Learn the imperative with ‘Tell Me A Tale’

Level A2 / B1; Genre: Pop, Soul, RnB

(You’ll find a short vocabulary list at the bottom of this article containing the underlined words. If there are any other words you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to ask).

Hi, and welcome to my latest post. Have you heard of the RnB / soul singer Michael Kiwanuka? If not, then it is time to get to know him.  Michael’s song Tell Me A Tale will help you learn the imperative. 

Who is Michael Kiwanuka?

Let us get to know Michael with some facts about his life:

  • Born in North London
  • Ugandan parents
  • Session musician until his debut album ‘Home Again’ 
  • Studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. 
  • Dropped out due to poor results. 
  • Pursued dreams to become a musician. 
  • Played part-time in pubs and clubs in North London.
  • Read Patti Smith’s memoir.
  • Decided to become a full-time artist. 

Now we know a little bit about who he is, let’s listen to the song ‘Tell Me A Tale’:


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Did you understand the song? If not, it’s not a problem. We will get to that in a minute. Let’s look at the title first. What does it mean? What does, for example, tale mean? Yes! It means story. Ok, so what does the title mean? Write down some ideas on a piece of paper.

Good! Now let’s read the lyrics together. Here is the link

Listen twice to the song with the lyrics. If you want, you can also sing along to it as well. 

I would like you to listen to the chorus twice without the lyrics. Write some ideas down on what the chorus is about.And finally, it is time to listen to the song without pausing it. Do this a few times, because practise makes perfect! 

For more information on how to improve your listening skills, look at my blog post on the six simple steps to improve your listening skills.

Let us now look together at the grammar we can learn in this song with the following video:

What else can You learn with The Album ‘Home Again’?

It gives learners of all levels something. For people studying at beginner level, you can also learn these things:

  • present simple
  • past simple
  • will future

For more advanced learners, you can learn the following things from this album:

  • future continuous
  • irregular use of English for example ‘ain’t’
  • Gerund – ‘loving’ instead of ‘love’
  • Irregular use of grammar – Tell me a tale that always was. Not a complete sentence

To learn these things, practise in the same way as I did in my video.

It is important to remember, that you should not try to learn everything at once, because this is not possible. Set yourself a target that you can learn maybe one tense or one thing with one song. Once you are confident, then you can move onto the next thing for example new tense. 

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How was the album rated by the experts?

Allmusic.com rated 3/5, Allmusic.com rated the album 3/5, which really is not high enough, in my opinion. Unfortunately, Rollingstone.com rated it three stars as well. But what is most important, is that the BBC made Kiwanuka the BBC Sound Of 2012 because of this top-class album. NME.com also said that ‘…here lies warmth and wisdom‘, which shows that musically this album is up there with the best. There are lots of beautiful melodies and sounds, which will interest people, who like all different types of music for example blue-eyed soul, rock, pop and RnB.

If you liked this album as much as me, share (imperative) it with your friends and family. Let them see the warmth and wisdom as well as you!

If you would like to learn more sign Up for a free Present tense Cheat Sheet

Vocabulary List 'Tell Me A Tale'


Tell Me A Tale lyrics

NME.com review

Allmusic.com review

BBC Music review

1 thought on “Learn the imperative with ‘Tell Me A Tale’”

  1. Pingback: Identify different grammar with protest music - Learn English with Tommy

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