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Where Did "Kum Ba Yah" Come From?  
User currently offlineSmithAir747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2578 times:

For as long as I can remember, at least since my childhood, the staple campfire song "Kum Ba Yah" (usually sung by my family, or a group at camp, or wherever, around a campfire, usually to the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar) has become a permanent memory in my mind.

My family have sung it around the campfire (to my guitar accompaniment), and when I have attended summer camp in my distant youth, we campers and counselors have also sung it.

When my family sing it, we add our own words to it (in extra stanzas), since it is an ongoing song where you can add whatever lyrics you fancy to it.

I've been wondering for a long time now, where did "Kum Ba Yah" originate? Why is it still popular today? I want to hear your explanations for it (even the wild ones you can think up, such as aliens taught it to the hippies in the 1960s, etc)!

Will we still be singing it for a long time to come? When I'm an old grey-haired man (wait, I'm ALREADY grey!), will I still be strumming my guitar to that tune?

SmithAir747

5 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSlamClick From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2575 times:

My info was that it was a spiritual taught by missionaries and the actual lyric was 'come by here' but it was pidginized to kum baya.

User currently offlineAeroWesty From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2575 times:

http://www.answers.com/topic/kum-ba-yah

Kum ba yah, meaning "Come By Here" in the Gullah language, is the title of a Christian hymn which originated in the lowlands of South Carolina. Gullah — a Creole blend of heavily-accented English and West African languages — was spoken by the African-American slaves living in the area. The melody is of African origin.


User currently offline777DadandJr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2566 times:

Hey Smith,
Check this out:
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a980911a.html

Did a quick google and found it.

Russ


User currently offlineJetjack74 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2559 times:
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Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
will I still be strumming my guitar to that tune?

Time will tell. But stay away from Joan Baez, Joanie Mitchell, and other marxist has-been concerts and you'll be alright.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2554 times:

Quoting Jetjack74 (Reply 4):
But stay away from Joan Baez, Joanie Mitchell, and other marxist has-been concerts and you'll be alright.

One of the most famous recordings of the song was by Joan Baez in 1962. So much for the rhetoric.


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