Chorus (main singing part of a song)

Does anyone know of a Bambara term used for “chorus” (as in, the main part of a song that is sung multiple times over)?

I’m looking for it in the context of a lyrics booklet where one part of the lyrics is labelled as “the chorus” so it doesn’t have to be written out repeatedly.


Following up on my own question here after investigating a bit more…

One dictionary suggests laminɛkan or kannaminɛ, but primarily for the short “response” that gets sung at the end of each verse of a song.

Laminɛkan does show up in the Bambara corpus a few times, with a meaning that seems closer to ‘response’.

But that said, it might work for an album’s lyric pamphlet, @OdhranMullan? :slight_smile:

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@coleman I asked Koro and she says chorus in Bambara is lamɛnnili. I have also forwarded the voice message to you on WhatsApp. Hope this helps!

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I ni ce, Christy and Koro! :slight_smile:

I listened to the audio and she’s actually saying and talking about laminɛli (derived from the verb k’à laminɛ ‘to respond’), which also shows up in the above laminɛkan.

In the most literal sense, laminɛli would mean ‘(an act of) response’.

Sounds the word shows up also in laminɛkan, it seems like we might have a found a verb that is commonly used or might work to talk about the idea of song’s chorus!

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Ah! Yes! I see! I copied over the wrong word. It is laminɛ! The nili part was a ? mark for me because of how I was hearing her say it… which is why I chose to share the voice message. I figured you would better grasp it all any way! :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you all, and thank you @coleman for asking this question. I personally never thought about it before until you asked. Interesting.

My contribution is:

  • Ka laminɛ (transitive verb) = to respond

  • Laminɛli (noun)= not sure how say that correctly in English, have to copy @coleman “an act of response”

  • Laminɛ(li)kan “the voice/sound of the response” = chorus

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A little late in coming to this, but Coleman was initially asking on my behalf. Thanks to all for the info, nice to be able to use ‘laminɛli’ in the booklet instead of the English.


A ni tile, Everyone!

Wouldnt a word meaning “repeat” be better for referring to a song’s chorus, than “response”?

Potentially, but it looks like the closest “emic” term that we have found is related to the idea of response because it refers to the “response” that the whole chorus of people “sings back” to the performer(s) when they play.

While the idea of “chorus” for an album’s liner notes might be slightly different, it’s also similar in some ways since part of the meaning seems to come from the idea of the “chorus” being the part that is sung by the, well, chorus (that is, a group of multiple voices).


great point! so i save laminɛ in my head :slight_smile:

A post was split to a new topic: Verse (of a song)