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Likambo Ya Ngana (Franco) - Franco & L'O.K. Jazz 1972

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Uploaded on Aug 12, 2008

Kindly translated by a friend of a friend who both chose to remain anonymous, but to each of whom I owe a debt of gratitude (AS):


I resolved to transcribe and translate Franco's "Likambo ya ngana" (Other people's affairs/business). By the way, do you know that Franco was famous for the insults in his lyrics? Whenever I fought with my mom, she'd throw at me some characters from one of Franco's songs. A very nasty beloved man, this Franco. It also turns into a very tough challenge, this translation, as I can't really capture the substance and the beauty of the lyrics in English. Take for example the word "likambo." It has multiple meanings: palaver, affairs (business, not a commercial venture though), stuff, event, etc. An example of the use of the word: "zuzi akati likambo" (the judge settled the matter)... Another example, "likambo lia suka" which could mean, "the last word" or "the last judgment" (biblically)... LOL... so bear with me, and improve my translation with appropriate English idioms... Another word that recurs in the song is "bandeko" (singular = "ndeko")... Its first meaning refers to kinship bond and translates as "brothers and sisters" (there is no gender difference) ... But it also a word of address to a gathering of people as in the biblical "brethren" (though here once again, there's no gender difference).... Mobutu used to start his speeches with "batata, bamama, bandeko," which I'd translate as "messieurs, mesdames, freres et soeurs"... By the way, I just realized that at about the time this song came out (1971-1972), there had been "plots" against Mobutu that unraveled because a snitch ratted on someone... and people got executed! And the lyrics of this song, though seemingly benign, is very nasty to snitches! ...

[Chorus (by women):]

Bomba makambo eee (Hide stuff)

1.
Likambo ya ngana (Some other people's stuff)

Soki omoni (If you happen to see [them])

Bombaka na motema (Hide [them] in your heart)

Ekoluka ndongo (It could fetch serious trouble)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)

2.

Likambo eboma mboka (Stuff that destroy a place (city, country, etc))

Bilobaloba (Chatter)

Likambo eboma mboka (Stuff that destroy a place)

Songisongi (Calumny)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)

3.

Zala na mayele (Be wise/intelligent)

Soki oyoki likambo (If you hear stuff)

Zala na mayele (Be wise)

Tango bakotuna yo (When they ask you about it)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)

4.

Obimi (You go out)

Yo na moninga (You and a friend)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)

Bosali ndoki (You do "sorcery" (bad stuff))

Bombaka na motema (Hide it in your heart)

Ekoluka matata (It could fetch trouble)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)

5.

Okei mboka ya bato (You go on foreign land)

Okuti likambo (You find an event)

Soki ozongi (If you get back home)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)

Bombaka na motema (Hide it in your heard)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)

[Spoken by Franco:]

Ah (Ah)

Likambo eboma mboka (Stuff that destroys a place)

Bilobaloba (Chattering)

Songisongi (Calumny)

Bikumbakumba (Carrying [stuff] to and fro)

Bimemamema (Carrying [stuff] to and fro)

Bikundolakundola (Digging here and there)

Likambo bakundaki (Stuff that was buried)

Yo oke kokundola (You go and dig it up)

Ah (Ah)

Soki oke na ndako ya moninga (If you go to a friend's home)

Soki okendeki kolia (If you went to eat)

Lia (Eat)

Soki okendeki kosenga (If you went to beg)

Senga (Beg)

Soki okendaki po ozangi (If you went there because you got nothing)

Vanda (Sit down)

Tala (Look around)

Tika kokumba makambo ya ngana (Don't carry someone's stuff)

[Chorus resumes]

6.

Likambo eboma mboka (Stuff that destroys a place)

Bilobaloba (Chatter)

Likambo eboma mboka (Stuff that destroys a place)

Songisongi (Calumny)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)

7.

Zala na mayele (Be wise/intelligent)

Soki oyoki likambo (If you happen to hear stuff)

Zala na mayele (Be wise)

Tango okofunda moninga (When you rat on your friend)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)

8.

Obimi yo na moninga (You go out with your friend)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)

Bosali ndoki (You do "sorcery")

Bombaka na motema (Hide it in your heart)

Koyebisaka te (Don't tell)

Bandeko (Brothers and sisters)


Camille Feruzi - accordeon.

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