oba ti de (ssaattbb)


  • Catalog ID: S-379
  • First Line: oba ti de abi jesu
  • Composer: Jeffery Ames
  • Voicing: ssaattbb
  • Accompaniment: percussion
  • Language: Sacred, Yoruba
  • Country: United States
  • Other: christmas, holiday, new for 2013
  • Score: View Score
  • Sound: Listen


Program Notes

Oba Ti De was especially arranged as the centerpiece for the 2011 “Christmas at Belmont” national PBS telecast. This joyful proclamation of Oba Ti De with excitement as it celebrates the arrival of the Christ-child.

The opening solo is somewhat like a “call and response” announcing the King’s arrival. Indicative of the musical practices of the African culture, a single voice quickly becomes a chorus of voices whose rhythms and spirits blend into one glorious communal sound. Oba Ti De also incorporates polyrhythm throughout the work to gain both momentum and excitement for the performer and listener. Furthermore, the use of clapping, step-touch movement, moderate swaying, and random ululations will really enhance the celebration.

To date, there are currently over 500 languages spoken in the West African country of Nigeria. Two of those languages are utilized in this arrangement. They are Yorùbá (YOR-uh-ba) and Igbo (EE-boh). The Yorùbá language is found in the beginning and ending sections, while the Igbo language is heard during the refrain of the familiar carol, Angels We Have Heard on High. The pronunciation for both languages should follow the same guidelines as liturgical Latin.

Dr. Jeffery L. Ames


For a performance, follow this link:http://video.pbs.org/video/2179574403/. The piece begins at 26:40.

A separate percussion score is available and is highly recommended by the composer.