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Sea Green Singers - Breaths - Original hand written score - To see an enlarged image of each page, suitable for printing on A4 paper click on the image -


Bam bam dee dah dah,

Listen more often to things than to beings
Ancestors breath when the fire’s voice is heard
Listen more often to things than to beings
Ancestors breath in the voice of th war.

Verse1: Those who have died never never left,
The dead are not under the earth
They are in the rustling trees,
They are in the growing woods
They are in the crying grass
They are in the moaning rocks
The dead are not under the earth, So..

Structure: Intro, chorus, verse 1, chorus, verse 2

Improvised chorus based on echoed/overlaid phrases and rhymns
2: Those who have died have never never left,
The dead have a pact with the living
They are in the woman’s breast,
They are in the wailing child
They are with us in the house,
They are with us in the crowd
The dead have a pact with the living, so…

In the African world view, the invisible world of spirit, man and the visible world of nature exist along a continuum and form an organic reality. The same is true of the relationship between past, present and future. In Birago Dlop’s poem Breaths we are reminded of this continuum

African Francophone poet and storyteller Birago Diop was born outside Dakar, Senegal, in 1906. Encouraged by his family from a young age to pursue his literary and scholarly aspirations, he earned a BA from Lycée Faidherbe in Saint-Louis, Senegal, before eventually moving to France to pursue veterinary medicine at the University of Toulouse. In Paris, Diop encountered many other African, black American, and Caribbean expatriates and fell into the emerging negritude literary and artistic movement.

In 1933, Diop returned to Senegal, where his career as a veterinarian led him throughout rural West Africa. On these excursions, he encountered indigenous Wolof traditions and oral literature, which greatly informed his later work. African subject matter treated in classically French forms characterizes his unique style. A recipient of the Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Afrique-Occidentale Francaise and an Officier de la Légion d’Honneur, Diop died in Dakar in 1989.