<%BANNER%>

DLOC




PAGE 1

1 Ceremonial Lullaby ? A Proposed Explanation Athna C. PattersonOrazem, University of Florida 26. Sleep, sleep, sleep, my little child, her mama went to the river, her papa went to look for crabs. Sleep, sleep, little child, her mama, her mama went to the river. Her papa went to look for wood for her, to cook food for his child. Her mama went to the river, her papa went to town to look for a little cake for the little one to eat. Sleep, sleep, little child, her mama (says). Sleep, sleep little child, sleep, sleep, little child, sleep, sleep, my child; the wild cats going to eat you. Sleep, sleep my child, sleep, sleep my child. Sleep, sleep my child; the sleeps in your eyes. Sleep, sleep my child; in a moment I will give you food; sleep, sleep, sleep my child. Sleep, sleep, little child, sleep, sleep, my child; the wild cats going to eat you, sleep, sleep my child.1 1 5 9 13 17 21 This excerpt from Laura Boultons collection is unique : a lullaby a midst brief ceremonial songs I n fact, it is the only such song in this book. Why would a lullaby be part of the ceremonial repertory? As with most V odou songs, the lullabys structure is cyclic heavily dependent upon repetition and successively elaborat es upon an introduced theme. In this manner the fathers role is elaborated so as to form a story: the father is looking for materials to cook food for his child. Oddly, the mothers role is neve r clarified begging questions: why did her mama go to the river? Did she also leave to complete ordinary tasks such as fetching water and washing clothes, or was there something unusual in her departure? Did she ever return ? Many ceremonial songs featur e a shifting focus between singer chorus and the lwa being addressed. H ere the focus shifts from the parents activities in the beginning to the childs state in the end ; the narrator appears briefly in line 18. L ine 14, repeated in line 21, forms a stark contrast from the loving, nurturing theme of the rest of the song. Perhaps it is a traditional threat, something like, I f you dont fall asleep, 1 Hebblethwaite, Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English, Chapter 5: Laura Boultons Songs, p.133

PAGE 2

2 Santa wont bring you Christmas presents . L ine 18 is also striking : I n a moment I will give you food. This line underlines the theme of food and hunger running through the song. But w hy send a child to sleep without food unless there was no food to be had? I propose that this lullaby, like many Vodou songs, is a histor ical song reflecting the deprivations faced by the poor, by the enslaved, and by Haitians struggling to create their country.


PRIVATE ITEM
Digitization of this item is currently in progress.
Ceremonial Lullaby? – A Proposed Explanation, Athéna C. Patterson-Orazem
ALL VOLUMES CITATION THUMBNAILS PDF VIEWER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00001362/00023
 Material Information
Title: Ceremonial Lullaby? – A Proposed Explanation, Athéna C. Patterson-Orazem
Series Title: HAI3930, ANT3930, LAS3930, REL3938
Physical Description: Course Material
Creator: Raitano, Megan
Publisher: Hebblethwaite, Benjamin
Raitano, Megan
Felima, Crystal
Place of Publication: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
 Notes
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Megan Raitano.
Publication Status: Unpublished
General Note: This is a collection of student essays from the Haitian Vodou class offered at the Universtiy of Florida. These essays are the results of a combination of in class material and independent research on individually chosen topics. The writing styles, citation styles, and views expressed in the essays are established by the students and do not necessarily reflect those of the professor or the Archive.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00001362:00023

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

( PDF )


Full Text





Ceremonial Lullaby? -A Proposed Explanation
Athena C. Patterson-Orazem, University of Florida


26.

Sleep, sleep, sleep, my little child, 1
her mama went to the river,
her papa went to look for crabs.
Sleep, sleep, little child, her mama,
her mama went to the river. 5
Her papa went to look for wood for her,
to cook food for his child.
Her mama went to the river,
her papa went to town to look for 9
a little cake for the little one to eat.
Sleep, sleep, little child, her mama (says).
Sleep, sleep, little child, sleep, sleep,
little child, sleep, sleep, my child; 13
the wild cat's going to eat you.
Sleep, sleep my child, sleep, sleep my child.
Sleep, sleep my child; the sleep's in your eyes.
Sleep, sleep my child; 17
in a moment I will give you food;
sleep, sleep, sleep my child.
Sleep, sleep, little child, sleep, sleep, my child;
the wild cat's going to eat you, 21
sleep, sleep my child.


This excerpt from Laura Boulton's collection is unique: a lullaby amidst brief ceremonial
songs. In fact, it is the only such song in this book. Why would a lullaby be part of the
ceremonial repertory?
As with most Vodou songs, the lullaby's structure is cyclic, heavily dependent upon
repetition, and successively elaborates upon an introduced theme. In this manner the father's role
is elaborated so as to form a story: the father is looking for materials to cook food for his child.
Oddly, the mother's role is never clarified, begging questions: why did "her mama" go to the
river? Did she also leave to complete ordinary tasks such as fetching water and washing clothes,
or was there something unusual in her departure? Did she ever return? Many ceremonial songs
feature a shifting focus between singer, chorus and the Iwa being addressed. Here the focus shifts
from the parents' activities in the beginning to the child's state in the end; the narrator appears
briefly in line 18.
Line 14, repeated in line 21, forms a stark contrast from the loving, nurturing theme of
the rest of the song. Perhaps it is a traditional threat, something like, 'If you don't fall asleep,

1 Hebblethwaite, Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English, Chapter 5: Laura Boulton's Songs, p. 133









Santa won't bring you Christmas presents.' Line 18 is also striking: "In a moment I will give you
food." This line underlines the theme of food and hunger running through the song. But why
send a child to sleep without food unless there was no food to be had? I propose that this lullaby,
like many Vodou songs, is a historical song reflecting the deprivations faced by the poor, by the
enslaved, and by Haitians struggling to create their country.