Woyaya: We Are Going

Happy New Year!  With this word from the language of Ghana, we welcome the beginning of 2017:  Woyaya!  This is the song that becomes our theme for the month of January, so let’s look at its words.

We are going,
Heaven knows where we are going,
But we know within.
And we will get there,
Heaven knows how we will get there,
But we know we will.
It will be hard, we know,
And the road will be muddy and rough,
But we’ll get there,
Heaven knows how we will get there,
But we know we will.
Woyaya, woyaya, woyaya, woyaya.

The Unitarian Universalist Association website offers this background information about our hymn:

Written by Ghanaian drummer Sol Amarifio, Woyaya is the title song of a 1971 album by Oisibisa, a musical group of Ghanaian and Caribbean musicians. It was frequently heard in work camps throughout central West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. The arrangement in Singing the Journey comes from the version by Ysaye Barnwell (of Sweet Honey in the Rock). “Woyaya,” like many other African scat syllables, can have many meanings. According to the song’s composer, it means “We are going.”

You can listen to the recording of this song by Oisibisa, the Ghanaian music group here.

The words are affirming and encouraging.  They support human dignity and without question our Unitarian Universalist affirmation that every person has the right, even the responsibility to search out truth and meaning.  It strikes me, though, that this song supports my journey and affirms my life best when I show up with my questions, my curiosity, and my willingness (let’s call it timid courage) to explore the path in front of me.

So, on this first day of the New Year, what are you questions?  How do you experience your curiosity?  How courageous do you feel?  I don’t expect, for myself, to have the answers to these questions all neatly answered.  I do want for myself to begin working with them.  It’s going to take me all year.  That’s okay.  We’re  going.  And we’ll get there.  Heaven knows how, but we will.

Bob Patrick

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