‘Malaika’ is one of the most famous Swahili love songs, often attributed to the Kenyan musician Fadhili William. He first recorded the song with his band the Jambo Boys in 1960. I heard this song for the first time in 2007 while living with the Kunjombe family in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. My host mother, Mariam, sang this song often. Later, I found this beautiful version performed by Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba.

As I’ve done with the other songs, I will provide the original lyrics in Kiswahili, the chords (as best I can), and the English translation. Enjoy!

Malaika

First verse:

D               A                   D          A

Malaika, nakupenda malaika,

D                A                  D         D7

malaika, nakupenda Malaika.

.                    G                                Em    A

Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio,

A                                    D        A                   A7       D       A

nashindwa na mali sina, we, ningekuoa Malaika,

A                                    D        A    A7                     D       A

nashindwa na mali sina, we, ningekuoa Malaika.

 Second verse:

D       A                           D         A

Pesa zasumbua roho yangu,

D      A                             D        D7

pesa zasumbua roho yangu.

.                    G                                Em    A

Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio,

A                                   D       A     A7                     D       A

nashindwa na mali sina, we, ningekuoa Malaika,

A                                   D       A     A7                     D       A

nashindwa na mali sina, we, ningekuoa Malaika,

Third verse:

D            A                      D         A

Kidege, hukuwaza kidege,

D            A                      D         A

Kidege, hukuwaza kidege,

.                     G                                Em    A

Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio,

A                                   D       A     A7                     D       A

nashindwa na mali sina, we, ningekuoa Malaika,

A                                   D       A     A7                     D       A

nashindwa na mali sina, we, ningekuoa Malaika,

Repeat first verse.

English translation:

Angel, I love you Angel.

Angel, I love you Angel.

And I, your young lover, what can I do.

Was I not defeated by the lack of fortune,

I would marry you Angel.

Money is troubling my soul,

Money is troubling my soul.

And I, your young lover, what can I do.

Was I not defeated by the lack of fortune,

I would marry you Angel.

Little bird, I dream of you little bird.

Little bird, I dream of you little bird.

And I, your young lover, what can I do.

Was I not defeated by the lack of fortune,

I would marry you Angel.