In Memoriam: Stephen Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence

former boy scout and promising architect
13 September 1974 – 22 April 1993

***

Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone’s laughing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s laughing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s laughing, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone’s crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s crying, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone’s praying, Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s praying, Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s praying, Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone’s singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone’s singing, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

***

“Kumbaya” or “Kumbayah” (Gullah, “Come By Here” — “Kum ba yah“) — is an African-American spiritual song from the 1930s. It enjoyed newfound popularity during the folk revival of the 1960s and became a standard campfire song in Scouting and nature-oriented organizations. Contemporary use of the song is linked with themes of human and spiritual unity, closeness and compassion.

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