Fafa
Vieux Farka Touré Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Fafa doumbeye a foyo sibeygo nafa
Aïné fafa-fafa a foyo sibeye ga nafa

Fafa dobeye afoyo sibeye ga hafa
Yerma hanga tiere-tieny-hermanotieré se wadjou

Yerma hanga tieré tieny-hermanotieré se lakale
Yerma damme tieré fondo





Aïné fafa-fafa ifoyo sibeyga nafa
Fafa doumbeye aïné ifoyo sibeyga nafa

Overall Meaning

The lyrics to Vieux Farka Touré's song "Fafa" are sung in a West African language called Bambara, and they talk about the power of tradition and heritage. The opening lines of the song, "Fafa doumbeye a foyo sibeygo nafa / Aïné fafa-fafa a foyo sibeye ga nafa," roughly translate to "Grandfather Fafa, from the past, you have come to teach us / Eldest brother Fafa, from the past, you have come to guide us." The use of the name "Fafa" is significant, as it is a Bambara name that is traditionally given to the eldest son in a family. Both of the verses in the song speak directly to Fafa, asking him to share his wisdom with the younger generations.


In the second verse, Touré sings "Yerma hanga tiere-tieny-hermanotieré se wadjou / Yerma hanga tieré tieny-hermanotieré se lakale / Yerma damme tieré fondo." These lines evoke images of rural life in Mali, where Touré is from. "Yerma" is a Bambara word that refers to the countryside or farmland, and the subsequent lines describe the different sounds and activities that can be heard there. The use of onomatopoeia (words that sound like the thing they are describing) is particularly poignant here, as Touré incorporates sounds like "tiere-tieny" (squeaking) and "hermanotieré" (sounds of farm animals) to create a vivid picture of rural life.


Overall, "Fafa" is a beautiful and contemplative song that speaks to the importance of tradition and the passing down of knowledge from one generation to the next. The use of Bambara language and imagery gives the song a unique and powerful effect.


Line by Line Meaning

Fafa doumbeye a foyo sibeygo nafa
A cherished possession is like a white stone that glows in the dark


Aïné fafa-fafa a foyo sibeye ga nafa
A cherished possession is like a precious diamond that shines bright


Fafa dobeye afoyo sibeye ga hafa
A cherished possession is like a rare gemstone that is valuable beyond measure


Yerma hanga tiere-tieny-hermanotieré se wadjou
But even the most precious possessions cannot compare to the beauty of the natural world


Yerma hanga tieré tieny-hermanotieré se lakale
The land and its creatures are what truly sustain us and bring us joy


Yerma damme tieré fondo
We must be stewards of the land and work to preserve it for future generations


Aïné fafa-fafa ifoyo sibeyga nafa
A cherished possession should be treasured and protected like the most precious jewel


Fafa doumbeye aïné ifoyo sibeyga nafa
Let us honor and care for our treasures, and in doing so, we honor the earth and all it provides




Contributed by Xavier G. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Genre not found
Artist not found
Album not found
Song not found
Comments from YouTube:

@Pantherfoot2

They opened for Khruangbin in Mesa, AZ last month. Great show and I am a follower for life now

@9881dhananjay

Like father like son. Legends🙏
Love from India.

@np494609

he's awesome!! I saw him in concert the other day in DC, it was the best damn money i ever spent on a concert. the sound of his guitar was uplifting.

@dolceyohernandez9946

Escuché esta canción en la presentación del Mundial Sudáfrica 2010 y me gustó...

@MrHowmer

Desert blues. God's music.

@goldleafsound

music is religion ! close your eyes and feel the power

@mariavarecka2618

As soon as he starts playing, you just have to hear the first few cords and you know it's him. WONDERFUL!!

@wendihay9423

I was trying to type in FAFSA but forgot the S, and this video came up in the search results. Nice Find!!! :) Beautiful music.

@lucreziaborgia5798

Sounds like someone being able to remember the music he dreamed of at night (which you normally always forget)

@Anna-de5do

Ohhhhh so right

More Comments

More Versions