the Record World charts.

The Seekers recorded it in 1963 for their first album, "Introducing the Seekers". They later re-recorded for their third album, "Hide & Seekers" (also known as "The Four & Only Seekers"); it was re-released on their 1989 album "The Very Best of the Seekers".

Joan Baez's 1962 In Concert, Volume 1 included her version of the song. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach also sang "Kum Bah Yah" in a 1962 concert, a recording of which was subsequently released in 1963 on the album Shlomo Carlebach Sings.

The Journeymen had a minor hit in Vancouver in February, 1962[9]

It was recorded by Pete Seeger in 1958, and The Weavers released it on Traveling on With the Weavers in 1959.

The Folksmiths including Joe Hickerson recorded the first LP version of the song in August 1957. As this group traveled from summer camp to summer camp teaching folk songs, they may be the origin of Kumbaya around the campfire.

"Kum Bah Yah"
Song by The Folksmiths including Joe Hickerson from the album We've Got Some Singing To Do
Recorded August 1957
Length 2:09
Label Folkways Records F-2407
We've Got Some Singing To Do track listing
Hold On (Keep Your Hand On the Plow)
(11)
"Kum Bah Yah"
(12)
Wade in the Water
(13)

Recordings

Version No. 1 Version No. 2 Version No. 3 Version No. 4

Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone need you, Lord, come by here
Someone need you, Lord, come by here
Someone need you, Lord, come by here
Oh, Lord, come by here.

For the sun, that rises in the sky
For the rhythm of the falling rain
For all life, great or small
For all that's true, for all you do.

Someone's laughing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's laughing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's laughing, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Hear me crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Hear me crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Hear me crying, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Now I need you, Lord, come by here
Sinners need you, Lord, come by here
Sinners need you, Lord, come by here
Oh, Lord, come by here.

Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone's crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's crying, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Hear me singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Hear me singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Hear me singing, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Come by here, my Lord, come by here,
Come by here, my Lord, come by here,
Come by here, my Lord, come by here,
Oh, Lord, come by here.

Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone's praying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's praying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's praying, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Hear me praying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Hear me praying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Hear me praying, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

In the mornin' see, Lord, come by here,
In the mornin' see, Lord, come by here,
In the mornin' see, Lord, come by here,
Oh, Lord, come by here.

For the second on this world you made,
For the love that will never fade,
For a heart beating with joy,
For all that's real, for all we feel.

Someone's singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's singing, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Oh, I need you, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Oh, I need you, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Oh, I need you, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

I gon' need you, Lord, come by here,
I gon' need you, Lord, come by here,
I gon' need you, Lord, come by here,
Oh, Lord, come by here.

Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Oh, Sinners need you, Lord, come by here,
Sinners need you, Lord, come by here,
Sinners need you, Lord, come by here,
Oh my Lord, won't you come by here.

Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

("See this version!" on YouTube),
in both English and Farsi.

("A printable version!" a PDF-file").

In the morning - morning, won't you come by here
Mornin' - morning, won't you come by here
In the Mornin' - morning, won't you come by here
Oh, Lord, come by here.

("See this version!" on YouTube).

Lyrics

Recently (as of 2006), "Kumbaya" has been used to refer to artificially covering up deep-seated disagreements. We "join hands and sing 'Kumbaya'" or "it's all 'Kumbaya'" means we pretend to agree, for the sake of appearances or social expediency.[2]

Contemporary social definitions

Joe Hickerson, one of the Folksmiths, recorded the song in 1957,[5] as did Pete Seeger in 1958. Hickerson credits Tony Saletan, then a songleader at the Shaker Village Work Camp, for introducing him to "Kumbaya" (Saletan had learned it from Lynn Rohrbough, co-proprietor with his wife Katherine of the camp songbook publisher Cooperative Recreation Service, predecessor to World Around Songs).[2][4][6][7] Joe Hickerson later succeeded Gordon at the American Folklife Center (successor to the Archive of Folk Song).[8] The song enjoyed newfound popularity during the American folk music revival of the early to mid-1960s, largely due to Joan Baez's 1962 recording of the song, and became associated with the Civil Rights Movement of that decade.

Folk music revival

Although it is often claimed that the song originated in Gullah, Winick further points out that the Boyd manuscript, which may be the earliest version of the song, was probably not collected from a Gullah speaker. Winick concludes that the song almost certainly originated among African Americans in the Southeastern United States, and had a Gullah version early in its history even if it did not originate in that dialect.[1]

The story of an African origin for the phrase circulated in several versions, spread also by the revival group the Folksmiths, whose liner notes for the song stated that "Kum Ba Yah" was brought to America from Angola.[1] As Winick points out, however, no such word or phrase exists in Luvale or any related language.

These facts contradict the longstanding copyright and authorship claim of Reverend Marvin V. Frey.[2] Rev. Frey (1918–1992) claimed to have written the song circa 1936 under the title "Come By Here," inspired, he claimed, by a prayer he heard delivered by "Mother Duffin," a storefront evangelist in Portland, Oregon. It first appeared in this version in Revival Choruses of Marvin V. Frey, a lyric sheet printed in Portland, Oregon in 1939. In an interview at the Library of Congress quoted by Winick[1] Frey claimed the change of the title to "Kum Ba Yah" came about in 1946, when a missionary family named Cunningham returned from Africa where they had sung Frey's version. According to Frey, they brought back a partly translated version, and "Kum Ba Yah" was an African phrase from Angola (specifically in Luvale). Frey claimed the Cunninghams then toured America singing the song with the text "Kum Ba Yah".[1]

In May 1936, John Lomax, Gordon's successor as head of the Archive of Folk Song, discovered a woman named Ethel Best singing "Come by Here" with a group in Raiford, Florida.[4]

[1] It is possible this is the earliest version, if it was collected before 1926. Because the individual songs in this society's publications are not dated, however, it cannot be dated with certainty to before 1931.[3]

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