Nsa We

An All Around This World classroom and homeschool lesson from Uganda -- "Nsa We" -- An African harvest songThis is an African harvest song sung by the Baganda people about the difficulties of farming, especially for girls. From the introduction in Songs and Stories from Uganda, “The Baganda used to make their hoes of our forked sticks. To one fork the tied a forged iron blade. The other fork they sued as a handle. The youngest girls in a work group would of course be given the poorest blades, and the singers of this song complain that to make matters worse, they have all been given blades tied to the wrong side of the fork so that the wood gave no support to the iron when it cut into the earth.” In class we put a more positive spin on Ugandan farming in our African harvest song  as we sing about how we all have to farm together to bring in a good harvest.  The song was originally known as “Awo!” (“Oh thanks!”) but we sing “Nsa we,” from the first words of a line that read, “Let me clear the field with you ‘n’ I’ll be eating well.”

Country: Uganda
Language: Luganda

Nsa we nsa we nsa we. Nsa we nsa we nsa we.Nsa we nsa we nsa we. Nsa we nsa we nsa we.
Let me clear the field with you and I’ll be eating dinner too.
Let me plant the seeds with you and I’ll be eating dinner too.
Let me pick the crops with you and I’ll be eating dinner too.
Let me cook the food with you and I’ll be eating dinner
Leader: Abakazi abatalima
Women who don’t plough.
Chorus: Awo.
Leader: Bagila etalima.
They got what doesn’t plough.
Chorus: Awo.
Leader:Nebagisiba Kumiyini.
Tied it on a wooden model.
Leader:Nebagisiiba Kumugongo.
On it’s back.
Chorus:Awo Nsawe saweko
Right let me slash.
Awo nalyakusavu Awo
Right I will eat fats right.
Nkabalekabaleko Awo
Let me plough right.
Naliluma esavu Awo
I will bite fats right.
Nimelimeko Awo
Let me plough,
Mugongo gunuma Awo,
Back pains me right.
Nfumbefumbeko Awo
Let me cook right,
Omugongo gunzita Awo
The back kills me right.

Many thanks to Moses Sebagabo for the the translation.

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Engineering: Jim Hamilton, Rittenhouse Soundworks, Philadelphia


  • Chuck Joseph (U.S. West African percussion)
  • Ira Bond (U.S., West African percussion)
  • Jay Sand (Vocals)
  • Rich Robinson (U.S., West African percussion)

Originally “Awo!”

© "Awo!" by W. Moses Serwadda and Hewitt Pantaleoni @ 1974/1987 World Music Press/(c) 2009. Assigned to Plank Road Publishing, Inc. . AII Rights Reserved.

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