Lyrics to mwana mbeli

Mwana mbeli is a common Luhya folk song. It is sung during ceremonies or whenever there was need to celebrate a champion whose exploits bring good to the community. Sing along, learn the lyrics to mwana mbeli below

This song follows the soloist (call) – audience (response) pattern. The lyrics in normal text are the soloist words, while those in bold are the response from the audience.

Mwana mbeli beyaye!          First born oh yee!
Mwana mbeli….                First born….
Beyaye ko!                      Oh yee!
Mwana mbeli nesiekhoelo!     First born (is source of) pride!
Mwana mbeli Elijah           First born Elijah
Mwana mbeli                  First born
Elijah! Elijah!
Mwana mbeli nesiekhoelo!     First born (is source of)pride!

About mwana mbeli

The words mwana mbeli translates to ‘first child’. They are a celebration of fruitfulness of the loins of the man and womb of the woman. The lyrics to mwana mbeli are an ode to the start of motherhood. This means that this song can and is sung when a child is born, regardless of their sex. When sung in celebration of a community member, mwana mbeli honors those who have demonstrated heroism and brought pride to their tribesmen through acts that have saved people from tragedy, or improved the welfare of the family and of the community.

Today, mwana mbeli is also a Bukusu circumcision song sung during Bukusu traditional circumcision ceremonies in celebration of the courageous act of initiates; during weddings; when receiving triumphant sport heroes; as an appeasement to politicians and even in honor to Luhya heroes. The lyrics to mwana mbeli above celebrate Elijah Masinde, who was a Bukusu resistance fighter led the Bukusu in resisting British colonialism through spiritualism.

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