Tag Archives: children’s folk music

Jambo Bwana Song

Background: Informant is a 19 year old of Kenyan heritage. Their parents immigrated to Los Angeles from Kenya and the informant wears a bracelet to feel connected to their heritage. 

Me: Where did this song come from? 

Informant: When I think about a song in Swahili the first song I think of is what I learned when I was four or five because my Kindergarten for graduation they wanted to do a whole cultural thing. So, they asked my mom and another girls mom who was Indian to come and teach us songs. So they taught us songs in Hindu and Swahili. The song we learned in Swahili is… 


Jambo, Jambo bwana, 

Habari gani, Mzuri sana.

Wageni, Wakaribishwa,

Kenya yetu Hakuna Matata.


Hello, Hello sir,

How are you

I very fine

The visitors are welcomed

To our Kenya, don’t worry.

Reflection: I loved hearing the informant sing this song. It was interesting how they knew this song due to their schools’ emphasis on diversity, and how their mother shared her culture with the class through music. I find it so amazing how music can be used to bring people together in the sharing of cultural heritage. This also reflects the use of folklore in children’s education, with folk music being something that mainly children know today.