Shosholoza is a South African folk song. It is sung both
by South African workers and by Springbok rugby fans. The words are easy
to learn. They mean, quite simply, "Shosholoza, this train is gaining speed
and steaming for South Africa.".
It can be performed in three parts. Many sound effects
and instrumental parts can be added which will all add towards a polished
performance. I have included an MP3 music file so that your class can hear
what the piece should sound like. The file that I have linked is performed
by the Drakensburg Boys Choir. There are other recordings available. A
perticularly good recording can be found on the 1999 World in Union CD,
performed by Ladysmith Black Mambozo. This is the arrangement that they
sung at the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup I have included a cartoon
animation to help you learn the rhythm of the words of the top part.
Listen to the song. Learn the words one word at a time. Repeat
each word in rhythm whilst listening to the recording. Once the children
have learned one word, try another. Say each word in a steady rhythm.
Sing the opening phrase........Sho sho
lo za. Sing it with the music. Make sure the children sing each note in
tune. They must lift their voices to the correct pitch. There is a page
showing the music. The tune is easily played on a recorder or flute.
Once they can sing the opening phrase, move on to
the rest of the song, adding small parts at a time until they are reasonably
confident with the whole song. They should now sing the whole line,
Ask the children to pick out simple short phrases from the
tune. Either perform these phrases as a clap/body rhythm sound, or use
un-pitched percussion, tambourines, drums etc.
Ask the children to try to make up some steam engine sound
effects. Listen to the performance. Note how the choir make each verse
sound different, simply by making small changes and adding rhythm effects.
Use the bass metalophone to add the simple bass line.
If the children find this too hard at first, play a simple burden effect,
G G C D, repeating
Finally, pick a few good voices and learn the top line.
Ask them to listen out for it in the music. It's easier to pick out if
you watch the Top Line Cartoon whilst listening to the music.
Click here to see the Top Line Cartoon.
Appraisal Take the time to record your performance. Perform the
music to another class. Discuss the effectiveness of the music and ask
for suggestions as to how the performance could be improved.
Finally, listen out for other examples of South African
folk music. Good examples can be found on MP3.com by the Canadian band,
Juba. A particularly good example would be Siyaya Jerusalem.
Also, listen to some more examples of the South African choir, "Ladysmith