Woyaya

The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library

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.

Recording

 

Lyrics

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…

 

Woyaya means “we keep going” in a Ghanaian language called Ga.

 

4 Comments
  • Caroline Thorpe

    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”.

    • Lisa G.

      Thanks Caroline! I’ll make the correction.

    • Lisa G.

      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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