This song proclaims Danbala and Ayida as spirits who give inspiration for vanquishing ones enemies. The song says this in a coded manner known in Haiti as chante pwen. We can allow it to reveal its meaning by going through it line by line.
Danbala and Ayida Wedo are ancestral spirits from the Rada tradition of Haiti. The people ofHaiti divide their religious traditions as either of Rada or Kongo origin. Rada is an alternate pronounciation of Allada, an important city of the 17th century Kingdom called Dahomey. Danbala and Ayida were the first entities that God, Mawou-Lisa, created and they assisted God in creating the rest of the universe.For this reason, they are considered as creator spirits.The notion that God created ancestral -like spirits to help him/her with creation is not unique to Africa. It is a common finding in creation stories all over the world.This is likely because much of our world, like the roads and the homes in which we live, were created or built by those who preceded us. In other words, our forefathers participated in the making of the world that we have inherited.
The Guedevi-Dahomean word Da appears in Danbala and Ayida, because that word means creator.As snakes shed their skins, they seem to constantly recreate themselves. For that reason, they are also called da. The name Danbala is a variant pronounciation of Dan Bada. One name for Danbala in Dahomey was Dan Segbo. In Haiti, Segbo is pronounced as Sebon.This word Sebon is derived from Gbo meaning power and and Se meaning what God has given to spirits to enable them to exist. In Dahomey, it is called Se. In Nigeria, the Nago people called it Ashè, and today in Brazil, it is written as Axe. Appropriately, in Haiti, Se is also also associated with other spirits. This is why in some traditional songs, one can find the phrase, Se Agawou Se.
Wedo means inspiration and comes from We meaning light and do meaning dance. When a person is inspired by a spirit, the spirit is said to dance in the head of its host. Ayidawedo is the Guedevi and Ewe-Dahomean word for rainbow.Accordingly in Haiti, the rainbow is the symbol for Ayida. As Ayida is a female spirit, the rainbow is seen as her appropriate symbol because of its beauty and its curve.
In the song, Danbala gives inspiration to overcome one’s enemies. This is why the song says when I mount my horse, some people will cry. When a person is inspired by a spirit, that person is said to be a horse mounted by that spirit. This is to say the person is the body and the spirit is what controls it. This analogy was made in Africa following the introduction of the horse from the Middle East to the upper Ginen region several centuries ago. The horsemen anology was carried to Haiti, to Brazil, and to Cuba where it is used today to mean a person inspired by a spirit.