ON THE TRAIL OF NEGRO FOLK-SONGS

A Collection Of Negro Traditional & Folk Songs with Sheet Music Lyrics & Commentaries - online book

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NEGRO FOLK-SONGS
21
folks or colored either. Dey ain't a healthy folks. I'll tell dat to deir face."
Aunt Jane talked of old days as she lay back against her pillow, and I sat in an ancient split-bottom chair beside her bed, while Uncle Israel pottered about, poking the fire and fumbling among old papers to see what he could find to show me.
She said, "Dey tuck me fum my mammy when I was a baby. My oP marster he died an' a ol' lady bought me. She so ugly I don't re­member her name. She did n't buy my mammy. My mammy had to teck it, 'case she could n't he'p herself. She never sent me no papers, nor I her, and I don't know nothing 'bout her sence dat time. When I was a young girl I was sold at de block in New Orleans. Dey stood me up on de block in de slave-pen. De doctor 'zaminie me fust an' look at my teeth. I war sold for fifteen hunned dollars."
She gazed wistfully out of the door and said, "I study a lot 'bout my mammy. I wunner will I ever see her agin."
Poor old Aunt Jane! — since I saw her, she has died. Let us hope that she has found her mammy.
One of the mulatto men told me about how the Negroes would beat drums and cotton sticks, and chant,
Sing no more Creole — free nation. Sing no more Creole — free nation.
I was told of the Creole dances and dance-songs.
I had a delightful time getting Creole songs in New Orleans, the songs in the Creole patois sung by the French-speaking Negroes. I had the privilege of meeting some charming Creole ladies, friends of one of the friends I was visiting in New Orleans, who sang into my phonograph lively songs they had learned from the French Negroes. That dialect is no more like correct French than Negro dialect is like ordinary English. The songs are difficult to capture, and very few of them have been printed. Here is a sample:
Maman Donne Moin un Pitit Mari
Marxian donne moin un pitit mari. Bon Dieu, quel un homme comme li pitit! Mo mette le couche dans mo lite, Bon Dieu, comme li si t'on pitit! Chatte rentre et prend li pour un sourit Bon Dieu, quel-ti un homme que li pitit!