"Jwøk aa, Wuuö dwøng aa" ("Oh, God almighty") - an agwaa-ga

"Jwøk aa, Wuuö dwøng aa" is a popular agwaa-ga from the Dut Jwøk hymnal. According to church elder, Pastor Ochati Ogatu, it was composed by Omaan Obey. The actual date of composition is unknown, but it can be placed sometime between the missionaries' arrival in the early 1950s and the early 1970s, when it was first recorded by researcher David Conrad Osterlund. The song is still well-known today, and I have commonly heard it in church services in both Addis Ababa and Gambella. According to reports from Anywaa diaspora populations in Minneapolis, it is also sung in some Anywaa churches in the United States.

I am fortunate to actually have four different recordings of this song, three that I recorded myself and one by Osterlund. The recording I have chosen to present here is one that I recorded in a church service in Addis Ababa, sung in by the entire congregation with the accompaniment of the drums.

Translation (English)
Oh God Almighty, send us your spirit and give us faith, because we are calling on your name and your son, Jesus
Our Lord Jesus, resurrected from the dead, has returned to God. Then he will come back to us.
What is written in the Bible is the word of God; it says that whoever believes is a creation of new life
When Jesus comes again to take us with the angels and trumpets, the earth will be shaken

Transcription (dha-Anywaa)
Jwøk aa, Wuuö dwøng aa, jääng Jwïëyï bäätwa; mooc wa ki ngäädhe. Awuuö, wa cøøra nyengngï, ki nyeng wäädï Jeco.
Wääwa yaa, Jeco yaa, aduu maal ki yi thøø, wääwa døø maal bang Jwøk aa. Ocäng duo ni duu bangwa
Moa can Yeco, koo göörö yi wëëlö, ngata løk ree cäng ka nywøllø nyään
Kanyo duu Jeco, piny jäängi, tungi jwöngö, maal ree di jabø yaa, nyïïatwieli öa piny bangwa

Credits and Bibliography

Research Associates

Apay Ojullu Aballa (translation)
Ojho Ojullu Othow (transcription)

Bibliography

Osterland, David Conrad. 1978. “The Anuak Tribe of South Western Ethiopia: A Study of Its Music within the Context of its Socio-Cultural Setting.” University of Wisconsin, Ph.D. Diss.