A Haitian Call-and-Response Song

Grade Level
K–3, 4–6


Audio file
Alouba, Alouba, Nous Mare-O

Activity #1: Listening and Responding to Call-and-Response (K-3)
1. Sing a familiar call-and-response song with the children, such as "Liza Jane," "Oh John the Rabbit," or "All Night, All Day." Discuss the meaning of call-response, which is typically two phrases in which the leader may sing the first phrase while another (or a full group) may respond by singing a second phrase.

2. Have children listen to "Alouba, Alouba" (and raise their hands when they hear the "response" (the melodic pattern that repeats itself).

3. Have children listen again to the selection, asking them to stand each time they hear the response, and to sit when they hear the "call."

4. Divide the class in two groups. Group 1 stands on the call and group 2 stands on the response. (Each group sits when their section is not sounding.) 

5. Have the class determine a movement or motion they can perform together as they hear the call or response sections of the song.

Activity #2: Singing the Response (4-6)
1. Talk about "call-response" songs in relation to various musical traditions. For further information on this song form (and compositional technique), click here.

2. Sing a familiar call response song with the children, such as "All Night, All Day," and note that the response repeats itself after every call.

3. Have the children listen to "Alouba, Alouba" to determine which phrase is the call and which is the response.

4. Have the children echo sing the following melodic phrase (the response, extracted from song):

so,- so, - do - la, - so,- mi - mi - re - do

(Note that [,] signifies a pitch below the tonic do)

5. Have the children sing the response each time with solfege, and determine that the tonal center is "do" indicating that the tonality is major.

6. Listen again to the selection and sing the words on the response.

Designed by Rita Klinger