[big questions] Things I’ve wondered about…. What exactly does “kumbaya” mean? ‘According to ethnomusicologist Thomas Miller, the song we know began as a Gullah spiritual. Some recordings of it were made in the 1920s, but no doubt it goes back earlier. Published versions began appearing in the 1930s. It’s believed an American missionary couple taught the song to the locals in Angola, where its origins were forgotten. The song was then rediscovered in Angola and brought back here in time for the folksinging revival of the 50s and 60s. People might have thought the Gullahs talked funny, but we owe them a vote of thanks. Can you imagine sitting around the campfire singing, “Oh, Lord, come by here”? ‘

What Exactly Does “Kumbaya” Mean?

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2001 at 8:45 pm and is filed under Religion.

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