Le glas a sonné by Tabu Ley (Lyrics and Translation)


This song was part of the Exil Ley album which Tabu Ley recorded while in political exile. He had to flee the Congo for his safety after he criticized then President Mobutu Sese Seko much to the latter’s fury.

This is a moving song in which Tabu Ley recounts the tribulations that his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo has gone through since independence.

He talks about how the Congolese fought off Belgian colonianialism. But instead of seizing the opportunity to build the country, the Congolese leaders turned against each other. As a result, the wealth of the nation was wasted especially be the selfish leaders who only looked out for themselves.

He expressed shock at the suffering of the Congolese people amid poor schools, a lack of jobs, inadequate health facilties. The oft repeated phrase is Ngonga Ebeti, Tango Ekoki which means the bell is tolling and the time has come. It is an exhortation to the Congolese people to put their differences aside and work to build the country. The phrase is then followed by the ominous toll of a Church bell.

Tabu Ley sings in reverence of the greatest leaders ever from the Congo: Kasavubu, Lumumba, and Tshombe who are politicians, Cardinal Malula, and Simon Kimbangu who are religious leaders, as well Kabaselleh and Franco Luambo, the pre-eminent musicians from the Congo. Most notably he does not mention Mobutu Sese Seko who was the president at the time. The snub was intentional.

Tabu Ley then ends the song exhorting God with the phrase Oh Nzambe oh oh oh…………amid the wails of a funeral.

Song Video

Lyrics and Translations

Africa Music Centre

Author: musica

3 thoughts on “Le glas a sonné by Tabu Ley (Lyrics and Translation)

  1. Hi! Do you have an email address that is easy to reach you on? These translations are very helpful for my work and would be fantastic to ask you a couple of questions!

  2. Dear Lovers of music to our two African sons and sweet sounds of Mbilia Bel and Therese Kishila Ngoyi Alias Faya Tees.
    kindly let me have the Lyrics and Translations of MP3 Mongali by Faya Tees.
    Hope the translater can send into my E-mail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.