This song arose from a dispute over the rulership of an area of The Gambia, West Africa in the early twentieth century. When Falai Kora, first chief appointed during British colonial rule died, his eldest son Mamadi should have succeeded him. Instead, the younger brother Kemonding had himself installed. Fearing retribution from his elder brother, he had him banished to another district. The elder brother, unwilling to accept this state of affairs, consulted a marabout, or Muslim holy man, for advice. The marabout inscribed the blade of a cutlass with the name of Allah and some prayers and instructed Mamadi to simply show this to his brother. When he did so, Kemonding was so frightened that he imagined he was about to be killed and had Mamadi Beaten. When the colonial district commissioner heard of this, he immediately took steps to install the proper heir to the chiefdom. Ultimately this was accomplished and Mamadi was in a position to have his brother suitably punished but he declined to do so, preferring instead a pardon, with the words, “This is Allah’s deed.” (Excerpted from a typescript produced by the Gambia Cultural Archives.)
This song was originally composed by Falai Kora’s personal griot, Hamadi Suso.