Afro-American Folksongs - online book

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

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AFRO-AMERICAN FOLKSONGS
comprehension of a people whose life is fully expressed in the song of its own creation. Marie-Clemence was a Machanne lapacotte, a vendor of cooked food; chiefly, it would seem from the text, of salt codfish Qamori fritt). Why she should have been made the victim of popular hatred I do not know—perhaps never shall know, now that the ashes of La Pelee have made a winding-sheet for St. Pierre; but one day the devil pointed his finger at the poor woman and pronounced her codfish accursed, also her gold-bead necklace (collier-choux) and everything that she carried in the wooden bowl above her gay madrasse. An agony of pain and rage bursts out in the African ex­clamation "Aie!" only to give way to her pitiful plaint:
Lague moin, lague moin, lague moin! Main ke neye co main, Enbas gouts pile ou$che-la!
("Let me be. let me be, let me be! ' I shall drown myself behind yon pile of rocks!")
Sometimes the people of the Antilles do not wait for the coming of the carnival and its devil to punish those who have fallen under their displeasure- The custom of the pittard prevails in Martinique and can be practised at any time, Hearn writes: "Some person whom it is deemed justifiable or safe to annoy may suddenly find himself followed in the street by a singing chorus of several hundred, all clapping their hands and dancing or running in perfect time, so that all the bare feet strike the ground together. Or, the fillard chorus may even take up its position before the residence of the party disliked and then proceed with its performances." The song "Loema tombe" (see page Hi) provides an illustration. "Loema," wrote Mr. Hearn, in sending me the words and melody of the song, "was a girl who lived near the Pont-Bas and affected virtue. It was learned that she received not one but many lovers. Then the women came and sang:
Solo: You little children there Who live by the riverside, Tell me truly this: Did you see Loema fall?
Chorus: Tell me truly this: Loema fall, etc
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III