“Kikalama” by the Kante Facelli Ensemble, as found on the Smithsonian Folkways Africa: The Voices and Drums of Africa, is a highly danceable and empowering African song with a mix of Malinke and Susu lyrics.
Language: Malinke, Susu
To record “Kikalama” for All Around This World: Africa Vol. 2 (West, Central and South) three legitimate superstar musicians from the West African nation of Guinea–balafon master and producer Famoro Diabate, multi-instrumentalist Abdoululaye Diabate and mighty vocalist Missia Saran Diabate, with legitimate local superstars, producer Amon Drum (Diabate?) and bassist/drummer Sean Dixon (Diabate!). Famoro, Aboululaye and Missia–Susu speakers all–helped clarify the song’s meaning. The lyrics of All Around This World’s version of this empowering African song:
Akhan a’mariye, n’na fan mikhi, a’mariye, a’mariye, khan n’mariye,
Marry me, my love, marry me, marry me, marry me,
Kikalama kikalama kikalama, kikalama kikalama kikalama kikalama,
which means, either
nothing in particular (“just . . . kikalama!” said Famoro), or, perhaps,
an expression of happiness based upon the Malinke and Susu expression of something being “hot” (kalama), such as “hot tea” (ti kalama) or perhaps a “hot” child, such as a young boy who has so much energy that he can’t sit still. Whatever the word’s actual meaning, the use of the phrase in the song implies strength, confidence and an inner commitment to doing what’s right.
Meet these fabulous musicians by seeing them in action in these videos: