"Ruyö" ("Putting on fashionable clothes") - Young Magic

Young Magic
Young Magic in Gambella (photo by author)

Ojullu Olem, stage name "Young Magic" is one of the most popular Anywaa artists in Gambella at the moment. He actually composes and records music on the side; his main job is as a lecturer in engineering at Gambella University. He found out he had a talent for music while mentoring some young rappers at a local youth center and released his own full album in 2018.

The album is stylistically and topically diverse. Young Magic uses traditional genres, such as the agwaa-ga and obeerø, as well as global popular styles such as rap and afrobeats. Some of the songs are about love, and others offer advice to the community. "Ruyö" falls into the latter category, telling listeners to not get caught up in fashion, laziness, and drinking but to work hard and cooperate with one another for the betterment of the community.

Young Magic says that one of his main reasons for becoming a musicians is to give guidance to his community. "As you can see," he said, "I’m not a president or I’m not a manager of some office, so the way that I’m gonna address my community...is [through] music."

The audio, translation, and transcription are all included here. (Note that the bracketed portions of the translation are not in the original lyrics but are added for additional clarification).

Translation (English)

Chorus
Putting on fashionable clothes doesn’t mean you are smart
Everyone knows this, every one of you
Life is not just for living [we have to do something more]
When we have nothing, we look dangerous.
In ancient times, if you were bad at fishing, you could change your profession to hunting
So in this generation, do not be confused if you do not succeed in school [find something else productive to do]
Let us put aside gossip and nonsense things
Let’s find something productive to do
Instead of leaving [to go abroad], let’s make our living doing something productive here
Ya! Let us come to our senses
Let us walk slowly like the chameleon [to make progress]
Jealousy will never bring any change for us, let us leave it
Let us start a new beginning that will bring happiness
Bringing change requires our effort and working together
We should not expect another tribe to come and make positive change

Transcription (dha-Anywaa)

Chorus
Ruyö paththa kwänynyö
Ngäyu bëët na aciel aciel
Bëëtö paththa kwøw
Ni bängë jammi nyeng liel
Yaa acäängngë näk mii jääk ki maay yi wïtta bäät dwaar
Ri beenhnhi wïï ker gäätï no ba paathi ya apaar
Waae mo bung tietge wiiø geni ker tïïö ni luup kwuuö
Tïïö ki gïï mo duunnö
Koro caar døny wøk tïïö
Ya! Näk mo ngääö na cenø tiirø jöö nø
Ocäädhï mëëth no oniidø wääth ongøønø
Keec bung gïn mo wile røø manynya wic
Tägö ki wääth mo nyään mo cïppö ki metec
Pøø nee døønge pëënya tïïc marø
Bung jur mo ööy ki wøk nee tïië ni beer røø

Verse 1
Sleeping all the time will never bring change
Those of you who are against unity, I’m saying look at it carefully
Listen with your eyes, look through your ears
Tell it through your nose, how Gambella really is
You think the house is built by God
But, when you visit it, in the dust on the floor there are biting insects
If you think success is easy,
Then just go find it somewhere
If you think our coming together brings conflict with each other
We can invite China to teach us karate [to fight each other]
If you think love is not useful for yourself
Don’t tear the Bible
The Anywaa are still in need of it
Don’t be jealous for Gambella
Lying is jealousy, jealousy is lying, both will lead us to hating each other
It’s best for us to leave this attitude, and unite to fight against poverty
Unity brings strength, hard work will eliminate hunger Coming together, unity, unity is important, our time is now
Unity will bring change to our region, I’ve seen some of it already

Verse 1
Niine ba kännï ki wïïtö yi paac
Jøøa wa köö ni dwättö raac, kööa ni neenno døøc
Wïnynyï ki wangi, neeni ki ïthï
Ocaani gøøni ki umï, wala paani nyïëdï
Nee uudï comma Jwøki ki bango,
Noo lïïmi kwany okuunï
Nee bëënyö kwanya piny ki bangi,
Jöö ngaam cii omääny
Nee dwättö käla leny ki dëël,
Karate china okunyï
Nee mëër ba kunyï dëërï,
Kööa ni wëël Jwøk ker jeeyi
Anywaae poot manynya gøøni døc,
Ker per paani keeyi
Tööt a keec, keec a tööt ge bëët ge cööpa ri män
Køøre bee ni theema wiye, oløø nyïmö bang can
Teek käla dwättö, käc riema tïïc ocaanø
Kuutö, dwattö, dwattö kare dagø bee caa ennø
Paac tëënö gøøni ngää thäängë mo thiinh ajooda

Verse 2
For a person to survive in this generation, it’s not just putting on nice clothes
Don’t forget and think that life is just about getting drunk
Don’t expect someone else to improve your life, because life is tough now
You have to walk always expecting a bright future
Work, work, go to school, work, keeping our homeland in mind
We should not leave Gambella for others to work on it [while we do nothing for it]
There are many paths to success; if you see something good, make use of it for our region
Don’t expect negative things for yourself, these hardships will pass
You cannot accomplish without a struggle, sometimes it hurts like burning fire
If we want to success in life, we have to make wise decisions
Sitting without doing anything and without correct thinking will bring laziness
Let us unite and work together, don’t be confused by passing on responsibility to others
When you see someone doing something good, don’t be jealous
Living with conflict, hatred, and discrimination, we should ignore all of this
I examine myself for these things, what is destructive and what is not destructive
If I live without examining myself, that will bring suffering on myself
Making change from level zero is difficult, it needs great effort
We should not move forward taking shortcuts, but evaluate ourselves first

Verse 2
Ni dhaanhø bëëdë ni teek beenhnhø man paththa ruyö
Wïï ker tïï no owïl okööy ni bëëtö bee muyö
Bëënynyö mari keri kurö dhaanhø, bëëtë aay ni teenhö,
Wääth cooth manynya caath ni nyïm da gïn mo nëënö
Tïï, tïï, göödï, tïï nii cädö kiper paac,
Paani, paani ker wëëgu jiy, ker wieø nee bëëdë laac
Jïëdhï mo caath ni biyyø näk mo thööth jïtï okäli
Acaara mo raac ker caari dëërï ge bëët pöödhö wali
Ngaap mo ngaap bungngö mo jööt møøk käla mäc
Ni näk ø manynya nø pööthö wøk ki jaami tïïc ni ngäc
Dwöt ceng ki bung acaara bee jeni no käl jäk
Dwättu re tïïc maro koro gaalø ki bëët anyääk
Gïnu tïïc wat ni beer pere ker cängö keeyø
Bëëta ageem, ki mane, ajeeny mwøgø bëët manynya gø nee kwierø
Gïn mo raanya bëëtö mara acätö bäätë nee neena
Nee bëëtö beeda naa aba lwïththï ngää ni bëëta beeda bee ni kïïna ha!
Bëënynyö mo cak ni zero teek manynya ngaap mo dwøng
koro cäädhö jaak no pärö jaay neenø dëëtö dikwøng ha!

Credits and Bibliography

Ojho Othow Ojullu (transcription, translation, and coordination)