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My Soul Been Bless!

Updated: Feb 16



During my first trip to the Motherland, I visited Ghana as a participant in the Teaching and Learning in Ghana 2004 Fulbright-Hays grant though Charleston Southern University. It was a life-changing experience! I saw individuals whose looks mirrored my father’s people. I saw lived scenes that resembled those from my childhood in rural St. Helena Island, SC. In villages, townships, and cities, I was regarded as Ghanaian or African. Many disbelieved I was African American because of my build and facial features. Feeling the calling of ancestral spirits, I felt the unshackling of bonds that had blocked my creative flow and began writing poetry and songs that regaled my African history, cultural connections, and African Diasporic joy!


My first songwriting creation about the journey, “Nshira Nka Mikra (My Soul Been Bless),” is included in my book, Gullah Branches, West African Roots and performed on my “Gullah Tings fa Tink Bout” CD (available at ‎Gullah Tings Fa Tink Bout by Ronald Daise on iTunes (apple.com). I’ve sung it to appreciative audiences at Gullah festivals and my weekly Gullah Geechee programs from 2005-2022 at Brookgreen Gardens and elsewhere. A thrilling response to it has been watching the Beaufort Sliders dance to a slide dance choreographed by my high school classmate and friend, Lynn Markovich Bryant. My most rewarding performance by far, however, occurred on July 15, 2023, during my second visit to my ancestral homeland and on Ghanaian soil.


Through DNA testing by AfricanAncestry.com, I learned following my initial visit that my paternal lineage is from the Ewe and Akan peoples of Ghana. And at a Durbar by the Chief and Elders of Aseseeso Village, the home of Ghana 2023 trip coordinator, Dr. Kwaku Addo, I sang the song to a Ghanaian audience. “You most surely are Ghanaian!” Chief Akatakie Kusi Obuodum Amoyaw II, said as I approached his stool to greet him. I smiled with pride and later asked if I could perform the song for him. As I sang, Ghanaians smiled and beat their hands to the song’s rhythms. My travel mates said afterward that the song added meaning to and a sense of affirmation about their visit.


I composed the lyrics in Gullah Geechee, which mirrored the English pronunciations I heard from Fante speakers.

My feet done tetch de soil een Africa, een Ghana, Sweet Moda Africa
My feet done tetch de soil een Africa
An I been bless
My soul been bless

My soul done greet my ancestas een Africa, een Ghana, Sweet Moda Africa

My soul done greet my ancestas een Africa

An I been bless

My soul been bless

RAP:

Ebryboddy stoop an carry bundles pon de haid

Fish, wata, eggs, wood, groundnuts an bread

Dey neva stoop een dey spirit, dough,

Dey proud, dey free

Dey walk tall, proud, with dignity

My ears done heah de drumbeat een Africa, een Ghana, Sweet Moda Africa

My ears done heah de drumbeat een Africa

An I been bless

My soul been bless

My eyes done see majesty een Africa, een Ghana, Sweet Moda Africa

My eyes done see majesty een Africa

An I been bless

My soul been bless

RAP:

“Welcome home!” ancient voices call softly

De echo swell gran an tall like de keypok tree

People’s eyes, noses, heads look like my family’s

An een de ebenin daakness gently fall – black like me

I feel de breat ob Mighty Gawd een Africa, een Ghana, Sweet Moda Africa

I feel de breat ob Mighty Gawd een Africa

An I been bless

My soul been bless

Mi nan aka asaase w Obibiman, w Ghana, Obibiman dedeede

Mi nan aka asaase w Obibiman

Na manya nshira. Nshira nka mikra

Na manya nshira. Nshira nke mikra

An I been bless. My soul been bless!


Geechee Literature Series Books 1 and 2 are available at www.amazon.com in Kindle and Paperback. For autographed copies, visit www.Etsy.com/shop/GeecheeLiterature. We Wear the Mask, Unraveled Truths in a Pre-Gullah Community also is available at www.audible.com, with me as narrator.


A republication of Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage, Freedmen on St. Helena Island also is available in Paperback at www.Etsy.com/shop/GeecheeLiterature.


Please leave your email address fa connec wit me about all wha A fa fo, and share this blog with friends. In my next one, I’ll share more pictures of traditions and beliefs in my first book that are included in my upcoming novel.

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