Leo ni Leo

Leo ni Leo Today is the Day
Leo ni leo, leo ni leo Today is the day, today is the day,
Mtauona mpambano, kweli si uongo You pl will see a struggle, truly, it’s no lie.
Jamali wa umbo, Na wajihi mwema (You sg have) a beautiful figure, With a pleasant countenance
Mwingi wa urembo, Nawacha kusema Full of beauty, I have nothing (further) to say
Wanitenda mambo, Bila ya huruma You (sg.) are concerned with my business, Without mercy.
Summary

This is a song Askew heard at a wedding; it announced the entrance of the bride into the reception hall. In the first verse the singers address the wedding guests, and in the second they praise the beauty of the bride. The meaning of some of the lines is not obvious, though may well refer to rivalries among certain guests.

Askew Translation

Today is the day, today is the day

You will see a contest, and that’s no lie

Exquisite in body and in appearance

Beautiful throughout – I’ll stop talking

You treat me without mercy.

Glossary

jamali                         [adj.]                             Exquisite (KA). Beautiful (TJH). See jamala courtesy, good manners, elegance, beauty, grace, gracious (kind, obliging) behavior, affability (FJ). Jamali wa umbo, Na wajihi mwema, (You sg have) a beautiful figure, With a pleasant countenance (KA-LL).

mpambano/mi-           [n. 3/4]                          Competition, struggle (TJH). Contest (Ask). Encounter, battle, fight, match; collision, clash (Brill). See –pambana come together, get into contact, whether pleasant or otherwise, thus of ships. (1) go abreast, lie alongside, but usually (2) collide, fall foul of each other, jostle together (FJ). Mtauona mpambano, kweli si uongo, You will see a struggle, truly, it’s no lie (KA-LL).

umbo/ma-                    [n. 5/6]                          Figure, body shape (TJH). Shape, form, natural condition (appearance, constitution) (FJ). Shape, outward likeness; frame, form, fashion, natural condition, constitution, substance, appearance; beauty (Brill). Jamali wa umbo, Na wajihi mwema, (You sg have) a beautiful figure, With a pleasant countenance (KA-LL).

wajihi                         [n. 9/10]                        Form, appearance (FJ). Form, face, appearance; countenance of a man, dignity (Brill). Jamali wa umbo, Na wajihi mwema, (You sg have) a beautiful figure, With a pleasant countenance (KA-LL).

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Discovering Swahili Poetry