"Cii mari ëë" ("Go away") - by Oman "Tararangga"

"Cii mari ëë" (pronounced chee mah-ree ay) was one of the most popular songs in Gambella region during my 2016 visit. The artist, Oman (artist name "Tararangga",) is quite popular amongst Anywaa listeners due to his depth of knowledge about Anywaa cultural history and music and the way he cleverly integrates these into his songs.

"Cii mari ëë" is an excellent demonstration of this cultural depth. The phrase "Cii mari" can be roughly translated, "Go away" or "leave us." In the Anywaa indigenous belief system, this phrase is part of a cultural practice by which people could eliminate epidemics in their villages. They believed that evil spirits brought diseases, and, to get rid of these, they would shout "Cii mari ëë, cii mari ëë!" while beating on drums and animal skins (these animal skins are called pöö, which you can hear in the lyrics). They would do this during the full moon, which is considered a time for new life and restoration. "Cii mari" is a plea to Jwok Nyi-ngala Bwuuo (God the creator) to chase away the evil spirits and restore the health of the people. In the context of this song, "Cii mari" is not referring so much to restoring physical health, however, but to restoring the culture and the status of the Anywaa people.

Translation (English)

The sorghum is plentiful, there is no longer any drought
The pöö will be beaten

Chorus
These days, why is the pöö not beat up?
Go away, go away

Transcription (dha-Anywaa)

Beel ociek, meel mana en bäät jøw bungngö këët
The pöö will be beaten

Chorus
Nudï pöö kaa atïmö ni ba gøøc?
Cii mari ëë, cii mari ëë

Verse 1
The evil spirit is upon the community
There are always diseases causing people to suffer
Go away, go away, go away
The pöö will be beaten, the evil spirit will go away, and father God’s spirit will restore the people’s health
This is what I know from Anywaa culture from many years ago
When the pöö would be beaten, the evil spirit would go away, and father God’s spirit would restore the people’s health
This is what I know from Anywaa culture from many years ago

Verse 1
Jwøk mo raac o öö bäät jø paac,
Täwwë mo leth rääm cooth,
Cii mari ëë, cii mari ëë, cii cii mari ëë
Pöö di gøø, jwïëy møa reyyø nyiwøru, jiy dööng ki jwïëc kwøw
Mana ngää i kööngö mara Anywaa ni bëëde yaa acäängë
Pöö di gøø, jwïëy møa reyyø nyiwøru, jiy dööng ki jwïëc kwøw
Mana ngää i kööngö mara Anywaa ni bëëde yaa acäängë



Bridge
All youth come and listen, listen
Come, all of you, come and listen, listen

Bridge
Wøppe bëët ööu wïnyu wïnyu
Ööu bëët ööu wïnyu wïnyu

Verse 2
We have a culture of unity that can eradicate all these diseases from our villages
Go away, go away , go away
When the pöö would be beaten, the evil spirit would go away, and father God’s spirit would restore the people’s health
This is what I know from Anywaa culture from many years ago
When the pöö would be beaten, the evil spirit would go away, and father God’s spirit would restore the people’s health
This is what I know from Anywaa culture from many years ago

Verse 2
Jïëö da kööngö mo caala lam dwättö, kööngö mo rëëmö täwwë yïtha atudë,
Cii mari ëë cii mari ëë cii cii mari ëë
Pöö di gøø, jwïëy møa reyyø nyiwøru, jiy dööng ki jwïëc kwøw
Mana ngää i kööngö mara Anywaa ni bëëde yaa acäängë
Pöö di gøø, jwïëy møa reyyø nyiwøru, jiy dööng ki jwïëc kwøw
Mana ngää i kööngö mara Anywaa ni bëëde yaa acäängë

Credits and Bibliography

Ojho Ojullu Othow (transcription, translation, cultural explanation)
Apay Ojullu Aballa (translation, cultural explanation)
Oman "Tararangga" (cultural explanation)