What song is this?
May 24, 2021 12:17 PM   Subscribe

This song is from the 80s or 90s and has a chorus that repeats a name/word like “Alonna”: a-LON-na! (The word could be moana, ohana, hosanna, or something else similar. I don't know.) Almost like a chant; I want to say this part of the song at least has a vaguely African tribal choral sound. When I sing the notes of the "a-LON-na!" part into an online pitch finder I get G#4 A#4 A#4.
posted by Trespassers William to Media & Arts (46 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My Sharona?
posted by FencingGal at 12:28 PM on May 24

Rosanna by Toto?
posted by jquinby at 12:32 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]

Joanna by Kool & the Gang?
posted by Rash at 12:34 PM on May 24

What genre? I can think of Informer by Snow, or Life in a Northern Town by Dream Academy
posted by wellred at 12:38 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]

I want it to be Aicha so bad.
posted by phunniemee at 12:42 PM on May 24 [4 favorites]

I think the obvious ones are covered. A few more edge cases:

Kula Shaker's Tatva?
The Prodigy's Narayan?
posted by bfranklin at 12:55 PM on May 24

posted by monologish at 1:00 PM on May 24

Ah Leah by Donnie Iris?
posted by travertina at 1:01 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac?

and now I have a new earworm, tyvm.
posted by theora55 at 1:02 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]

"Vaguely African choral" made me think of Karl Jenkins' Adiemus.
posted by offog at 1:11 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]

The part of Genius of Love where they repeat the name Bohannon?
posted by eschatfische at 1:16 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]

Paul Simon's Graceland album includes some songs with African chants but none that I could find that fit your description.
posted by perhapses at 1:21 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh man, so many earworms. Thanks everyone. I haven't heard it yet.

wellred: I don't know the genre, but it's moody and maybe even a little dark. Not an upbeat, energetic song. But not slow or mournful either. The a-LON-na! is sung crisply without drawing out any of the syllables. Not like "Rhiaaaaaaaanon" or "Rosannaaaaa".

offog: Yes, the choral sound of Adiemus is pretty close to what's rattling around in my brain!
posted by Trespassers William at 1:24 PM on May 24

Sadeness? this might be lodged in your brain from the Pure Moods commercial.
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:37 PM on May 24

Doesn't follow the "moody and maybe even a little dark," but Kyrie Eleison?
posted by cooker girl at 1:39 PM on May 24

It's probably not 'Iesha,' especially since you said moody and dark--two qualities seldom achieved in the kid-soul genre.
posted by box at 1:47 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

This reminds me of the first bit of Biko... but it's really only that one part. Still, in case your memory has done what it often does with my vague recollections of songs long past, I'm throwing it out there.
posted by daikaisho at 1:52 PM on May 24

Baianá, by Barbatuques?
posted by sagc at 1:53 PM on May 24

Lola by the Kinks?
posted by meepmeow at 1:57 PM on May 24

Is it the Tan-an-a in Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes from Paul Simon's Graceland?
posted by zepheria at 2:10 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

The introductory section of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes?"
posted by praemunire at 2:10 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Whoa, what are the odds of two people suggesting Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes at the exact same time? Not it -- great song though.
posted by Trespassers William at 2:15 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]

Lola by the Kinks?
posted by wwax at 2:17 PM on May 24

Something of a long shot: Johnny Clegg & Savuka, Scatterlings of Africa?
posted by praemunire at 2:18 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]

Super long shot, but the thing jangling around in my head now is I Zimbra by Talking Heads.
posted by fountainofdoubt at 2:30 PM on May 24

praemunire, I was just about to suggest that one!
posted by cooker girl at 2:33 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

Per the suggestion in my "what's this song?" thread yesterday, did you try humming it into the Google app?
posted by limeonaire at 3:12 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

Maybe "Sweet Lullaby" by Deep Forest?
posted by Wobbuffet at 3:36 PM on May 24

I suspect it's Ramona, by The Stampeders.
posted by AugustusCrunch at 4:48 PM on May 24

posted by dusty potato at 5:04 PM on May 24

Well, there is Ilona.
posted by gudrun at 5:13 PM on May 24

Such a long shot that I'm hesitant to suggest it, but Africa by Toto?
posted by Jacen at 7:32 PM on May 24

PIL Annalisa?
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 7:37 PM on May 24

The last minute of No Looking by The Raincoats?
posted by kitty teeth at 8:05 PM on May 24

Is it Living in Domes by Red Box?
posted by yellowcandy at 10:40 PM on May 24

A very long shot - State of Independence by Donna Summer? It has a choral refrain of a choir singing "Shablamidi, shablamida" with a vaguely African feel to it.
posted by essexjan at 2:35 AM on May 25

Maybe Eddy Grant - Gimme Hope Jo'Anna?
posted by edlundart at 3:17 AM on May 25

Another long shot - the Gloria from David Fanshawe's African Sanctus?
posted by offog at 3:50 AM on May 25

I’m guessing it may be Talking Heads...something from Remain in Light?
posted by childofTethys at 4:06 AM on May 25

It's not actually Hosanna, is it?
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 4:26 AM on May 25

Oh, please let it be Guyana by Man O War.
posted by holyrood at 2:23 PM on May 25

Isolda by Paul Burch?
posted by dobbs at 7:01 PM on May 25

I always think that George Harrison's "Dream Away" has some sort of actual chorus, like, with words, but it doesn't.

Oh ry in eye ay, oh ry in eye ay
Oh ry in ah key, ooh lay
Ka lay ooh lau ee, oh ry in eye ay
Sal you te lee ay vee show

posted by Western Infidels at 8:09 AM on May 26

Mona by the Rolling Stones?

(Written by Bo Diddley & covered by many other bands too.)
posted by Paul Slade at 10:45 AM on May 26

Deanna by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds?
posted by Omission at 7:07 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]

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