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Malaika

Malaika

Listen to Malaika as sung by Amani Kitali, Jill Haberkern, and Kemunto Mokaya.


Singers: Amani Kitali, Jill Haberkern, and Kemunto Mokaya

Mama Africa: The Very Best of Miriam Makeba contains a beautiful version of Malaika - purchase it through this link and a percentage of the sale will benefit the Kamusi Project.

Malaika, nakupenda Malaika.             Angel, I love you Angel.
Malaika, nakupenda Malaika.
Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio,         What should I do, your lover?
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,             I don't have any money
                                        (LITERALLY:  I'm defeated by
                                         wealth, I don't have any.)
Ningekuoa Malaika.                      I would marry you, Angel.
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa Malaika.

Pesa zasumbua roho yangu                Money is troubling my soul
Pesa zasumbua roho yangu
Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio,
Ningekuoa Malaika.
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa Malaika.

Kidege, hukuwaza kidege.                Little bird, I always
                                        dream of you, little bird,
Kidege, hukuwaza kidege.
Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio,
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa kidege.
Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa kidege.

Thanks to Douglas Paterson of Seattle for providing this transcription and the following history of Malaika.

Authorship of Malaika is disputed. A Kenyan named Fadhili William recorded it a couple of times in the late 50s and early 60s. He says he wrote it and he is generally recognized as the owner. Miriam Makeba made it famous with her recording of it in 1964(?). Angelique Kidjo copied Makeba's version sound for sound as best she could but between the two of them, they really mangled the words in Swahili. You can hear Makeba singing the song to her husband Stokely Carmichael and Angelique put all that stuff in her song not knowing what she was saying. It appears the song was written in the 40s by a Tanzanian but two different people are credited. So no one really knows (except for Fadhili and the Tanzanians).

Malaika was transcribed in Joan Maw's Twende! A Practical Swahili Course and also in Magdalena Hauner's Nyimbo za Kiswahili. The early Fadhili William recording (1959) has only two verses and so do these two transcriptions. However, Mariam Makeba's recording has a third verse (the Pesa... verse) and a later record by Fadhili also has the Pesa verse. It is likely that Fadhili did not write the original two verses but may have authored the "pesa" verse. It appears from Kwame Bandele's internet posting that Grant Charo gets credit for the song in the Hauner book. Other East Africans claiming to have written the song are Lucas Tututu from Mombasa and Adam Salim from Tanzania. Researcher Flemming Harrev says that Salim claims to have written the song while living in Nairobi in 1945-46. He recorded the song for Columbia Records in 1950. Fadhili is now generally recognized as the composer for royalty purposes.

These song lyrics are Copyright Somebody Else. The Kamusi Project makes this page available as a courtesy to individuals seeking lyrics to popular Swahili songs. If you have any information about this song that you think should be posted here, or have other song lyrics you would like us to post through this WWW site, please let us know. /content/malaika

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