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Recording of "Come By Here", written down by J. Cutting from the singing of H. Wylie, 1926

"Kum ba yah" ("Come by Here") is an African American spiritual song of unknown origin, but is known to be sung by the Gullah people of the islands off South Carolina and Georgia, who are descendants of former slaves from West Africa. The song is thought to have spread from the islands to other Southern U.S. states and to Northern U.S. states, as well as other places in the world. The first known recording, of someone known only as H. Wylie, who sang in the Gullah dialect, was recorded by the folk music enthusiast Robert Winslow Gordon in 1926. It is a popular hymn in African American churches. It later became a popular campfire song in Scouting and summer camps.

The song was originally an appeal to God to come and help those in need.[1]

The title of the song is often used sarcastically in English-speaking countries, either to make fun of spirituality and interpersonal relationships or to criticize their superficiality.

References[change | change source]

  1. Winick, Stephen (Summer–Fall 2010). "The World's First 'Kumbaya' Moment: New Evidence about an Old Song" (PDF). Folklife Center News, Library of Congress. Retrieved July 29, 2021.

Other websites[change | change source]