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Need good Kwanzaa song

...for our accomplished small ensemble. Something with a little percussion in it would be good, but not necessary. Suggestions? Thanks! 
Replies (10): Threaded | Chronological
on October 14, 2009 4:44pm
 My name is Melanie DeMore and I've written a song for Kwaanza called ' Ache O Kwa'.  It's call and response, w/ drum, shakere, etc. Please contact me at melaniedemore(a)
on October 15, 2009 7:38am
Composer Glenn E. Burleigh ("Order My Steps") wrote an entire suite for Kwanzaa.  Each piece teaches a different Kwanzaa principle. "Nia," for example, is Swahili for "purpose."  It has a challenging piano part, and our community chorus has recorded this standalone piece with a drum set.
Since Burleigh's death two years ago, his sister, LaVonne Burleigh, is handling his music (he was mostly self-published).  Contact her at lavonne1983(a) or by phone, 817-577-7570.
Let music live!
Sam P. Vladovich
Executive Director
Spiritful Voices Community Choir, Inc.
PO Box 720468
Oklahoma City, OK 73172-0468
Telephone: 405-414-SING (7464)
E-Mail: svladovich(AT)
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on October 15, 2009 8:09pm
 I also recommend Burleigh's Kwanzaa suite.  Enjoy!
on October 17, 2009 8:06am
Kwanzaa is a celebration of African American Heritage. One does not need to be specific. Any piece in an african dialect would work as would any spiritual.
on July 3, 2014 10:00pm
I've written a call and response Kwaanza piece called 'Ache O Kwa.  You can downlad a recording of it at  Just type in my name.  If it works for you, let's talk.
on July 5, 2014 5:54am
Seven Principles (of Kwanzaa) by Bernice Johnson Reagon
Recorded by Sweet Honey in the Rock
on July 6, 2014 3:53am
BTW, you can perform it SATB or SSAA.
on July 6, 2014 12:45pm
The e-mail address for LaVonne Burleigh posted above seems to be invalid/incorrect. Updates, anyone?
Robert Ross
robertamross(a) <Robert Ross 11>
on July 7, 2014 8:52am
In my quest to create the perfect holiday concert each year, I have done a fair amount of research.  In my research this past year, I found the following statement on the "official Kwanzaa website" by the founder and creator of Kwaanza, Maulana Karenga, and no longer perform Kwaanza songs on my holiday concerts out of respect for these beliefs.
“Secondly, you should not mix the Kwanzaa holiday or its symbols, values and practice with any other culture. This would violate the principles of Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) and thus violate the integrity of the holiday.”
Paul Townsend
National Board Teacher Certification candidate – EMC Music
Music and Drama K-8
Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center (ANLC)
Scottsdale, AZ
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on July 8, 2014 11:20pm
I feel compelled to offer a thought which may rub some folks the wrong way. As an African American who went to CSULB, taking Black Studies classes while Dr. Karenga was still chair of the department, I have an ocean depth of respect for the one who created this holiday and for the precious principles it embodies. But I believe the integrity of this complex and sacred holiday is in perpetual jeapardy so long as individuals seek to keep it confined to one culture or sub-cluture, preventing it from ever taking on the extraordinarly meaningful existence it could have if it were integrated into "the world." I love Kwanzaa. On several occasions, I have performed two choral works I composed called "Umoja" and Kujichagulia" based on the principles of Kwanzaa (I'm planning to finish the set one day) - I've loved these pieces, and so have the singers that sang them. Through these works, I believe singers and audience feel more personally connected to the spirit of the holiday, and therefore the holiday is more sincerely admired and cherished - this is important to me. Also, Kwanzaa principles are valuable to remember year-round, which makes Kwanzaa music potentially viable for year-round performances at concerts, festivals, sacred services, conferences, etc. Through music, Kwanzaa could teach so much to our children and to our audiences in general. But Kwanzaa seems so stuck in an intellectual wasteland, guarded by a small number of folk who refuse to let it have a life of it's own. Let it be integrated into the real world where Christmas and Hanukkah and other winter celebrations enrich many lives as they exist simultaneously. These holidays bring us closer together and make us appreciate each other more - who wouldn't want that? Without cultural expressions of Kwanzaa through music and art, in conjunction with other winter celebrations, through performances and media that can reach into schools and churches and concert halls and homes, in my opinion this precious holiday remains impotent with its principles unappreciated and unknown.
Zanaida Robles, DMA (ABD)
Singer | Conductor | Composer | Instructor 
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