Various Artists - Abayudaya - Music from the Jewish People of Uganda

Number of Discs
Release Date
Various Artists
CD / Album
Label / Studio
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings


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In many parts of the world, the Jewish tradition dates back centuries. In Uganda, however, it's quite recent, less than 100 years old. The Abayudaya community was actually formed in 1919 by a military leader who'd been exposed to Judaism and developed a literal interpretation of the Old Testament. The Abayadaya (which means "the Jewish people") only had sporadic contact with other Jews, and so their knowledge of Jewish prayers and their settings was fragmentary, although over time that's grown. The group was persecuted by the Idi Amin regime, but has remained, and this music reflects the collision of Jewish and Ugandan cultures. It's a fascinating mix, to hear prayers like "Adon Olam" sung with ineffable harmonies. There's so much joy here on Abayudaya - Music From the Jewish People of Uganda that it doesn't seem religious -- there's an underlying seriousness, as befits anything sacred, but the voices burst out of the speakers, and on those tracks with accompaniment, there's simply the feel of a village enjoying itself, singing. It's wonderful, infectious stuff, and even the solo voices seem to barely contain the pleasure. Sociology meets religion, and everyone's a winner. ~ Chris Nickson

1) Psalm 136 (03:27)
2) Katonda Oyo Nalimana (God Is All-Knowing) (04:12)
3) Hiwumbe Awumba (God Creates and Then Destroys) (02:33)
4) Mwana Talitambula (The Child Will Never Walk) (01:21)
5) Mwana, Ngolera (Baby, Keep Quiet) (00:52)
6) Tulo, Tulo (Sleep, Sleep) (00:55)
7) I Am a Soldier (00:50)
8) Mi Khamokhah (Who Is Like You, O God?) (00:21)
9) Kabbila (The Patch of Forest) (03:53)
10) Twagala Torah (We Love the Torah) (01:35)
11) We Are Happy (03:29)
12) Adon Olam (Master of the World) (01:56)
13) Lekhah, Dodi (Come, My Beloved) (05:23)
14) Psalm 92 (05:02)
15) Psalm 93 (02:47)
16) Kiddush and Motzi (Sabbath Blessing Over Wine and Bread) (01:14)
17) Psalm 121 (01:34)
18) Maimuna (02:16)
19) Hinei Ma Tov (Behold How Good It Is for Brothers to Dwell Together) (01:26)
20) Ali Omu Yekka (My Only One) (04:48)
21) Psalm 150 (03:36)
22) Deuteronomy 32:8 (Song Two, Selection) (00:37)
23) Deuteronomy 32:39-43 (Song Eight) (03:39)
24) Psalm 130 (01:52)

Abayudaya - Music from the Jewish People of Uganda
E1 Distribution
Main Format
Explicit Lyrics
Keyword Index
Abayudaya - Music from the Jewish People of Uganda | Various Artists