Sunday 17 May

“Kumbaya” is one of those songs that has a rather mixed reputation: from being a”must sing” in the popular folk song repertoire, to being seen as a rather childish and simplistic camp fire song and used to parody the hippy culture of the 1960s.

Having a “Kumbaya” moment is shorthand for superficially at least putting aside personal differences and getting along. 

President Barack Obama remarked of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process: “So this can’t be reduced to a matter of, somehow, let’s all hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya.’”

In a real sense sense Obama was absolutely right. Deep and long term conflict will never be sorted out with just a campfire sing along. 

This song has its origin in the cry of Black Americans who were experiencing enslavement and oppression. So maybe, just maybe, this heart-felt plea for help from beyond ourselves, as together we seek to resolve difference and alleviate further suffering, is a vital step to a better world with a more hopeful future. The version here reminds us that even in “lockdown” we are part of one wonderful and diverse world.