Ospreyshire Origins: Ishango

Lyrics:

[Lingala]
Tosalaki eloko ya sika
(Eloko ya sika)
Mokuwa oyo ekosunga bato pona koyekola mitango
(Koyekola mitango)
Tozali basali ya eloko ya sika
(Eloko ya sika)

Over 20,000 years ago, we crafted something still being taught to future generations. We made a calculator and calendar from a baboon’s bone. What a prime way for instructions from a primate. We solved problems and tallied up solutions. Nzambe bless our methods. Counting lunar cycles, adding, subtracting, dividing, multiplying notch by notch. We made generations smarter and efficient. We know other civilizations wouldn’t be born in millennia. Our technology shall not be fractured, only modernized in future ages.

Ishango=Innovation (repeat)


I would like to thank Dr. Y. and Deogratias from Lingala Academy for this song. The former has an article about this aforementioned ancient calculator and the latter helped me with the Lingala part of the song.

This was a good kickoff song besides the intro by covering this overlooked invention. I didn’t realize one of the first calculators was made from a baboon bone from what’s now the DRC. Anyone who says Africa had no civilization or inventions need to get educated. This bone was used as tallies and as a tool for multiple kinds of math problems. Okay, I wasn’t the best at math, but the fact that some of my maternal ancestors could’ve invented this does fill me with joy and some self-esteem.

From a musical standpoint, I listened to a ton of traditional Congolese drum music, so I wanted to do something very percussive, but still lively despite the lack of instrumental melodies. Using Lingala again has been great. It’s a very musical language and has a certain beauty to it.

What are your thoughts on the Ishango Bone or this song? Don’t forget that Dear Innovare is $7 on Bandcamp!

The Ishango Bone image is from MAA.

2 thoughts on “Ospreyshire Origins: Ishango

    • Yeah, I didn’t even know about it until I saw Dr. Y’s blog post earlier this year. I wasn’t aware about all the things in the Congo in ancient times with their civilizations and inventions. Also, the Congo wasn’t the only African nation to have made a calculator tens of thousands of years ago and I mention the other invention in another track on the same album as kind of a parallel to Ishango.

      Liked by 1 person

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