African Music Culture

Beyonce’s Song That Uses Popular Kikuyu Words

Written by See Africa Today

Nothing beats culture, and Kenyans, are incredibly proud of their native Kikuyu language which American singer Beyonce sampled in her record-charting song ‘Yoncé’.

Unbelievable as it sounds, ‘Yoncé’ wittily, loops in a female voice quickly uttering Kikuyu words in quick succession. Beyonce then takes it over.

Does Yoncé by Beyonce Have a Kikuyu Sample?

Against the backdrop of a powerful bass line, the rusty Kikuyu dialect heard at the beginning of the song goes unnoticed.

Beyonce's Yonce's song has a Kikuyu sample

Beyonce’s Yonce’s song has a Kikuyu sample. Photo/CNN

The Kikuyu words in Yoncé are as follows: “Mùndú ekùrakara níkí… Múkúrakara karakara… Mùndú ekùrakara níkí… Múkúrakarakarakara.”

It loosely translates to in English: “Why does somebody get angry…you will get angry…why does somebody get angry… you will get angry.”

In fact, the sound is a recording of a Kikuyu conversation. It is sold and distributed in internet sound packs for music makers, by an entity known as “African market with kids.”

Released in 2013, Yoncé remains very popular in Kenyan Tik Tok challenges eight years after its release. The Grammy award-winning American artist released the music video for Yoncé and ‘Partition’.

These two hits defy the hand of time and continue soothing souls close to a decade later.

Yoncé triggered ‘Gimme Some’, a viral challenge on Tik Tok. It features different people dancing to the song – it is named after Beyonce’s ‘Gimmie Some’ prompt as the original song starts.

On Mortal Man, Grammy-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar also used the sample. Yoncé isn’t the only well-known song to use the sample.

On Kendrick’s album To Pimp a Butterfly, Mortal Man was one of the most talked-about songs. It won the Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2016.

Electronic music producers use samples to create new compositions. From ancient tunes, recordings of talks and even voicemails are used to derive samples.

Kanye West and other world-renowned producers have been hailed for their unique ability to use samples to create intriguing new sounds in the past few decades.

Beyonce Yoncé Kikuyu


What do the Kikuyu Speak?

What’s interesting is that sample used in Yoncé is from the largest tribe in Kenya. There are over seven million Kikuyu speakers in Kenya.

The Gikuyu community is the largest tribe in Kenya mainly occupying Central Kenya.

As of the 2019 national census, the total population of Kikuyus was 8,148,668, making them Kenya’s largest ethnic group by a margin of 17.13%.

The name Kikuyu signifies a sycamore tree, history dictates so.  People from this tribe are known for their industrious nature.

They conquer almost anywhere they go, and they are spread out throughout the country and beyond.

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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