Afro-American Folksongs - online book

A Study In Racial And National Music, With Sample Sheet Music & Lyrics.

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AFRO-AMERICAN FOLKSONGS
tury Magazine" on Creole songs Mr. Cable wrote:
One of the best of these Creole love-songs ... is the tender lament of one who sees the girl of his heart's choice the victim of chagnn in beholding a female rival wearing those vestments of extra quality that could only be the favors which both women had courted from the hand of some proud master whence alone such favors should come. "Calalou," says the song, "has an embroidered petticoat, and Lolotte, or Zizi," as it is often sung, "has a heartache." Calalou, here, I take to be a derisive nickname. Originally it is lie term for a West Indian dish, a noted ragout. It must be intended to apply here to the quadroon women who swarmed into New Orleans in 1809 as refugees from Cuba, Guadaloupe and other islands where the war against Napoleon exposed them to Spanish and British aggression. It was with this great influx of persons, neither savage nor enlightened, neither white nor black, neither slave nor truly free, that the famous quadroon caste arose and flourished. If Calalou, in the verse, was one of these quadroon fair ones, the song is its own explanation.
In its way the song "Caroline" (see page 139) lets light into the tragedy as well as the romance of the domestic life of the young creole slaves. Marriage, the summit of a poor girl's ambition, is its subject—that state of blissful respectability denied to the multitude either by law or social conditions, I have taken words and melody from "Slave Songs," but M. Tiersot, who wrote the song down from the singing of a negress in New Orleans, gives the name of the heroine as Azelie and divides the poem into two stanzas separated by a refrain:
Papa dit non, maman dit non,
C'est li m'oule, c'est li ma pren. (Bis)
Un, deux, trois, Azelie.
Pas pare com 9a, ma cher! {Bis)
Sam'di l'amour, Dimanch' marie, Lundi matin piti dans bras; N'a pas couvert', n'a pas de draps, N'a pas a rien, piti dans bras!
(Papa says no, mama says no.
It is he whom I want and who will have me. One, two, three; don't talk that way, my dear I Saturday, love; Sunday, married
Monday morning, a little one in arms. There is no coverlet, no sheets, nothing—little one in arms!)
Tiersot gives the melody of the stanzas in 5-8 time, of the refrain in 2-4, and describes the movements of the dancers (the song is a Counjai) as a somewhat languorous turning with a slight swaying of the body. I have translated "cabanne" cabin, but in Martinique "caban" signifies a bed, and in view of M. Tiersot's variant text this may also have been the meaning of the term in Louisiana.
[138]
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III