Volume 3

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

Mohapeloa’s third book of Meloli - Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika (African Songs and Extemporary Harmonizations) Buka ea Boraro (Book Three) appeared in 1947, eight years after Meloli II, five years after Mohapeloa returned from the Reef where he lived and studied from 1939 to 1942, and two years after the end of World War II. The publisher of the first two books, Morija Sesuto Book Depot (MSBD) in Morija, also brought out Meloli III, and it was reprinted four times: in 1966 (1st reprint); 1977 (2nd); 1983 (3rd); and 1988 (4th), the last two after the composer’s death in 1982. None of these was called a ‘second edition’ and the differences between printings are minimal. All idiosyncracies or variants are noted in the critical commentary at the end of each song. Mohapeloa’s approach to choral music is different in his third book: many songs are longer or structurally a little more complex than his previous songs, they are often more rhetorical in style, and they rely less obviously on the traditional music that had infused the first two Meloli books, especially Meloli I. The influences of popular music, jazz and some western idioms are more evident, and along with the spiritual mood that runs throughout Mohapeloas work there is a new tone of urgency in Meloli III about Lesotho’s deepening political crisis. For these were the years of struggle that led eventually to Lesotho’s independence, and there was also a political crisis boiling up all around Lesotho in neighbouring South Africa during the late 1940s that led to a new government there in 1948 and soon afterwards the onset of apartheid. The 28 songs in Volume III, 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 JPM065 to JPM092 for the composer’s catalogue and ACE129, 131, 133, etc. to ACE183 (odd numbers) for the publisher’s catalogue for Vol. III. Vol. IIIa presents the same songs and critical apparatus as Vol. III, but tonic solfa notation is added to the staves and even nos. are used for the publisher’s catalogue, ACE130-184, with new ISMNs assigned to the works in Vol IIIa as they are effectively different scores.

Works in this volume