One song I have mentioned many times in my Timor blog posts is Mobakomeenofway. Some weeks ago a reader asked me for the words to this song, and I have added them in a reply to her comment; however, the words on their own have limited use if you don’t know the melody. I’ve been mulling over ways to share the melody with you too.
I learned this song years ago, when I was a student in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. I think Sean Gregory taught it to our group, and there was a little dance step that went with it. I have kept the dance step the same over all these years – I love it! It is easy to demonstrate and teach, and throws a few coordination challenges out there for the students, and it is kooky enough that no-one looks better than anyone else when they are doing it. A great leveller, in all sorts of ways.
I think Sean said it was Ghanaian. But I could be wrong. I recall that the words mean something like:
Leader: Will you come out and play? (O wene maka lay, mobako meenofway?)
Everyone: Yeah, yeah, we’ll come out and play (Yeah, yeah, mobako meenofway!)
You repeat these lines again (bars 2-9 in the score below), then everyone sings the chorus while doing the dance. The chorus is repeated twice.
Everyone: Mobako meeno fway, Mobako meeno fway,
Mobako meeno fway, Mobako meeno fway,
Aim for a nice swoop downwards on the slur in bars 12 and 16, it gives it a full-throated appeal. The dance requires you to stand side on, so that one foot is pointing toward the centre of the circle (I forgot to say that this is a song that works well in a circle, and that is how I always teach it) and the other foot on the outside of the circle. Your stance is only about hip width – or a little wider – apart, though. No gargantuan side-splits required. Stamp the inside foot, and clap your hands in that direction at the same time, on the word Mobako. Stamp the outside foot, and clap your hands in that direction at the same time (twisting at the waist), on the word meeno, then stamp/clap with the inside foot again on the word fway. You see? Not so hard, but takes a bit of a try-out for the first go.
Try the words out with the Noteflight score I’ve made, here. I’m supposed to be able to embed the score into this blog post but it’s not working so well. Here is a link to the score – let me know if it doesn’t work. I’ve just discovered Noteflight, late on this Sunday night. I think I need a bit more time with it to get properly acquainted.