Pantala Naga Pampa

Album: Before These Crowded Streets (1998)
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Songfacts®:

  • 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 albums chart 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.

Comments: 8

  • Beau from Phoenix, AzBen: "What Will Become of Me" was more a segue and not really a structured song.
  • Susan from Westchestertonfieldville, VaI wish it were a whole song, I love it, some of the reason I even put Before These Crowded Streets on is for this tune
  • Dave from London, EnglandAlex from Carrollton, TX - you're right and well spotted! It's at the end of Jimi Thing - there's a pause/stop on the A7 chord, then they slip into this really lovely outro which is the part of Pantala Naga Pampa after the first eight bars when it slips into half time - if you sing the words over the top of the end of the Luther College Jimi Thing, you'll smile to yourself!!
  • Alex from Carrollton, TxI think dave played with this song for a long time. If you have the Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Luthor College album, they start playing Pantala Naga Pampa. They repeat it a couple of times, then the song ends. Once i find which song i'll post it here
  • Jeremy from Clay, Nyvery good ben im happy that i see a dmb freak on this site besides myself
  • Ben from Harpers Ferry, WvActually, the song Pantala Naga Pampa comes from an older DMB song known as What Will Become of Me, which was its own song and existed long before Rapunzel. For the album Before These Crowded Streets, the band just took the riff from that song and wrote new lyrics for it.
  • Ian from Urbana, IlVery much the intro to Rapunzel, he wouldn't play it without doing this one first.
  • Tommy from Southboro, MaBasically the intro to Rapunzel.
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