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Album: Before These Crowded StreetsReleased: 1998
Rumor had it that Pantala Naga Pampa means "Welcome To Our Home" in Gambian. The only problem with that is in Gambia they speak English and there is no Gambian language. It actually means "There's a cobra in my pants" - "Naga" is the Sanskrit word for "cobra" and the other two words are in Indian Tamil. Dave had an Indian chef who used to yell it while he was cooking and Dave would yell it back. When he wrote the song he humorously named it Pantala Naga Pampa and didn't know what it meant.
Players of role-playing games including Dungeons & Dragons, Nethack, and Angband, can tell you that a "Naga" is a middlin' snake-monster that doesn't take too many hit points to dispatch but doesn't drop much either. By the time you get to World of Warcraft, it's evolved into an amphibious monster instead. In the original Hindu meaning, it was a sea-going snake, similar to a sea-serpent.
In fact, Hindu and Buddhist legend still tells of the Phaya Naga, a sort of snake-deity who also lives in the sea. It's got its own whole mythology to come with it.
At a tiny running time of 40 seconds, this is barely a stand-alone track on its own and more of an intro. Which is exactly how it's used, as an intro to "Rapunzel
This is from Dave Matthews Band's third studio album, Before These Crowded Streets, which shot to #1 on the album charts in 1998. Critics and fans had a mixed reaction to the album, with some hearing it as the turning-point album where the band truly owned their adventurous, free-wheeling spirit, and others contending that the band dipped into prog-rock territory, with a darker edge that left them cold.