Companion to Chapter 4

Singing the Gospel: Oromo Christian Tradition of Storytelling through Song

by Samuel Deressa

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

From Oral Oromo Songs to Written Sources

English translation of Oromo songs collected by previous researchers (e.g., Tutschek and Onesimos)

Sumner, Claude (ed.). Oromo Wisdom Literature, vol. 2: Songs: Collection and Analysis. Addis Ababa: Gudina Tumsa Foundation, 1997. [View online]

[p. xx] Edme-François Jomard

Jomard, M. (Edme-François). Notice sur les gallas de Limmou. Paris: Imprimerie de Bourgogne et Martinet, 1839. [View online version at HathiTrust; on Oromo songs, see p. 20-24]

[p. xx] Karl (aka Carl) Tutschek
Unpublished manuscripts

Tutschek, Karl. Goma, Hambo & Sibu. Kad՚ad՚af wedud՚af odu kan Akaféd՚tetif kan Aga kan Aman walliti bue. Tutschekiana 1: Manuscript with Oromo songs, etc. received from his resource persons. [View online version at Münchener Digitalisierungsentrum]

Tutschek, Karl. Hafuri kan Aga’f Akafede’f Amana’ti. Tutschekiana 28: Dictated correspondence between Tutschek’s main Oromo resource persons. [View online version at Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum]

Posthumous publications

Tutschek, Charles [Karl]. Dictionary of the Galla Language / Lexicon der Galla Sprache; part 1: Galla-English-German / Galla–Englisch–Deutsch. Edited by Lawrence [Lorenz] Tutschek, München 1844. [View online version at Münchener DigitalisierungsZentrum]

  • On Tutschek’s Oromo resource persons, see the Introduction and K. Tutschek “Über die Galla, mit Rücksicht auf Tumale Darfur und Dar Denka,” Gelehrte Anzeigen, no. 55-58 (March 18-23). Munich: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1841. [View esp. no. 56]

Tutschek, Lawrence, comp. Dictionary of the Galla Language; part 2 [English–Galla]. Munich 1845. [View online version at Münchener DigitalisierungsZentrum]

Tutschek, Charles [Karl]. A Grammar of the Galla Language. [Posthumously] Transl. by M.J. Smead; edited by Lawrence Tutschek. München 1845. [view online version at Münchener DigitalisierungsZentrum, esp. the 3 prayers and 2 letters in Oromo by Aagaa and Akafedhee on p. 84-91]

[p. xx] Philipp Paulitschke / Franz Praetorius

Paulitschke, Philipp. Ethnographie Nordost-Afrikas. 2 vols. Berlin: Reimer, 1893, 1896. [View book excerpts]

Praetorius, Franz. Zur Grammatik der Gallasprache. Berlin: Reuther & Reichard, 1893. [View online version at HathiTrust; esp. the translation of Ps. 3 and 120 and the texts from Ocu Aagaa and the texts from Aman Gonda on p. 303-10]

[p. xx] Onesimos Nesib / Aster Gannoo

Onesimoos Nasiib and Aster Gannoo, eds. Jalqaba Barsiisaa: The Galla Spelling-Book [and Reader]. Imkullu: Swedish Mission Press, 1894. [View book]

Hylander, Nils. Letter to EFS. Missions-Tidning no. 21a (1891), 162-63 [on Aster Ganno; view online]

Onesimos Nesib. Letter to EFS dated 28 July 1893. Missions-Tidning no. 19 (1893), 149-50 [on (Oromo) Spelling-Book; view online]

[p. xx] Enrico Cerulli

Cerulli, Enrico. “Folk-Literature of the Galla of Southern Abyssinia,” Harvard African Studies 3 (1922), 9-226. [View online version at HathiTrust]

Hylander, Fride. “Onesinus [!] Nesib, Some Remarks on Cerulli’s ‘The Folk-Literature of the Galla’,” Journal of Ethiopian Studies 7, no. 2 (1969): 79-87. [View online]

[p. xx] Martino M. Moreno / Kurt Reinhard

Moreno, Martino Mario, ed. & tr. Favole e rime Galla. Rome: Tip. del Senato, 1935. (Studi storici e linguistici 1) [View excerpts online]

Reinhard, Kurt. “Die Musik der Borana,” in Galla Süd-Äthiopiens, edited by E. Haberland, 721-61. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1963. [Engl. translation forthcoming]

[p. xx] Johann Ludwig Krapf / Karl Wilhelm Isenberg / Thomas Pell Platt / Abu Rumi

Krapf, Johann Ludwig. An Imperfect Outline of the Elements of the Galla Language. Preceded by a few remarks concerning the nation of the (Oromo) […] by C. W. Isenberg. London: for the Church Missionary Society, 1840. [View online]

—. Vocabulary of the Galla Language. Edited by C. W. Isenberg. London: for the Church Missionary Society, 1842. [English – Oromo vocabulary, based on the German – Oromo list submitted by Krapf in 1841; view online]

Krapf, Johann Ludwig et al. (tr.). Tentamen imbecillum translationis evangelii Johannis in linguam Gallarum [Imperfect attempt to translate the Gospel of John (chapt. 1-5) into the language of the (Oromo)]. London: R. Watts, 1839. [Assisted by Barkii; view online]

—. Evangelium Matthaei, translatum in linguam Gallarum [The Gospel according to Matthew, translated into the language of the (Oromo)]. [London: R. Watts] 1841. [Probably assisted by Barkii; view online]

—. The Book of Psalms Translated into the Galla Language. Printed at the expense of the British and Foreign Bible-Society. St. Chrischona (Switzerland): Mission-Press, 1872. [View online]

—. The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Translated into the Galla Language. Printed at the expense of the British and Foreign Bible Society. St. Chrischona (Switzerland): Mission Press, 1876. (Cotranslators: Ruufoo, aleqa Zenneb, et al.) [View online]


Abu Rumi (tr). Holy Gospels in Amharic. Edited by Thomas Pell Platt. London: R. Watts, 1824. [View online]

. Holy Bible in Amharic. Edited by Thomas Pell Platt. 2nd edition. London: R. Watts, 1844. [View online]

. New Testament in Amharic. Revised by Johann Ludwig Krapf. Basle (Switzerland): F. Spittler, 1866. [View online]

—. New Testament in Amharic. Revised by J. M. Flad and Mikae’el Aregawi. St. Chrischona (Switzerland): Mission Press. 1886. [View online]

Isenberg, Charles William. Dictionary of the Amharic Language: Amharic and English and English and Amharic. London: R. Watts, 1841. [View online]

—. Grammar of the Amharic Language. [London: R. Watts] 1842. [View online]

Isenberg, Karl Wilhelm (tr.). [Anglican] Book of Common Prayer. London: SPCK, 1842. [View online]


Pauline Fatme: First Fruits of the Gallas to Christ Jesus. German original by C. F. Ledderhose; translated into English by J. L. Krapf; rev. edition by J. E. Dalton. London: W.H. Dalton, 1857. [View online]


  • [p. x] Galata Waaqayyoo [Praise God]. Mimeographed melody hymn book. Addis Ababa: Mekane Yesus Seminary, 1980.
  • [p. xx] Faarsaa fi Weedu [Hymns and Songs]. Edited by Onesimos Nesib. Imkullu (Massawa): Swedish Evangelical Mission, 1886. [View book] [View music book (publ. 2022)]
  • [p. xx] Galata Waaqayyo Gooftaa Machaa [Praise God, Lord of hosts]. Edited by Martin Nordfeldt. Addis Ababa: Swedish Evangelical Mission, 1935. [View book]
  • Galata Waaqayyo Gooftaa Machaa. 2nd edition. Addis Ababa, 1959/60 (1952 AM).
  • [p. xx] Sagalee Lubbuu Galata Waaqayyof [Words from the soul to praise God]. Mimeograph, edited by Lammeesa Bato. n.p., 1970. [View book]
  • [p. xx] Galata Waaqayyoo [Praise God]. 1st edition. Addis Ababa: Yemisrach Dimts, 1976/77 (1969 AM). [View book]
  • [p. xx] Galata Waaqayyoo. 2nd edition. Addis Ababa: Yemisrach Dimts, 1990/91 (1983 AM).
  • [p. xx] Macaafa Faarsa [Hymn Book]. Addis Ababa: Bethel Synod Mekane Yesus, 1967 [2nd ed. 1980 ??].
  • [p. xx] Macaafa Faarfannaa: Galata Waaqayyo [Hymn Book: Praise God]. Edited by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus. Addis Ababa: Bole Printing Enterprise, 1998. [View book] [View Android app]

Words of Life” Audio Recordings (before 1974)

  • Oromo: Wellega
    Words of Life (about 7 songs [cf. “Galata Waaqayyoo”?]), © 1967

Profiles of selected Oromo gospel musicians

Vignettes of selected Oromo gospel musicians and songwriters

Music videos ft. Oromo storytelling

  • Kuullee Koo (by Haacaaluu Hundeessaa):
  • Belba (by Jamboo Jootee):

Further readings


Ezekiel Gebissa, Wolbert G.C. Smidt (eds.). The Letters and Reminiscences of Akkafehde Dalle and Oshuu Agaa: Two Oromo Former Slaves in Germany in the Early Nineteenth Century. Münster: Lit Verlag, forthcoming. [View advance notice on]


Addisu Tolesa. Geerarsa Folksong as the Oromo National Literature: A study of ethnography, folklore, and folklife in the context of the Ethiopian colonization of Oromia. Lewiston, NY; Queenston [Canada]: Mellen Press, 1999. [Read at OpenLibrary (]

Andrzejewski, Bogumil Witalis. “Literature in Cushitic Languages other than Somali,” in Literatures in African Languages: Theoretical issues and sample surveys, eds. B. W. Andrzejewski, S. Piłaszewicz, and W. Tyloch, p. 408-25. Warsaw: Wiedza Powszechna; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Eshete Gemeda. African Egalitarian Values and Indigeneous Genres: A Comparative Approach to the Functional and Contextual Studies of Oromo National Literature in a Contemporary Perspective. Wien, Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2012. [esp. chapter 6; view online version (Google Books)]

Griefenow-Mewis, Catherine, and Tamene Bitima (eds.). Oromo Oral Poetry Seen from Within. Wortkunst und Dokumentartexte in afrikanischen Sprachen 20. Cologne: R. Köppe Verlag, 2008.

Van de Loo, Joseph, with the collaboration of Bilow Kota. Guji Oromo Culture in Southern Ethiopia: Religious Capabilites in Rituals and Songs. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1991.


Kena Abdii. “Hachalu Hundessa’s Kuullee Koo: In-depth Analysis into the Lyrics and Wollo History.” Article on, September 27, 2021. [View online]

Tatek Abebe. “Storytelling through Popular Music: Social Memory, Reconciliation, and Intergenerational Healing in Oromia/ Ethiopia.” Humanities 10, no. 2 (April 2021): 70. [View online]