Two songs here from Sangoma, the best album of the late Miriam Makeba. Sangoma is a collection of Xhosa and Zulu folk songs that covers the lot: delight in children, loneliness and ostracism, fear of illness and deliverance from same, celebration at release from captivity, bereavement, intimations of immortality, warnings to horny and impetuous youth: if that's not getting your money's worth, I don't know what is. Totally marvellous stuff that you should investigate at once.
The first one is Baxabene Oxamu, a nonsense song to help kids master Xhosa clicks. The 'x' here represents the 'gee up' lateral tongue-click you use to get your horse moving. The line that follows is:
Beliqhata baba bgeqothyo leqhude
...where 'q' is a sound made by letting your tongue cleave to the roof of your mouth and pulling the air in suddenly with a champagne-cork pop. I bought the CD in Piraeus at the tail-end of the nineties when I lived in a basement flat in Kolonaki, Athens. I had an echoing hallway to myself in which I practised my clicks, and I think I'm like, sordov, pretty click-literate by now, yeah? I have a colleague who is a native speaker of Zulu, and I once listened to her talking on her mobile to her husband. Those resonant pops are absent from everyday speech, unfortunately. I heard the clicks because I knew Reine speaks Zulu - otherwise I would probably have missed them.
The second song is Angilalanka, meaning 'I do not sleep'. Insomnia is taken as a sign that one is chosen by the spirit people to be a 'sangoma' or healer. If you are having trouble getting off, this might be why.
There you go. A change for those of us normally in thrall to Middle Eastern wailing.