shosholoza (ssa)


  • Catalog ID: S-434
  • First Line: shosholoza ku lezontaba
  • Composer: Arr. By Albert Pinsonneault
  • Voicing: ssa
  • Accompaniment: optional drumming
  • Language: Ndebele, Zulu
  • Country: South Africa
  • Other: children, new 2017, women
  • Score: View Score
  • Sound: Listen


Program & Performance Notes

Shosholoza is a traditional South African work song. It originated with the miners and railroad track layers, but later became a song associated with the freedom struggles of apartheid. More recently the piece has taken on nationalistic identity, and can even be heard in the stands of soccer and rugby matches. Shosholoza translates as “Go forward!”

Typical of work songs, the piece utilizes call-and-response. The solo line may be performed by an individual or group of singers. A tenor voice is preferred for the solo, but a mixture of tenors and altos is also a possibility.

Improvised drumming (using a single conga) can be incorporated, and a variety of rhythms are appropriate, so long as they support the vocal rhythms (see sample conga rhythms below). Singers should utilize the sound indicative of South African folk singing: a bright, forward vocal resonance.

This version is perfect for children.  The range is narrow and will work well for middle schoolers.