Ise Oluwa

The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library

Ise Oluwa

This song is one of my favorite world songs to teach in singing circles. It is a religious song from Nigeria, sung in the language of Yoruba and well known throughout the world. I learned this version from Jayson Fann and share it regularly in a two or three-part arrangement, or quickly in new circles with the melody only.

Composer & Copyright

Composed in the early 19th century by an unknown Nigerian Christian composer, now considered in the public domain.

Recording

Lyrics

Ise Oluwa
Ko le baje o (ba ba me)

Translation

God’s work (or the work of the creator) can never be spoilt (or destroyed, or bad.)

Teaching Notes

This song can be shared relatively quickly in new circles, or augmented with harmonies for interest in more experienced groups. It is slower paced, so I enjoy sharing it to cultivate rest and depth between higher energy songs. It can be sung effectively with or without drumming.

I typically sing this around the key of A, with a starting pitch of C.

4

Level of teaching speed/ difficulty (1 = very easy, 10 = very challenging)

Teaching Track from the 2014 Song-a-Day Challenge:

4 Comments
  • Wonderful. I first heard this song via my friend and delightful Drum Circle leader Tracy Seffers. A beautiful gift to the world.

  • Mamud Oluwatosin Israel

    This song was composed in the early 190s by the KUTI’S . THE GRANDFATHER OF FELA WHO WAS A GOSPEL MUSIC WRITER AND FIRST WEST AFRICAN MUSICIAN TO BE RECORDED

  • Comfort Okwe

    This song gladdens my heart

  • E. Prater

    Thank you. I do not know if I am of Nigerian descent because of slavery in this country but I do love and know some of my African heritage with its dance, music and history from various countries. I love this song, as it was introduced as part of a religious group project; the words honoring GOD and HIS goodness and works are just beautiful. Thank you for sharing the history of ISE OLUWA BAJEO, also.

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