Twa Fèy, Twa Rasin (song)

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Material Information

Title:
Twa Fèy, Twa Rasin (song)
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Creator:
Gilles, Jerry
Gilles, Ivrose
Publisher:
Jerry & Ivrose Gilles
Publication Date:

Notes

Abstract:
This is a song about how precious things are sometimes neglected by people who do not value them, but are cherished by others who understand their significance. To highlight how important ideas can be trivialized and discarded, the song presents the Kongolese notion of the universe as though it were speaking of three worthless leaves falling into a pool. In reality, the leaves and the pool are both symbolic, and their meanings can be understood by reviewing Kongolese beliefs taken to Haiti during the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
System ID:
AA00004160:00001


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Full Text



T a y d T TR in


Twa fey, twa rasin o
Jete bliye
Ranmase sonje
Mwen genyen basen mwen
Twa fey tonbe ladan n
Jete bliye
Ranmase sonje
Eskalye Boumba
Twa fey tonbe
Lan basen mwen
Langaj o
Twa fey tonbe
Lan basen mwen
Zila Moyo
Twa fey tonbe
Lan basen mwen
Langaj o
Twa fey tonbe
Lan basen mwen


Three leaves, three roots
Those who discard, forget
Those who reclaim, remember
I have my basin
Three leaves have fallen in it
Those who discard, forget
Those who reclaim, remember
Stairway to Heaven
Three leaves have fallen
In my basin
Sacred words
Three leaves have fallen
In my basin
Sacred path
Three leaves have fallen
In my basin
Sacred words
Three leaves have fallen
In my basin


This is a song about how precious things are sometimes
neglected by people who do not value them, but are cherished
by others who understand their significance. To highlight how
important ideas can be trivialized and discarded, the song
presents the Kongolese notion of the universe as though it
were speaking of three worthless leaves falling into a pool. In
reality, the leaves and the pool are both symbolic, and their
meanings can be understood by reviewing Kongolese beliefs
taken to Haiti during the 17th and 18th centuries.


The people of the Kongo Kingdom believed the universe to
have three spheres. Each of these spheres, or world of spirits,
was also referred to as a water domain. The song has three
leaves falling into a pool so that each leaf, immersed in water,
is representative of one of the domains. The people of the
Kongo believed that trees are in contact with each of the three
domains. They reasoned this to be true because trees stand on
the earth, have roots in the underworld, and reach towards the
sky. It follows then that trees are in constant contact with earth
spirits, underworld spirits, and sky spirits. For this reason, in
Haiti, trees are used as repositories of Ancestral spirits, the
Lwas. Trees are considered sacred and their fragments are







used as symbols of the three spiritual domains. The song uses
the term three leaves or three roots to refer to the three
worlds of spirits. At times in Haiti, reference to the three
spiritual domains is done using earth rather than tree
analogies, and is said as three rocks or three islands (twa fey,
twa ile).

The analogy with the three leaves also exploits the fact that
leaves are abundant in nature and not commonly viewed as
precious. The Haitian Kongolese heritage is made analogous to
fallen leaves whose significance is lost on those who discard
this culture. This is the reason why the song says "jete, bliye".
To those who have rejected it, the Haitian Kongolese tradition
is as worthless as a few leaves. However, for those who value
and understand the tradition, the three leaves are precious and
ought to be safeguarded. The song expresses this by saying,
"ranmase, sonje", implying that those who reclaim the three
fallen leaves are those who remember and value their heritage.
Nowadays, the term "jete bliye, ranmase sonje" can be used to
describe anything that one neglects but others value.

In 2006, Preval exploited this adage in his effective run for the
office of the presidency. He used "Twa Fey" as his campaign
slogan and used the traditional song to court Aristide's popular
base. The song was used to suggest that those who rejected
Aristide have forgotten the merits of the Lavalas movement,
while those who support Preval value that political
organization.

The "Twa fey twa rasin" song is traditionally played on a Petwo
beat to honor the popular King Don Petwo IV of the Kongo. To
honor Kongolese Ancestors, the non-Creole terms used in the
song come from the Kikongo language of the Kongo. These two
terms are Boumba and Zila Moyo. In Haiti, as part of honoring
our Ancestors, we consider the languages spoken by them as a
sacred language called langay or langaj.

Zila is the Kikongo word for path, and moyo, the word for
eternal. Zila Moyo is called Gran Chemen in Haiti and it refers
to the circle of life, meaning the constant birth and death cycle.
Gran Chemen, or the sacred grand road of life, is considered to







be the path that inevitably takes us to join the Ancestors.
Boumba is a class of Ancestral spirits that are believed to reside
at the top of steep mountaintops in the Kongo. It is said that to
visit the summit of these steep Kongolese mountains, one
would have to build a staircase. This Kongolese idea is sung
about in Haiti as "klouwe m ape klouwe bwa, eskalye Boumba,
se bwa m ap klouwe."

In short, this song shows how precious concepts about the
universe can be trivialized and abandoned by some, while
being treasured and upheld by others. This Haitian traditional
song is about valuing and honoring one's heritage. Kikongo
words are used to emphasize that our Kongolese heritage has
not been forgotten.




Full Text

PAGE 1

Twa Jete Ran m Mw e Twa Jete Ran m Esk a Twa Lan Lan g Twa Lan Zila Twa Lan Lan g Twa Lan Thi s ne g by o im p pre we r rea me a tak e Th e ha v wa s lea v is r Ko n do m the sky spi r Hai t Lw a fy, twa rasi bliye m ase sonje e n genyen b a fy tonbe la d bliye m ase sonje a lye Boumba fy tonbe basen mwen g aj o fy tonbe basen mwen M oyo fy tonbe basen mwen g aj o fy tonbe basen mwen s is a so g lected by o thers wh p ortant id e sents the r e speakin lity, the l e a nings ca n e n to Hait i e people o v e three s p s also ref e v es falling r epresent a n go believ e m ains. Th e earth, ha v It follow s r its, unde r t i, trees a a s. Trees Twa F n o a sen mwen d an n ng about people w h o underst a e as can b Kongoles e g of three e aves and n be und e during th e o f the Ko n p heres. Ea e rred to a into a po o tive of o n e d that tr e e y reason e v e roots in s then that r world spi r a re used a are consi d F y T w how pr e h o do not v a nd their s b e triviali z e notion worthles s the pool e rstood b y e 17th and n go Kingd ch of the s s a water o l so that n e of the e es are in c e d this to b n the unde r t trees are r its, and s a s reposit o d ered sac w a Ra s Three leave s Those who d Those who r I have my b a Three leave s Those who d Those who r Stairway to H Three leave s In my basin Sacred wor d Three leave s In my basin Sacred path Three leave s In my basin Sacred wor d Three leave s In my basin e cious thi n value the m s ignificanc z ed and d of the u n s leaves fa are both y reviewin 18th cent u om belie v s e spheres domain. each leaf, domains. c ontact wi b e true be c r world, an in consta n ky spirits. o ries of A red and t s in s three roots d iscard, forge eclaim, rem e a sin s have fallen i d iscard, forge eclaim, rem e H eaven s have fallen d s s have fallen s have fallen d s s have fallen n gs are s m but are e. To hig h d iscarded, n iverse as lling into a symbolic, g Kongol e u ries. v ed the u n or world The song immerse d The peo p th each o f c ause tree d reach t o n t contact w For this A ncestral s t heir frag m t e mber i n it t e mber s ometime s cherished h light ho w the son g though i t a pool. In and thei r e se belief s n iverse t o of spirits, has thre e d in water, p le of th e f the thre e s stand on o wards th e w ith earth reason, in s pirits, th e m ents ar e w r

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us e the wo r spi r an a tw a Th e lea v pre fall e thi s To t is a an d ou g “ ra n fall e No w de s In 2 offi slo g ba s Ari s wh i org Th e be a ho n so n ter m ou r sac Zil a ete to t Gr a e d as sym b term th r r lds of sp r itual do m a logies, an a ile). e analogy v es are a b cious. Th e e n leaves s culture. T t hose wh o s worthle s d understa g ht to be n mase, s o e n leaves a w adays, t h s cribe anyt 2 006, Prev ce of the g an and u s s e. The s o s tide have i le those anization. e “ Twa fy a t to hono r n or Kongo l n g come fr o m s are Bo u r Ancestor s red langu a a is the K i rnal. Zila M t he circle o a n Cheme n b ols of the r ee leaves irits. At m ains is d is said a with the t b undant i n e Haitian K whose si g T his is the o have rej e s s as a fe w nd the tra d safeguard o nje” impl a re those w h e term “j e hing that o al exploit e presiden c s ed the tr a o ng was u s forgotte n who s twa rasin ” r the pop u l ese Ance o m the Ki k u mba and s we cons a ge called l i kongo w o M oyo is c a o f life, me a n or the s a three spi r or three times in H done usi a s three r o t hree lea v n nature a ongolese h g nificance reason w e cted it, t h w leaves. H d ition, th e ed. The s o l ying that w ho reme m e te bliye, r o ne negle c e d this ad a c y. He use a ditional s o s ed to su g n the mer s upport P ” song is t r u lar King D e stors, the k ongo lan g Zila Moy o s ider the l a l angay or l o rd for p a a lled Gran a ning the c a cred gran r itual dom roots to Haiti, ref e ng earth o cks or th r v es also e x a nd not c o h eritage i s is lost on hy the so n h e Haitian H owever, f e three lea v o ng expr e those wh m ber and r anmase s o c ts but oth a ge in his e d “Twa F o ng to co u g gest that its of the P reval v a r aditionall y on Petwo non Creo l g uage of t h o In Haiti, a nguages s l anga j a th, and m Chemen i c onstant b i d road of ains. The refer to e rence to rather t r ee island s x ploits th e o mmonly v s made an a n those w h n g says “ je Kongoles e f or those w v es are pr e e sses this o reclaim value thei o nje” can b ers value. e ffective r y” as his u rt Aristid e those wh o Lavalas m a lue that y played o IV of the K l e terms u h e Kongo. T as part o f s poken by m oyo, the n Haiti an i rth and d e life, is con song use s the thre e the thre e t han tre e s (twa fy, e fact tha t v iewed a s a logous t o h o discard e te, bliye” e tradition w ho valu e e cious and by saying, the thre e r heritage. b e used t o un for th e campaign e ’s popula r o rejected m ovement, political o n a Petw o K ongo. T o sed in th e T hese tw o f honorin g them as a word fo r d it refer s e ath cycle. sidered t o r r

PAGE 3

be Bo u at t visi t wo u ab o se b In s uni v bei n so n wo r no t the path u mba is a c t he top of s t the su m u ld have t o ut in Hait b wa m ap k s hort, thi s v erse can n g treasu r n g is abo u r ds are us e t been for g that ine v c lass of An s teep mo u m mit of t h t o build a i as “ klou w k louwe .” s song sh o be trivia r ed and u p u t valuing e d to em p g otten. v itably ta k cestral spi u ntaintops h ese stee p staircase. w e m ape k o ws how lized and p held by o t and hon o p hasize th a k es us to rits that a r in the Ko n p Kongol e This Ko n k louwe b w precious c abandon thers. Th i o ring one’ a t our Ko n join the A r e believe d n go. It is s a e se moun t n golese id e w a, eskaly e c oncepts a ed by so m i s Haitian t s heritag e n golese h e A ncestors. d to resid e a id that t o t ains, on e e a is sun g e Boumba, a bout th e m e, whil e t raditional e Kikong o e ritage ha s