SmithAir747
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Posts: 1752
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2004 3:30 am

Where Did "Kum Ba Yah" Come From?

Sat Jun 10, 2006 4:02 am

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
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
 
SlamClick
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Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Where Did "Kum Ba Yah" Come From?

Sat Jun 10, 2006 4:04 am

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.
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AeroWesty
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Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:37 am

RE: Where Did "Kum Ba Yah" Come From?

Sat Jun 10, 2006 4:05 am

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.
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777DadandJr
Posts: 1484
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 7:37 am

RE: Where Did "Kum Ba Yah" Come From?

Sat Jun 10, 2006 4:06 am

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

Did a quick google and found it.

Russ
My glass is neither 1/2 empty nor 1/2 full, rather, the glass itself is twice as big as it should be.
 
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jetjack74
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 6:35 am

RE: Where Did "Kum Ba Yah" Come From?

Sat Jun 10, 2006 4:09 am

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.
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AeroWesty
Posts: 19551
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:37 am

RE: Where Did "Kum Ba Yah" Come From?

Sat Jun 10, 2006 4:14 am

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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