SONG: Mama Never Taught Me


“Mama Never Taught Me” [Download]
(To download: double right-click & “Save As”)

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: “Can experiences be passed on to offspring? “, New Scientist, 9 Feb 2009, as used in the post “Teach ‘em young. If not earlier.”

Well, songs about mama are kind of a staple of a certain set of musical genres. What would be more natural than writing a song about mama teaching you things before you were born?

This song, specifically, I did as a genre experiment. I wanted to write a song that was not my mama’s music, but my papa’s. This is a kwela song, or at least the best approximation I could make of one. Kwela was a kind of South African skiffle that came out of the townships in the late ’50s. It was improvised dance music, usually done with a one-string bass and a pennywhistle, with a beat as distinctive and catchy as ska or rock’n’roll. My father was a fan, and after listening to some Little Lemmy and Spokes Mashiyane, I think it’s high time there was a kwela revival. I mean, once you hear how it should be done, how can you resist it?

Everyone should be making this music. Everyone should be listening.