Kweyengeh is a Kpelle song that comes from the Sande Society. When young girls go away to the Sande Society for initiation their mothers sing this song, missing their daughters, wondering what’s happening to them. Why am I doing this song?
I’m singing this song because it’s about women who lost their children in the war. It happened a lot. Even to me. Around this time, I had left for the Ivory Coast to do a recording, and, unfortunately for me, when I returned to Liberia, it was too late. My 2 year old son … up until now we have not found him.
Traveling from one place to another, people I met told me different, yet similar, stories. So I made peace with myself by going to refugee camps and singing to women who had the same problems I had. I would go on UN shows and talk to women. And they would come up to me and say, “Oh I haven’t found my child, either. I am looking for him.”
This song is actually saying, “Where are you? Are you in a forest somewhere? Is it just time for a nap, and you have nowhere to sleep? Is it raining? Is it dry?” You wonder every night what happened to your child. What condition she or he is in. So giving that back to the people through my voice and my dancing and singing, it helped me a lot. Not to forget my problem, but to give me ease with it.
Just telling a story to women and singing a song to the women from camp to camp, I felt so good doing that. Because each time I’d come from the stage, I’d have someone waiting for me to say “Oh my God. I was crying. I couldn’t stop crying because I have the same problem.” And I’m like, oh. I should hold my problem in my pocket and help this person. We have our talent, and we use our talent to help people. We are not therapists, but in our natural way, we can become the therapist to the people. So now I will sing the song for the woman looking for her child, still looking for her child.