From the recording Routes
Diali Keba Cissokho - Kora, Lead Vocals | John Westmoreland - Electric Guitar | Jonathan Henderson - Bass, Marimba, Dundun | Austin McCall - Drum Kit | Will Ridenour - Djembe, Sabar | Jennifer Curtis - Violin Solo, 1st Violin | Ibrahima Sene - Tama | Lynn Grissett - Trumpet | Andy Kleindienst - Trombone | Jim Henderson - Baritone Saxophone | Ablaye Daffé, Ablaye Cissokho, Mamadou Cissokho, Abdou Ndiaye, Bayemor Mbaye - Soruba, Sabar | Yaye Boye - Backing Vocals | Elizabeth Phelps - 2nd Violin | Suzanne Rousso - Viola | Paula Peroutka - Cello | Jonathan Henderson - String Arrangement, Horn Arrangement
Among the older generations of Mandinka, giving a woman the nickname Naamusoo is a sign of great respect. It’s like calling them ‘Mom.’ It used to be that women were not called by their name right away. Instead, this sign of respect was used first. Sadly, this part of Mandinka culture is fading away, so we call this song Naamusoo to keep that tradition alive. In the lyrics I tell the true story of Salimata, a beautiful woman from Casamance who thought herself too good for anyone to marry. She died alone, 22 years young, with nobody to bury her, not even her father or brothers. I contrast her story with that of my Mom, who I call Naamusoo.
Salimata was so beautiful / nobody could even look at her / but she died without a husband / it was her choice / she never took any suitor seriously / she always refused them / she took advantage of each man who loved her / Salimata, you died alone / it’s a bad idea to act this way / don’t see yourself as too good for anyone to love you / women of today, please, don’t act like this / look at the example of my mom / she was beautiful and she made the choice to marry / today I am here because of her / women of today, please, a marriage proposal is a big deal / it means we can live together, and we can die together