Posted by: getthenac | November 26, 2010

Come By Here

from Wayne Wood

Somewhere along the way, I came to dislike the song “Kumbaya.” Sharon knows this, and one year we were staying in a small Mexican town on my birthday (long story), and, just to mess with me, she conspired to have me serenaded by some of our traveling companions with an odd mash-up of “Kumbaya” and “Happy Birthday.”

So it never bothered me that “singing ‘Kumbaya'” has become sneering shorthand for an effort to find agreements between adversaries.

But after reading this New York Times story about the history of this song, especially about how it’s title is probably not African at all, but simply a mishearing of the dialect of Southern coastal American Gullah people, I’m rethinking this. I still may not like “Kumbaya,” but it’s predecessor, “Come by Here,” is really powerful.

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