The authors of Kum ba yah
E: Welcome, Anonymous. Now, what exactly does "Kum ba yah" mean?
A: It means "Come by here," Eccles, and is a reference to Revelation 22:20, "Come, Lord Jesus."
E: I see, yes, it does sound a bit like "Come by here," spoken by a Yorkshireman with a mouthful of chip butties. Why not just write "Come by here?"
A: We wanted to make it more ethnic, you know. That way it doesn't sound so ridiculous when accompanied by guitars and drums.
E: I see we get exactly 30 repetitions of "Kum ba yah". What is it about the number 30? In the previous hymn we discussed, "Walk in the Light" is also repeated exactly 30 times.
A: Is it? Perhaps we'd better add another verse or two and claim the record?
E: Now, apart from "Kum ba yah," the words are very simple. We get "Someone’s laughing," "Someone’s crying," "Someone’s praying," and "Someone’s singing,"
A: Give us a day or two, and we could come up with some extra verses, then. "Someone's sneezing," "Someone's giggling," and "Someone's snoring?"
Someone's yawning, Lord, Kum ba yah.
E: Yes, that wouldn't make the hymn any worse. Who is this "Someone," anyway?
A: Do you know, we never really discovered that! When we were writing the hymn we were distracted by some noises from next door. Our secretary, not being very bright, thought that our complaints, "Someone's laughing," and so on, were part of the hymn we were dictating to her.
E: Well, thank you very much, Anonymous. I am sure that "Someone's laughing" indeed!
Someone's laughing, Lord, Kum ba yah.