Kum ba ya / Kumbayah

This African/American spiritual was written in Georgia, USA.

It first created in Gullah, a creole language spoken by the Gullah people, an African-American population living in coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia. The first recording was made by descendants of slaves in the Gullah Geechee community of Darien in Georgia. (ref).

“Kumbaya” means “Come by here” in Gullah and the song was, and is, a plea to God for help.

The song is very effective sung as a round. The origin of the tune is unknown.

Many different verses can be used, these slides show three of the common ones.


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Small group with band:

1960's folk band, reunion concert:

1960s concert performance:

Gospel congregation recording, organ and rhythm:


Kum-ba-ya, my Lord, Kum-ba-ya, (x3)
O Lord, Kum-ba-ya.

Someone's singin', Lord, kum-ba-ya…

Someone's praisin', Lord, kum-ba-ya…

Kum-ba-ya, my Lord, kum-ba-ya…

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