19 Sep Woyaya
*** This track was re-recorded and updated on May 2, 2020 ***
Woyaya was composed by seven musicians from the band Osibisa. The original line-up consisted of Teddy Osei, Mac Tontoh, and Sol Amarfio (all three from Ghana), plus Loughty Lassisi Amao from Nigeria, Robert Bailey from Trinidad, Spartacus R from Grenada, and Wendell Richardson from Antigua. Together they were also known as “the beautiful seven”.
Woyaya was recorded by Sweet Honey in the Rock and I learned it from founding member Ysaye Barnwell. It was also covered by Art Garfunkel on his debut solo album. Lyrics written by Annie Masembe from Uganda. Woyaya means “we keep going” in a Ghanaian language called Ga.
We are going
Heaven knows where we are going,
but we know within
And we will get there
Heaven knows how we will get there,
but we know we will
It will be hard we know
And the road will be muddy and rough
But we’ll get there
Heaven knows how we will get there
but we know we will
Woyaya means “we keep going” in a Ghanaian language called Ga.
When I was a boy in high school (1977), I had a dream that I was in one of my high school hallways and many little kids came up to me holding my hand and leading me somewhere. They were singing this song while they held my hands. I remember being dumbfounded and smiling while these kids lead me away.
For 40 years I have been searching for this song, only remembering the sound of the first few bars. I found it today. My wife is wondering why I am crying…
Live Acoustic version by Osibisa! They lead the audience in participation: https://soundcloud.com/osibisaofficial/woyaya-acoustic-live-1
There are many more tracks in their Soundcloud.
‘Woyaya is the second album by Ghanaian Afro-rock band Osibisa released in 1971 by MCA. It was reissued in 2004 in a two-CD pack together with the self-titled album Osibisa by BGO Records. Although conventionally spelled Woyaya the album’s title is actually Wɔyaya (with an open-o), which comes from the Ghanaian Ga language and translates as “We are going”.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woyaya
Wonderful song, but this sentence is incorrect “Woyaya was composed as a collaboration of seven South African musicians” The seven musicians were in the band Osibisa – who were not from South Africa. Three of them were from Ghana.
The original line-up consisted of Teddy Osei (saxophone, flute, and vocals), Mac Tontoh (trumpet and background vocals), Sol Amarfio (drums and backing vocals), all three from Ghana, Loughty Lassisi Amao (congas, percussion, and horns), from Nigeria, Robert Bailey (keyboards), from Trinidad, Spartacus R (bass), from Grenada, and Wendell Richardson (lead guitar and vocals) from Antigua; together they were also known as “the beautiful seven”.
Thanks Caroline! I’ll make the correction.
Thanks so much Caroline. I incorporated your very helpful information into the song description. I also re-recorded the song to reflect a minor lyric adjustment and for better audio quality. With love and appreciation, Lisa
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