Salsa > "Yay Boy" -- what's it about?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Big10, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Big10

    Big10 Member

    Anyone who has stepped into a Salsa club in the last few years has probably heard Africando's version of the song "Yay Boy" (sometimes spelled "Yaye Boy"). It has an awesome beat for dancing, but I've never known what it's about. Does anybody know?

    I think the lyrics are in Senegalese -- and I don't know anybody from Senegal who could help me translate them into English. I'm usually pretty good with Google, but I couldn't find any English translation on Google, either. I was amazed about that, since the song is so tremendously popular.

    I thought about this because I was talking to a friend at a club on Tuesday night who claimed to know what the song was about. He says that someone from Senegal told him it's about a African boy captured into slavery and calling for his mother. Pretty fascinating, if that's true! I'd like to verify the meaning of the song myself, though.

    Does anybody out there have some knowledge of what the lyrics mean? Thanks for whatever help you can provide!
  2. africana

    africana New Member

    wow I thought it was just silly party lyrics (like many salsa songs) mixed with some verses in Wolof (a Senegalese language), but I don't speak wolof - will ask my friend next time I see him
  3. Big10

    Big10 Member

    I frequently do Internet searches for the lyrics of Salsa songs that I like, and many are the typical party or relationship songs -- but I've also been surprised about a few that have deeper or sadder meanings than the upbeat tempo might indicate. (Examples that come to mind are "Rebelion," "El Gran Varon," and "El Preso.")

    I'll be interested to see what your friend says about the lyrics. By the way, if you need to see an untranslated version, here is what I found:

    Yay, Suba Yay Boy - Bay, Suba Bay Boy (2X)

    Verse 1
    Mamba Mam Boy - Bay Ma Bay Boy (2X)

    Maraqui Ai Boy (Yay Boy)
    Maraqui Bay Boy (Bay Boy)
    Maraqui Mam Boy (Mam Boy)
    Maraqui Ai Boy (Yay Boy)
    Y Yai Yo Yai - Yai Pal Ma - Aah Bay Pal Ma

    Mambo (32 Bars)


    Verse 2

    Mamba Mam Boy - Bay Ma Bay Boy (2X)

    Machumba Bai Zao (Mam Boy)
    Asera Puma Funde (Mam Boy)
    Canja Ginjo Yao (Mam Boy)
    Y Se Tao Ue Zizi (Yay Boy)

    Yay, Suba Yay Boy - Bay, Suba Bay Boy (2X)

    Flute (16 bars)

    Mambo (32 bars)

    (Ah - Bay Pal Ma - Ah Yay Pal Ma)
    Mamba Mamba Pal Ma - Bay Yo Bay, Pal Ma
    Mam.... Maraqui Mam Boy - Mam Mam Bal Ma

    (Ah, Mam Bal Ma - Ah, Bay Pal Ba)
    (Ah, Bay Mal Ma - Ah, Yay Pal Ma)
    Machumba Bai Dera Bu Pal Ma - Asera Puma Funde Pal Ma
    Tan Mi Chumba Lera Pal Ma - Ah, Yay Pal Ma
  4. africana

    africana New Member

    Ok I'll try to remember to print it and show him (actually might try to call him sooner)
  5. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I'd be interested in finding out what those lyrics say too. :)
  6. Tasek

    Tasek New Member

    Same here, let us know. And it is a good song to dance to.
  7. africana

    africana New Member

    Ok actually thought of a couple other friends, email has been sent ;)
  8. sara1011

    sara1011 New Member

    The only thing that I have to add is that I really like this song. I actually first heard it when I was watching John Leguizamo (whom I adore) do his comedy special "Sexaholic" a few years back. There was a point in the program when he got off the stage, found a woman in the audience (who I suspect was found prior to the start of the show) and danced with her to the song. I immediately went to Kazaa and downloaded the song.
  9. balando_salsa

    balando_salsa New Member

    The afro-cuban culture have a lot o songs and prayers origen african you should google in spanish, because the people in Cuba speak spanish
  10. africana

    africana New Member

    still waiting on that translation - my friend's friend is yet to be contacted

    but I'm told the song is actually a senegalese folk song by Ismael Lo, and then later popularised and salserised by Pape Seck (who worked with Lo) in collaboration with Africando

    stay tuned...
  11. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Thanks. And welcome to df. :)
  12. Big10

    Big10 Member

    Thanks for the update, africana. I don't mean to put too much pressure on your friend, but let him/her know know that the entire Salsa world outside of Senegal is waiting for an answer! :wink:

    Actually, I'm not really joking -- I recently did another Google search for "yay boy" and "lyrics" and guess what comes up first......this thread! :lol:
  13. alemana

    alemana New Member

    sara - that's where i heard it too. and yes, that woman was planted.
  14. balando_salsa

    balando_salsa New Member

  15. balando_salsa

    balando_salsa New Member

    Sorry, I forget this people e-mail:
    They are in Germany, but for sure the speak english.
  16. Big10

    Big10 Member

    Actually, I don't think it requires any sort of religious knowledge. All we need is somebody who speaks the particular dialect of Senegalese that is used for the song.....and hopefully africana's friend (or anybody else with knowledge of the song's language/meaning) can do that for us.
  17. Lucretia

    Lucretia New Member

    Is it this song?
    (Editor removed link...sorry I missed no live links again. I will se if I can find it again)
    Another artist though

  18. balando_salsa

    balando_salsa New Member

    Yinka from UK wrote:
    Hmmm... about the words - lyrics from Africando - track Yay Boy. Great tune.
    Yes, pretty sure words are one of the Senegalese languages - not that I am familiar with any - have other Senegalese music (Ismael Lo, El Hadj N'diaye, Etoile de Dakar, Youssou N'door) and the words Yay Boy feature in a couple of Ismael Lo's and in El Hadj's.

    Yay boy might mean 'dear mother' - yay ~ mother, bay ~ father, boy ~ dear.
    Am sort of guessing against some other lyrics I have. Sorry. Let me know when you find out.

    Ian from Cuba wrote:
    The story I recollect (I think I read it on the sleeve notes of the Orquesta Aragon album - but it was a long time ago) was that they wanted to record a track as a tribute to Africando and so they learned the Wolof lyrics phonetically. There was a comment about this being some sort of "full circle" thing, because the singers in Africando couldn't speak Spanish, so they learned Spanish lyrics the same way.

    Tom From UK wrote:
    The lyrics are from the (brilliant) salsa song 'Yaye Boy' by Africando with Senegalese lead singer Papa Seck. I assume the lyrics are in Wolof. Unfortunately I haven't been able to track down a translation - there was a discussion about it here which never came up with the answer.

    Dante Orlando from USA wrote:
    I believe it's actually a combination of wolof and Portuguese creole from Guinea-Bissau/Casamance. The transliteration is a little off, and I'd need to listen to the song again to try and identify the rest of the words, but here are the ones I know.

    Yay = wolof = Mother
    Bay = wolof = Father
    Mam = wolof = Grandparent (I think this can be used for a male or female grandparent)

    "-boy" (i.e. yay-boy, mam-boy, etc.), is kind of like a term of endearment. I'm not sure that it means anything in particular.

    "Suba", should actually be "suma", which is wolof for "my". "Suma bay" = my father

    "Pal ma", should actually be "baal ma", which is wolof for "excuse me" or "forgive me". "Yay baal ma" = Mother, forgive me.

    All of the other words, apart from the obvious repetitions/variations of the above, I believe are in creole. I've no idea on the meaning.

    Hope this poster bring more light to our questions
  19. africana

    africana New Member

    nice 8) thanks bailando!
  20. Big10

    Big10 Member

    balando_salsa --

    Thanks for your help with this! My friend from the Salsa club did tell me that the words "yay boy" translate into "mother" or "dear mother." However, the same friend also gave me an interpretation of another song that was way off when I decided to translate it myself :roll: -- which is why I wanted to double-check this time with the intellectuals on :wink:

    Please keep us updated with any other information you find!

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