Volume 2

Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika II (African Songs and Extemporary Harmonizations Book II)

Mohapeloa’s second book of songs, Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika II: Buka ea Bobeli (African Songs and Extemporary Harmonizations Book II), appeared in 1939, only four years after the first book (1935), attesting both to the popularity of his work and to the ease with which he was able to assemble another 32 songs for publication. Like the songs in Meloli I, most of those in Meloli II had already been ‘tried and tested’ by choirs and were thus fairly well known; and Morija Sesuto Book Depot was again the publisher. They brought out a second edition in 1945, even before the second edition of Meloli I (1953), and third and fourth editions of Meloli II followed in 1955 and 1980. Even after Mohapeloa’s death in 1982, a fifth edition was printed (1996). These are effectively reprints rather than new editions, almost identical to the first edition albeit with occasional variants which may in some cases be typos. The preparation of the present Critical Edition takes all the printings into account, as well as other documentation. For more detailed information about sources see the ‘General Introduction to the Mohapeloa Critical Edition’, and for more detail about variants between different editions of Meloli II see the critical commentary at the end of each score. Mohapeloa’s first three songbooks were all called Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika and he - or maybe the publisher - numbered his 92 songs in the first three songbooks consecutively, thus Meloli II begins with no. 33 and ends with no. 64. (In this new Edition songs are not numbered.) The last song in Volume II is unusual in having an English text, while all the others are in Sesotho. During the preparation of Meloli II for publication, Mohapeloa lived for part of the time in Johannesburg (on ‘the Reef’), where he attended part-time music classes at the University of the Witwatersrand (1939 to 1942). The year 1939 marked the outbreak of World War II, a war into which Basotho were propelled because of they were part of the British Empire: Basutoland was still a British Protectorate, effectively a colony, in 1939. Many topical issues weave their way into Mohapeloa’s song texts, and the continuing development of his musical style in this Volume shows how he incorporated new musical influences. He formed his own choir during his time on the Reef, the Johannesburg Traditional Choristers, which was very likely to have had some of the songs from Meloli II in its repertoire. The songs in Volume II, originally written in tonic solfa notation and without texts translated (because they were written for Sesotho speakers) are newly transcribed into staff notation here, and are presented together with translations, notes, and commentaries. In some cases, Mohapeloa’s translations were found. The works are numbered JPM033 to JPM064 for the composer’s catalogue and ACE065, 067, 069, etc. to ACE127 (odd numbers) for the publisher’s catalogue for Vol. II. Vol IIa presents the same songs and critical apparatus as Vol. II, but tonic solfa notation is added to the staves and even nos. are used for the publisher’s catalogue: ACE066, 068, 070, etc. to ACE128; and because these are effectively different scores, new ISMNs are assigned to the works in Vol IIa.

Works in this volume