Thursday, September 15, 2016


A few months ago I needed help arranging for a Mass. I asked a lady to help me get a choir.

She said she would be more than happy to find me a choir but, "Mungnga yo' ma faisen para bai kånta." "Don't ask me to sing."

I asked, "Sa' håfa?" "Why not?"

"Ilek-ña si nanå-ho na akkague yo' kumånta." "My mom said I sing on the left."

It was an expression I never heard before, and at first thought maybe it was a personal saying that her mom alone used.

But I asked a few older people and they were familiar with the expression, too.

They said that the right side of anything is considered the correct side. So, to sing on the left is to sing badly or off-key. While the rest of the choir is following the musical road, so to speak, you veer off to the left and sing your own notes.

"Out of tune," by the way, is desentonao, from the Spanish "desentonado," although "desafinado" is the usual word for "out of tune."

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