Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents

Title: Folk song and folk life in Charlotteville
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00001309/00001
 Material Information
Title: Folk song and folk life in Charlotteville aspects of village life as dynamics of acculturation in a Tobago folk song tradition
Physical Description: 62 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Elder, J. D ( Jacob D. ), 1913-
Conference: International Folk Music Council, 1971
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: S.l
Manufacturer: Universal Print. Products
Publication Date: foreword 1972]
Copyright Date: 1972
Subject: Folk music -- History and criticism -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Folk songs -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Social life and customs -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: J. D. Elder ; paper prepared for twenty-first conference of the International Folk Music Council, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, Aug. 27 to Sept. 3, 1971.
General Note: Includes unacc. melodies.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00001309
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA0394
notis - ALT1062
alephbibnum - 002327446
oclc - 02347660
lccn - 76358205
lccn - 76358205 /MN/r912

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
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    Title Page
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Full Text



' '^

..L4 Y.

(Aspects of Village Life as Dynamics of Acculturation
in a Tobago Folk Song Trad tion,

J. D. ELDER, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. in Anthro. & Soc.,
Temple Unlversity, Phila., Pa.

Paper prepared for Twenty-First Conference of the International
Folk Mubla Council. Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies
August 27 to September 8, 1971.

I, | i /' I

To my Father Mother



Charlottervlle, Charlaoteviile
If you want to have a fill
Of kingfish or of mackerel
Just take a bus come down the kill
To Charlotteville
Lio Mitchell (1940)

.*.. .,





S The call of duty took me to Tobago in January 1931. When I left in July 1941 I
had been privileged to have spent 10' profitable years in the service of education in,
Sand more especially outside, several Tobago schools. My extra Curricula activities
including Scouting, Literary Club Work, Choir Master in the Church, and organiser of
many functions centred around solo and choral singing, provided me ample opportunity
to meet the people and exposed me to the richness and virility ol their folk ways. The
dynamics of music in the acculturation process always enthused me and so, involvement
as a participant observer was inevitable. It is quite probable that the author's awareness
of this involvement of mine played a prominent part in persuading him to invite me to
append this Foreword to what .1 consider a most interesting and useful work on the
Folk song and Folk life in Charlotteville, Tobago.

I welcome the opportunity to be associated with this publication because, like
the author, I am of the view that "a book dealing with the folk music of Tobago is long
overdue." It is my belief, too, that this book will fill the breach and perhaps provide
the stimulus for further attempts in this direction.

The distinguished Anthropologist, Franz Boas, has observed that "The occupation
with living cultures has created a stronger interest in the totality of each culture. More
and more it is felt that hardly any trait olfculture could be understood when taken out
of its general setting." Thus, in bringing the folk song and folk life of Charlotteville
into clear focus and subjecting them to the careful scrutiny of a trained eye, the
author contributes to a clearer understanding and proper appreciation of village folk-
ways and the role they play not only in the community life'of the Charlotteville village
but in the social and economic life of Tobago as a whole. The fact too that the study,
while sound, is not burdened by too much technical and anthropological jargon,
facilitates reading and comprehension by the ordinary laymen. It is to be hoped that
through popular reading of this work many people will realize, as did the author in
writing it, "the extent to which music and music making are central in the life of the
Charlotteville folk, and how in the day-to-day pursuit of work, leisure and worship,
singing, whether sacred or secular play a major role in defining status and social position
in the community "

Attention is drawn to the author's statement regarding the central theme Music,
in the acculturation process of the Charlotteville community. "The process of social
and cultural adjustment", this paper proposes to show, "was under-pinned by music
and music making, and the inter-group co-operation which this demanded provided
the-dynamics for acculturation of the music now extant in the community." The
study has been at pains to demonstrate in no uncertain terms that "music for
Charlottevillians is not just entertainment, it implies prestige and is a status symbol."



S.-.. '- .


In days like these when the status symbols are what you have (home and car) and not
what you can do, the significance of function to the life of the community should
become more meaningful for us in human terms.

It is rather timely, that in this work the author underscores the value of cross..
fertilization in the acculturation process and indicates the extent to which a culture
is enhanced by infusion from outside. For, as the author stresses "Once the people, .
home born and strangers, had begun to sing together, whether at work or worship or
play, the process of cultural and social integration began to replace the mutual hostile ::
segregation attitudes."

A reality that all island peoples must face is migration, and Tobago is no exception. .
Movement of people and ideas, if not goods, is a continuing process, the waves of
movement being stronger at some times than at others. But migration from the island
to other places and from other places to the island goes on relentlessly. Field data and
empiric observation in many of these situations have shown that despite the cultural
differences and the conflicts inherent in culture contact "the social process by which
the folk culture grows and changes is shot through with the dynamics of human beings
relating to each other, competing and/or cooperating with each other and seeking
meaning to life under conditions of social stress."

The smaller and probably less sophisticated communities,'underistandably, fear
and do not welcome migrants from without. However, the more they reject outsiders
the greater the chances of the community becoming isolated and decadent. The
dynamics of acculturation provide the best guarantees of social and economic develop-
ment. To find suitable means of accommodation whether through music, forms of
worship, work or play is the essence of social dynamics. The Tobago practice of
Plymouth men travelling to Castara in search of women to marry is a case-study in
point which should open our eyes to the meaningfulness to a community of infusion
from outside.

George T. Daniel, B.A., M.Sc.
2nd August, 1972.


1 The Beginnings _ 12
11 Migrant Musicians _ _ _ _ 12
111 Culture Clash - - - - - 14
IV Singers from the Grenadines - - - 14
V Demographic Mix-up _ _ - 15
VI Acculturation - - - -- - - - 15
VII Song Categories and Local Spirituals _ 16
VIII Drum Dance Music _ _ _ _ 17
IX Work Songs - - - - - - 17
X Stylistic Mixture 19
XI Rites of Passage Music - -- _ 20
XII Congo Music - ---- - - 21
XIII Types of Music Makers _ _ _ _ _ _ 22
XIV Conflict over Church Music _ _ _ _ _ 24
XV Children's Music - - - - 25
XVI Women's Banter Songs - _ _ _ _ 28
XVII Music for Magic -- --_ - - - 31
XVIII Music in Life and Death _ _ 32
XIX Music and Social Conflicts - - - -- 33
XX Cultural Continuities and Cultural Changes - - - 35
XXI Major Genres of Charlotteville Traditional Music - 37
Conclusion --- _____ _-_- 43



This introductory work on traditional
music of Charlotteville in Tobago was
suggested to me by a request by Prof.
Willard Rhodes of Columbia University
that I submit a paper dealing with
acculturation in folk music for the
Twenty-First Conference of the Interna-
tional Folk Music Council to be held at
Mona, Jamaica from August 27 to
September 3. 1972. After the Paper was
written it was realized that there would
not be any chance of it being read at the
Conference and I decided to expand it
into a larger study suggested by Prof.
Alan Lomax, who had been insisting for
some time that a work dealing with
Tobago culture was long over-due
from me. It is with a feeling of great
pleasure that I write about village life in
Charlotteville since I can now look back
upon this my native community with
some detachment and objectivity and
examine, in scientific perspective, some
of the events of village life from which
were I not removed spatially and in time,
would have been meaningless to me as a
student of the culture change now occur-
ring among black people in the Caribbean.
From my infancy I was surrounded
by the traditional music of my country.
Both my parents were musicians in their
own right Up to age 75 my mother Eva
Maria sang in the Methodist Church at
Charlotteville and my father beside being
a flutist in the village orchestra sang
both in the church-choir and in the
village choir under old "Sunday Dillion"
a veteran choir master. As soon as my
twin brother and I could manage the
flute we were playing tunes on our
father's instrument, as well as those
which other members of the orchestra
left in our house after a village dance -

clarinet, bass-fiddle, etc. My brother at
age 12 built his own violin and harpsi-
chord and at fifteen he was playing the
valve trombone. We played the piano
which our parents gave us when we were
around 18 years old without any outside
tuition whatever. Singing at sight was
taught us around age 10 by our sister.
We soon realized that there was no one
in the family that did not sing the
three males and the three female children
in the family sang in the village and
church choirs or played some musical
instrument or the other while quite
young. Very early in our youth, the
Stimpson's Singing Class Book and Hemy's
Catechism of Music fell into our hands
and we were either composing music or
writing the music of the tunes our parents
sang from the folk tradition. On harvest
festival Sundays the whole family would
be in the choir at Bethel Church
(Methodist) singing the anthems and
sacred solos. In the light of this, our
interest in the folk songs which our
parents sang developed very early. By
the time my brother and I began to
teach in the local day schools, we were
in a position to introduce native tunes
into the music curriculum we were
supposed to follow. The folk songs sung
by our parents were exciting and fresh
and homey and we lost no time in using
the melodies as the basis for musical
"exercise" in the music class in the
school. It was many years, however, be-
fore this kind of music gained official
acceptance in the educational system of
Trinidad and Tobago. In 1951 Andrew
Pearse the Professor for University extra-
mural studies started research in
Caribbean folk music. Twenty years
before that the children in the Charlotte-

ville Methodist school had been singing
the local game songs in their music
To write all this now several years
after is very exciting; the village "bongo
kings" had laughed at us when my
brother and I had asked them to sing the
wake house songs for us to teach in the
They were aware of the erotic nature
of the songs and they felt that this music
was not for children. Today, in Trinidad
and Tobago when the government has
organized a Folk Music Festival, I can
recall those times with pleasure and
recount the peasant tunes which, in my
childhood, I heard from the older village
folk as well as from children in my own
school yard many of which I dared
not sing in the hearing of my parents
(so erotic were these songs).
In 1956 I returned to Charlotteville
on one of my private folk music collec-
tion trips. I was able to meet several of
my former school mates and get from
them the songs which as a child I could
hear them singing in the moonlight but
dare not join them since my own parents
-Orthodox Methodists would not allow
us to mix in those singing game groups
at night. To these playmates Anowin
Martin, Totsie Hackette, Basil Walters,
Punk Benjamin and "bongo kings" like
Sonnie Melville and Myworth Chance -
I express sincere gratitude for the co-
operatidn they gave me in accumulating
the music for this book.
Until I began to write this Paper I did
not realize the extent to which music and
music-making are central in the life of
the villagers of the Charlotteville folk
and how, in the day-to-day pursuit of
work, leisure and worship, singing,
whether sacred or secular, plays a major
role in defining status and social position
in the community. The small community

whether rural or urban, can provide the
social scientist with a body of ethno-
graphic material for analysis and inference
about social behaviour as much as any
other type of human collectivity. I have
been able in this work to relate music
making to family socialization techniques,
subsistence, pattern and economy, mora-
lity codes and religion, social structure
and social power, art, music and dance
and the organization of production in
the village of Charlotteville. This Study
has demonstrated to me that the study
of culture need not be taken to foreign
lands rural villages like those of the
Caribbean can provide the social scientist
with as varied a culture pattern as he
desiresto study. Maybe it is upon the
work of the native researcher that the
social sciences must rely for "realistic"
descriptions of many non-European cul-
tural orders: there has been so much bias
in the studies of native peoples when
made by foreign workers. The ghost of
the ethnocentric anthropologist of the
early nineteenth century is not laid. This
fact is by no means new; it was Margaret
Mead who first pointed out the value in
making use of the native in researching for
the conclusions the workers were making
about those cultures. A book dealing
with the folk music of Tobago is long
over due. Andrew Pearse in 1951 52
and Alan Lomax in 1962 collected the
folk music of this island. It is time the
Tobago folk singers see the fruits of
their labour. King Cape from Pembroke
and Charmer Jones from the Whim;
Aurelia Moore and Quintan Hacket from
Charlotteville; Dallas Cooper from Ply-
mouth; Fisherman Brush from Courland
Bay; Gibbs Alleyne from Castara; old
blind Taylor and Noray from des Vignes
Road; and sundry other singers of Tobago
folk music now long deadare remembered
in this book as having yielded up freely

the music which they had learned from
"the old parents". This anthology of
folk songs will enshrine their names so
that for succeeding generations of To-
bagonians these music-makers will not
have really died, because their songs will
survive. In the post-colonial countries
of the Caribbean the oral tradition of
Black people is really all that is available
by which the individual may construct
some self-image, some cultural identity.
It is a pity that it has taken so long for
the government of Trinidad and Tobago
to arrive at a decision to finance a folk-
lore archive, so that the rich bank of
traditional culture could be built up
before the old folk die and the songs in
their throats disappear. This book of
Charlotteville folk songs is a small
collection that is written with the purpose
of emphasizing the importance of the
traditional music as a cultural ground
base for a Black people evolving a
national ethos and a national self-image

after the trauma of plantation slavery
and the colonial experience. Tobagonians
believe that the "dead in dutty bottom"
(in the earth) are aware of what takes
place among the living. As a "born
Tobagonian" I write these songs and
mention the names of the singers, many
of them now dead, confident that as I
"call their names" and give them credit
for their co-operation in this project,
they will be satisfied.
To Pat Fullmer and Susan Powers -
two of my students in Anthropology
230 (Evolution of Black Music), to
Marianne Bonacquisti, and to the De-
partment of Anthropology at Temple
University that made their services for
typing the manuscript available I am
very grateful. Without their patience and
interest, this work would have been

J.D. Elder
May 10, 1971.

"Oh Parladesh, of Parladesh
Klesh no get no plesh fo' lesh"

This stanza is quoted from one of the
many songs in accounts about the Congo-
men of Charlotteville that were told by
my maternal grandmother, herself a
second generation descendant of African
slaves in Tobago. Her father, Richard
Moore ("Rechess" to the other Africans)
was born on the same date as Queen
Victoria who, as the famous slavery song
of Tobago says, "gi'e a'we free". The
tales he told his children about slavery
and the post-slavery life in Tobago deal
mostly with the trials and tribulations
the ex-slaves experienced in building up
the communities of freed men people
drawn from various villages in Tobago
with their dissimilarities in tribal origin,
level of education and culture and out-
look on life. In this study it is intended
to show how music and music-making at
work, at worship and during leisure-time
brought together and integrated the
peoples who swarmed into this remote
Tobago village and produced a folk music
and folk dance complex that is rich and
varied. The stanza quoted above, as far
as the informant was concerned, illus-
trates the speech contrast between the
native Congomen and, the "educated"
settlers who had come into the village
from "Low Side" having travelled along
the North Coast by land and by sea,
seeking the fresh fertile and well-watered
agricultural lands in the deep river valleys
of the Northern Range. Speech contrast
was only one of the cultural differences
the groups of people who met at
Charlotteville had to face in order to
adjust to one another. The process of
social and cultural adjustment, this paper
proposes to show, was under-pinned by

music and music-making and the inter-
group co-operation which this demanded
provided the dynamics for acculturation
of the folk music now extant in the
The North Side Road has historically
been the great highway between the
"Top Side" and "Low Side" (Windward
and Leeward) in Tobago. Over it passed
many families of migrants either seeking
virgin land for agriculture or fleeing
before the ravages of storms and droughts
which tortured the great "Low Side"
estates in plantation times and decimated
the populations with epidemics of disea-
seslike cholera and the resulting poverty.
Over this "trunk road" by land, as well
as by the sea, came hundreds of settlers
whose descendants can still be -found
today strung out along the sea coast
villages I'Anse Fourmi, Castara, Hermi-
tage, Parlatuvier.
Charlotteville on the headland over-
looking Man-o-War Bay was at the
receiving end of the North Coast Road.
Beyond it there was nowhere further to
go. And who wanted to go? A good
harbour (best in the Eastern Caribbean),
lots of well watered land to grow crops,
the famous "banks" of Red fish, Barba-
dos snapper and abundant shoals of
"jacks" swarming annually each February
attracted migrants. Into this haven came
the early refugee folk educated (as
compared with the "Congoes" who
comprised the majority of the early
Charlotteville population); bringing their
skills as tradesmen and craftmen; their
knowledge of music; their religious atti-
tudes; their love of organized labour on
the land and their thrift and
acquisitiveness -for property virtues
necessary in a pioneering people facing
a virtual backwoods frontier.

60~r MWt, & IAZ


The problems of accommodation and
integration between the newcomers, the
"tranger Nagers" as they came to be
called by the natives and the Congoes -
the "home born" as their descendants
still style themselves today, are still
legion. After nearly 100 years of contact,
the deep lines of demarcation projected
by tensions and conflict, some economic,
some cultural, are still evident to the
"insider" after all this passage of time.
Nonetheless in Charlotteville has emerged
a unique village community not only
superior in size, economy, and educa-
tional achievement of its people, but also
in progressive outlook with respect to
village life and welfare found in Tobago.
Despite the difficulty the newcomers
experienced in tolerating the backward-
ness of the Congoes and despite the
hostile reaction of the natives to the
vanity and aggressiveness of the immi-
grants, integration occurred as working
on the land and the sea, seeking education
in the schools, and (more than anything
else) worshipping together, brought
"tranger Nager" and "home born" face
to face. The old Congo man's attempt to
sing that great Methodist hymn, "O
Paradise, O Paradise" on Mt. Stewart
Hill where the early migrants built their
first church, emphasizes this integrative
process as it worked in the area of
language, culture, and art. It underscores
the major factors involved those of
language and music through which
integration was to take place in Charlotte-
ville between the newcomers and the
Congo people. Once the people, home
born and strangers, had begun to sing
together, whether, at work or worship
or play, the process of cultural and social
integration began to replace the mutual
hostile segregationist attitudes.

But Charlotteville's attraction for mi-
grants and refugees did not cease with the
incoming of the northern sea coast
Tobago people. Later on, this village was
to become a haven for several incoming
waves of outer-island people refugees
from the Grenadines and Martinique.
Fleeing hurricane and volcano, these
people came and settled on the mountains
and hilly lands on the periphery of the
village down in the valley. In time
these people too began to integrate with
the villagers but this was a far more
traumatic and gradual process than that
of the early migrations. Charlottevillians
were to a man English speaking (creolized
form) while the "out-Bocas" (they had
crossed the bocas or small channels on
the coast of Trinidad) spoke French
(creolized); all Grenadians and Martini-
quians belonged to the "French Church"
(Roman Catholic) while the people of
Charlotteville were Protestants (a few
Episcopalians and most Wesleyan
Methodists). The newcomers were avid,
landless agricultural workers, labouring
six days a week without a break while
the Charlottevillians were mainly inde-
pendant land-owning peasants whocaught
fish for food from their home-made
boats on Saturdays and occasionally
Friday. There has understandably been
very little integration between these two
groups to this day. Intermarriage between
them has been very slow. Inclusion of
Grenadians on local work teams came
earliest because of the expertness these
people showed in agricultural work. But
Grenadians never took to rowboat fishing
(banking) and so they lost a great oppor-
tunity of being exposed to the Char-
lotteville peasant under conditions of
work on sea which, more than most other
occupations, offered the best opportuni-

ties for the development of mutual
admiration of personal prowess and
achievement,as men engage in this very
exacting enterprise of fishing in the
"banks". To the present day, Roman
Catholicism remains "suspect" in the
Charlottevillians's Protestant mind. After
three generations, the R.C.'s have no
church building in the village and this is
in contrast with the Seventh-Day Ad-
ventists who came in 1928 and today
have a large following, an imposing
church building and are fully integrated,
despite an initial period of religious
discrimination. Seventh-Day Adventists
were Protestants too and they came in
from Moriah where Charlottevillains
could claim they had blood relations -
they spoke English!

The people of Charlotteville thus fall
into three distinct groups characterized
in terms of the period of their residence
in the village.
(a) the original Congo folk and their
(b) migrants from the "Low Side"
villages of Tobago
(c) outer-island immigrants Grena-
dians, Vincentians, Martiniquians,
It would seem that the majority of the
slaves on the Charlotteville plantations
were from Congo stock. Several sites on
the Level Ground are marked out as
"Congo Town", "Congo Hill" or other
names pointing to this fact. After slavery
was abolished the Congomen and the
Browns descended from the famous
Kanga Congoo?) Brown of the slave
legends, left the village habitations and
took up residence in the deep forests of
the high valleys. Here they lived their

rugged life, hardly coming down to the
village or doing so only on Sundays or
on occasions when they couldn't help it.
Formal education and refined culture
they never acquired from the new mi-
grants or from the Mission which the
Methodists set up very early at Mt.
Stewart. To the last these Congo men
retained their African culture and life
style in music and dance, folk-ways and

This brief description of the social
processes by which the structure of the
population of contemporary Charlotte-
ville can be accounted for, serves to lay
down the major movements of groups
by whom the rich folk music heritage of
Charlotteville was built up. It is already
o10 be expected, from the migration
movements that occurred between the
villages and inter-islands, that the popular
music which Andrew Pearse and I began
to collect systematically in 1951 in
Charlotteville. should show an interesting
variety of genres and provenance within
the Black musical complex. It is proposed
to describe this repertory by casting a
sample of the music into its major
categories and to show how the social
and cultural life of the villagers relate to
its content and that migration into
Charlotteville of "strangers" accounts
for the wealth, variety and cultural
richness of the song repertory.
While it is migration which holds for
Charlotteville (as it does for most Carib-
bean communities) the key to any under-
standing of the complexity of its music
culture, it is the social life of interacting
population enclaves in the village that
give the cultural forms their life and
meaning. The social process by which a
folk culture grows and changes is shot

through with the dynamics of human
beings relating to each other, competing
and co-operating and seeking meaning to
life under conditions of social stress.
These dynamics, working within situa-
tions of work and worship and pleasure,
have been observed by me for nearly
forty years in this little village
community. The information gathered
thereby has been augmented by field
data collected from the age-group
containing some of the oldest people in
the island of Tobago. This study links
the social economic, and cultural activi-
ties within .this village, community of
some 5,000 souls with the evolution of
one of the most exciting and
cosmopolitan folk song cultures in the
Caribbean. Ancient African song-style
and ritual music, Scotch-Irish fiddle-and-
drum tunes, French Caribbean cheer-up
songs and British sacred songs, ballads
and sailor songs, comprise the major
categories of this repertory. Co-operative
work groups on land (len 'han); wake
house "sings" and bongo sessions; holi-
day "pleasures", and Sunday worship
and day-school education choirs have
combined to bring the people together,
integrating them into one community
of singers. Their music, though deriving
from many cultural origins, has become
one admixture of forms and types in
contemporary Charlotteville.

The folk music of Charlotteville falls
into the following categories :
(a) Ritual music, mostly African
(b) Church derived songs and hymns
(tea meetings, harvest festivals,

(c) Shanties and sea songs
(d) Work songs (wood hauling and
cutlass tunes)
(el Drum dance music
(f) Songs for magical practices
(g) Banter songs and women's ribbing
(h) Children game songs.
Church derived music includes a wide
variety of hymns and sacred songs which
the folk have learned from official hymn
books and hymnals used in the Methodist
and Episcopal (English) religious services
and Sd Sunday Schools. This music is aug-
mented by the evangelical songs of
Sankey and Moody which are sung during
the final part of wake-night "sings"
usually held on Sunday evenings. Among
the most popular of these sacred songs
so far collected are :
(a) "Wrestling Jacob"
(bl "I'm a Soldier Forward Go"
(c) "I love Him Better Every Day"
(d) "The Sinner Man He Stumble
and He Fell"
(el "I am a Warrior"
If) "Saved in the Promised Land'
The dead wake "singing" brings to-
gether people from all over the village
despite their origin. Experts in Tonic Sol
Fa and sight-singing attend with music
books and really sing the tunes "by note"
thus throwing new items into the
repertory. Distant relatives from other
villages attend these wake-nights bringing
with them their friends. Such visitors
usually are allowed to "introduce"
favourite pieces. In this way new music
is systematically incorporated into the
body of tunes in the village. There have
always existed in Charlotteville at least

two choirs comprised of good singers
who, for one reason or another, were
excluded from membership in the church
choirs. These persons are usually among
the best village singers and so a kind of
sacred/secular competition exists and
keeps this institution alive. Annual
(inter village) choir competitions of con-
certs involve these groups in excursions
and travelling cantatas. New choir-masters
arise as the older ones retire.
The early migrants from Moriah,
Castara, and Les Coteaux came from
districts in which village choirs and
singing classes were common features of
village life. German (Moravian) derived
missionaries introduced the pipe-organ
and church orchestras wherever they
went and taught the black people to
sing from musical notation. In migrating
into Charlotteville the North Side Road
people brought this musical tradition
with them. They introduced the "singing
class"; Stimpson's Singing Class Book,
Sankey's Sacred Songs and Solos and
Silver Bells can be found commonly in
peasants' homes. Thus inside and outside
the church, sacred music -making
became a constant feature of village life.
At annual Church sponsored religious
plays ("David and Goliath" and
"Christian and Giant Despair"), at village
choir competitions and at wake-house
singing, the popular music-making tradi-
tions evolved from generation to
generation of village singers.

Drum dance music, though not as
developed in Tobago on the whole as in
Grenada, is well represented in Charlotte
ville. Socially isolated from the natives
and virtually physically separated ("living
in the woods") the Grenadians.
Vincentians, and Martiniquians would

get together on holidays and organize
"pleasures" on the lines of their tradition-
al drum dance flirtation institutions.
Only the Grenada "cheer up" has found
any footing, however, in Charlotteville
soil. Nonetheless, the Tobago Reel Dance,
being a drum dance also, has shown
some tendency to incorporate features
of the cheer-up, i.e., communal village-
wide involvement, elaborate feasting,
crowning of a queen. "Tobago Reel"
drum dance music collected in 1950
by Pearse at Charlotteville from Priscilla
Taylor, a Mason Hall woman, included
items that were definitely cheer-up songs
sung in French Creole. Tobago folks do
not speak this dialect Among the malor
tunes in this category are :
(a) "La Rois Victor Way-ha"
(b) "Roll Bele fo' Jen Jen O"
(c) "No you one are man"
(d) "Corntime Payne are bwa bwa"
(e) "Hilding Building"


Charlortevillians, unlike people from
the smaller islands, are not sailors or
fishermen in the sense in which this term
applies to most of the peoples of the
Grenadines. The contact with the sea is
mainly comprised of domestic fishing
in the great snapper and grouper banks
("Guinea Bank", "London Bridge",
"Beasle"), all of these lying near to the
north-east coast of the Ma Rose Point
headland. Because of this the sea song
category in Charlotteville is fairly meagre
and the songs of the sea we collected
have come mostly from a few men,
chiefly Quintan Hacket and Mannish
Brown. They must have picked up the
songs from oil-field workers at La Brea
since a few Charlotteville men had mi


if i


~rc~-\zc~L L~VcB.

grated in the early 1900's, returning
home with their savings to buy land,
marry, and settle down to grow small
cocoa estates. From these men came
also many of the work songs, mostly
forest-songs and axemen's "hollers",
which we collected. Charlotteville thus
has no great tradition of men working
on sloops and going to the big ports of
the world as the Grenadians and Vin-
centians do. A few of them migrated to
work on the railway diggings in Tunapuna
and Sangre Grande in Trinidad. Their
influence on the folk song repertory is
of a unique type. The most common sea
shanties we collected came strangely
enough from Aurelia Moore. a great
singer of ancient songs learned from her
father. "Doctor" James Moore. Uncle
"Doctor" had worked for some time at
La Brea on the Pitch Lake, returning
alive a great feat considering the
dangers of a life lived among the "baddest
of men" gathered from all over the
Caribbean to extract pitch in that mining
town of southern Trinidad. "Doctor"
Moore, a fanatically religious person,
never returned to Trinidad to live -
experiences "on the oilfields" however
were spun out in legendary lore about
bad men and lamette idiamnetrel women
and the body of songs with which he
spiced his adventure stories has come
down the years to us. Sung at village
concerts to the accompaniment of his
concertina, these songs lived on long
after th;s great singer passed away quietly
at Savannah Land, the ancestral land
which his father, Richard Moore
("Rechess"), one of the North Road
migrants, had bought for his several sons
and his wife, Mattie Moore. Among the
shanties and work songs Pearse and I
collected at Charlotteville in 1950 are :
1. "I Went On board the Ida"
2. "Yankee Backra Bring Nigger Ya"

3. "Dollar A Day is a Fisherman Pay"
4. "Blow for Ma Dogoma"
5. "Ring Dung Below"
6. "Captin Captin What Fo' Dinner"
7. "Antie Banana Kin Am Gie Me".
Here we see a process in which mi-
gratory workers, exposed to singers in a
host country, return to their own native
community spreading the music which
they had learned in foreign parts. The
basic factor in the process is still
migration and immigration of the labour-
ing class and movements which
accompany the opening up of mining
towns like La Brea or the putting down
of a railway.

A subsidiary result of the migration
of Charlotteville young males, this time
to Venezuela (Down the Main), was the
introduction into Charlotteville not only
of songs but also Spanish "borrowed
words" which functioned as nicknames
and "lexical sweetners": (what Geetz
would term honorifics ). These terms
were used by a speaker to indicate that
he was a man who "had travelled", who
had lived in strange and dangerous lands.
Thus we find "Hombre" Lewis and
"Chico" Benjamin as names in Charlotte
ville and Bob Mintie's two grandsons
were"Popo" and "Papalto". Bob Mintie's
life in Panama was never forgotten; to
his dying day he breathed the air of the
Spanish but his influence remains in the
folk tales about great stick-fight men
(Kalinda Men) whom he encountered
and defeated.
We have seen how the Tobago Reel
Dance songs incorporated the cheer-up
songs of the Grenada peasants under
conditions in which social relationships

between Charlottevillians and the Grena-
dians were in a state of uncertainty.
Cheer-up 'and Tobago Reel are both
"drum dances" (according to Andrew
Pearse's classification) and it was very
easy for the native villagers to adopt
cheer up songs to their own purposes
without overtly admitting the Grenadians
intothecircleof their annual "Pleasures"
On the other hand, through intermarriage
and other forms of conjugal associations
which were slowly taking place between
the two groups, drum dance music from
Grenada increasingly entered the Tobago
Reel tradition not directly, but through
women, distant relatives of Charlotteville
folk. who had begun to migrate into
Charlotteville. Again moving from village
to village and setting up mating alliances
between individuals from different locally
ties played an important role in
determining the content of the folk song
tradition in this Tobago village.

The two rites of passage marked with
music and dancing in Charlotteville are
marriage and death. The wedding dance
songs fall into two types: (a) those
played on the pre-wedding night at the
two wedding houses (bride and bride-
groom respectively) and (b) those played
to "march" home the bride. The majority
of "wedding-house" dance songs are
joking songs which poke spontaneous
ridicule at the "intending" bride and
bridegroom. These songs are sung ex-
clusively by near relatives or very close
friends. The "wedding march" music is
mainly instrumental. This is played by
ensembles of fiddle, goat-skin tambourine
and steel triangle. Some of the tunes
have texts commenting upon the married
state, its joys and its sorrows, its ups
and downs.

Dead wake songs are called bongo
songs. There are experts known as
"bongo kings" who travel great distances
to compete in singing and "dancing the
bongo" at dead wakes. Most bongo songs
contain British ballads and nursery
rhymes as their "hard core"; they are
openly erotic and the dances are de-
finitely mimes upon copulative acts
spontaneously choreographed by "spe-
cialists". Because of the nature of the
wedding ceremony and the death ritual,
social intercourse between villagers, no
matter what barriers ordinarily alienate
them, gets its greatest boost from these
occasions, since the people involved are
usually too emotional one way or the
other to discriminate against potential
participants. For one thing there is so
much work to be done on the premises
where the dead is to be buried or mourn
ed, or a bride is to be welcomed home.
that all one has to do to get included in
the act is to display expertness in some
skill cooking, sewing, building tables
and dressers, or even washing plates.
From the villagers in Charlorteville we
collected the wedding and wake house
(bongo) songs listed below
1. "Bongo Macedonia"
2. "Waist just-begin Angelina"
3. "Take dem one by one malingay"
4. "Man dead, man there"
5. "You say you never been there"
6. "Gables, Gables"
7. "0 Caesar Boy"
8. "0 me los' me lover"
Wedding March
1. "Wind'ad gal dem are salipainter"
2. "Married Sweet bambye you-go"
see um"

3. "Married the gal one time"
4. "Are one flannel pants you got"
5. "Fall back, you yalla belly bird"
6. "Bobo come an tell me who you
gwine to married to"
7. "June come you no married"
The great drum dance players and
musicians come from "Low Side", the
lower flat parts of Tobago. For reel
dance sessions, for weddings and some-
times for dead wakes, boat loads of these
people arrive in Charlotteville with the
precision of railway trains. They play
their music, tell tales at wakes, "March
home the bride" and take their departure
for their own home. After each excursion,
the established ground bases of inter
personal unions begin to appear;marriages
and courtships ensue and the "self
perpetuating" processor social integration
goes on. What begins as friendship and
maybe purely official associationevolves
into inter-village alliances. Music and
musicians get transferred . and, the
repertory of Charlotteville's traditional
music, which we have been examining,
gets another "shot in the arm".

By 1930 the traditional music making
in Charlotteville had developed into a
repertory with definitive class-like dimen-
sions based upon (a) the origin of the
singers and (b) the status which these
singers held in the community with
respect to church and Sunday worship,
. week-day work and (c) education in the
school. The Old Congo drum music was
looked down upon by the church mem-
bers as pagan and the dances which
accompanied them were said to be
obscene and savage. The marlidoundoun
a steel drum (olive oil container) was

the chief instrument of percussion and
was played by females like Ma Divine
Clarke mainly for private domestic family
entertainment and really never got trans-
mitted to the younger folk in the village.
The quelbe, as the accompanying dance
was known among skeptical villagers,
never spread from the Clarke family
although Gabriel their s6n would often
sing the sons and beat some of the drum
rhythms for curious age-peers. Thus the
Congomen and their music died out of
this village when the culture-bearers
passed away.
Congo music-making was superseded
in Charlotteville by other Black secular
music the music of the outer village
folk. In this group falls the bele (belle air)
brought in by people from Culloden,
Moriah and Mason Hall. It was drum
dance music and in it the goat-skin shal-
low tambourine replaced the deep skin
drum and the marlidoundoun of the old
Africans. Side by side with bela dance
music ran the music of the "Tobago
Reel" (See Andrew Pearse in Inter. F/
Mus. Jour.). Tobago reel dance songs are
all "refabs" of old Scottish fiddle tunes
that dominate the Tobago Northside
(Culloden Moor, des Vignes Road, High-
lands, Moriah) and several small villages
with Scottish names like Donvegan and
Killicrankie strung out on the North
Coast of Tobago. In less than fifty years
people from these parts had swarmed
into Charlotteville with their music and
dances, the bele and reel being the chief
ones. This music simply displaced the
African music culture of the old Congoes.
Why? The old Africans were slowly being
pushed out of the Charlotteville cultural
and social mainstream.
The bongo or dead wake songs must
not be regarded as significant for the
theory being developed in this article
since it was common to all new-comers

and natives of the village In a way these
songs for the dead ritual dances did
receive new blood with the incursion of
people from the Northern coast villages
the Mason Hall. Les Coteaux and
Castara folk are among the greatest
bongo singers and dancers in Tobago.
Their immigration simply strengthened
this bongo singing custom in Charlotte-
ville and added new items to the
repertory. It is the sacred music however
and its performance in church and at
singingg" which really distinguish Char-
lotteville people and set them aside as
being members of the "those-who
belong" class. Church going or "church
work", as it is called in the village. is a
very prestigious and powerful institution.
Through the church a villager moves
upwards through the mission school into
positions that have political and govern-
mental significance. The visiting Episcopal
priest, but even more, the resident
Methodist minister are the power bearers.
Church going and involvement in the
S work of the Church, membership in the
Church choir or office holding in the
church are prized positions to this day.
Thus the choirmaster and the choristers,
the choir practice on week-days, the
singing in the choir on Sundays all
these represent an aspect of social in-
volvement that dominates much of the
life in the village. Performance of sacred
music then gives the performers their
special importance and a prestige which
is not shared by "nowhereians" (the un-
churched). The music involved in this
"caste-like" sector of village life stands
apart from all other music. Intensified
by the study of singing-at-sight in singing
classes, vocal music las it is termed) is
regarded as an important distinction
among the villagers. Even out villagers
stranger r Nagers") find easy entry into
this important sector of village organiza-

tion; they are predominantly experts in
sight-singing and masters in the "lining-
out technique".


In the previous paragraphs I have
shown how music making, apart Irom
being crucial in the lives of these villagers,
tends to structure the residents along a
rough-and-ready scale of prominence and
importance in the community The music
makers, inside and outside the churches
then, can be classified by a kind of scale
based upon status in the music making
world of the village and social position
associated with period of residence in the
locality. The residents fall into the
following social groups
A. Church Officials and Lay Mem
bers (Protestantsi
B. Church choir (Precentors. Choris
C. Dead-Wake Singe's
(a) Sacred Song Experts
(b) Bongo dead wake singers and
D. Village Choir (Sacred song ex
perts). Choir Masters and choir
E. Village Band European type
F. Bele and Reel Dance Singers and
Dancers. Drummers and tambou-
rine players (mostly un-churched).
The above six groups represent a kind
of "space" comprised of grades over
which different music makers move as
they seek high positions recognized in
terms of prestige in the village. The
individual may begin his "journey" up-
wards as a good singer at a dead wake
bongo-session or "singing", move into a
village choir and finally get invited to be




a member of the church. eventually
becoming qualified to enter the church
choir. It is thus eas, to understand how.
sheep stealing goes on between church
choir and village choir and how choir
members migrate from one t,pe of choir
to another or splinter oft to found their
own choirs in protest against injustice in
their last group. It is also to be under
sluod lno inter choir conflict and
competition betwveenr precentors and
choir masters often end in violence and
break-up ot the groups Village choirs
because they are not very discriminating
on questions of morality, are able to
accommodate good singers whom the
church choir reflects. This means that the
church choirs usually either have to
exclude good singers or face contradic
[ion for admitting good singers living
in sin" a taboo which must be
observed. What results from all this is a
steady process in which (1 the unr
churched are steadily moving into the
church through conversion and marriage
and (21 good singers are moving out ot
the church because of condemnation for
sin committed and so out into the
village choir We have spoken aboul the
entrance into the choirs of newcomers
into the village, but a good precentor
may. in protest against the church. lea.E
the choir and found a village choir thus
refusing his services to the church


We have not examined the role played
by the minister of religion and the non
lallage mission school master as precentor
and choir master and even organist. A
list oi school masters and Methodist
ministers will demonstrate how this
arrangement has worked in Charlotteville
for nearly fifty years.

Church Mission
I Meth 11900cl
2 Meth (1914c l
3 Meth. (19401
.4 Meth. (19501
Itliii:e ter
ilon Res.
pNon Res
Res (Mus I
Res. IMus.l

School Alaster
Thibou IMus.)
Walters (Mus.)
Tull (Mus.)
Harry (Mus I

In each case where the school master
and or the resident Methodist minister
was a musician or organist these men
took charge of the church choir and
between 1900 and 1950 were actively
involved in its work Where these two
lunchionaries were not experts in this
iheld,village experts mostly non organists
carried on,alwas with an understanding
that expatriates were demonstrating vil
lage musicians inefficienc,. a definite
source of many controversies in and out
of the church for several years
The outcome of the controversies lust
referred to is that Charlottevillians have
made great sacrifices to send their
children. sometimes out of the island to
learn to pla,, the piano and or organ, so
compulsive is their drive to achieve the
glor, of seeing their child Ison or daugh
ter) "play the church organ". Of course
the Charlotteville "organ" is a small,
very small harrnonum. but this shows
the place music holds in these villagers
scheme of values Music for Charlotte
villians is not lust entertainment, it
implies prestige and is a status symbol.
Thus school work, death, church, educa
i[on all these aspects of life in this
village, in one way or the other, are
strung around music and music making.
To end this short survey with another
grandmother quote about the Congomen

here is what one of them said about the
singing he heard in church one Sunday
when Emancipation Day was celebrated
in fine Methodist traditional style and
the Rule Britannia was sung at Man-o'
War Bay :
"When Ma' Bay Romeas singke Britan
He sweet la-ka hymns"
This old Congoman recognized the
difference between a hymn and the Rule
Britannia but more than that he admitted
to the tact that the men of Man-o'-War
Bay (name for the Charlotteville harbour)
were sweet singers

In describing the process by which the
Charlotteville folk developed their music-
al tradition we have shown how the
school, the church and the wake house
play the major roles by providing the
arenas in which the struggle to sing
profane or sacred songs may take place.
One aspect of the evolution of this
tradition which does not generate any
clash of interests between villagers is that
in which the day school channels chil
dren's songs into the village. Nursery
rhymes and play-party songs taught by
the teachers during singing lessons are
taken out into the village backyards
where at moonlight nights children from
different neighborhoods congregate and
work these songs over, adding to them
new words and local dramatics thereby
creating a local body of home-made
music. For example, "Little Sally Waters"
a very British game-song has been com-
pletely transformed in the version which
I collected from Charlotteville school
children in 1928.
"Rise Sally rise

Wipe you eyes
Turn to da Eas'
Turn to the Wes'
Turn to da very one
Dat you may love da bes'
Picker rat-ta"
This version of the familiar game song
illustrates what becomes of the tunes and
rhymes once the children bring them
home Irom school. In their play groups
these songs undergo change, not only in
the melody but also in the text. In the
stanza quoted above "picker rat-ta"
(piquant rat) is the derisive name villagers
give to some one who is mean and stingy
and who lives the anti-social life of a
special kind of rat that hides in thorny
thickets (piquant) on the edge of second
growth vegetation, coming out only at
night to gather food. To call some one
picker rat-ta ("rat" is "ratta" in Char-
lotteville dialect) is to insult him. The
realism of the derision projected in this
native version of "Sally Waters" is not
detectable unless we examine the recita-
tive which introduces the game as played
in Charlotteville. The mulatto ("malatta")
is derided in childhood mimicry and
"If it's a white man let him come in
If it's a black man kick him outside"
Apart from songs and other materials
derived from the school, Charlotteville
children have a heritage of game songs
which cannot be traced to any European
tradition. They are really black native
compositions which move from village
to village through the children of migrat-
ing parents. The only recreation the new
child visiting a village can engage in is
the moonlight game. This gives him
opportunity not only to hear and learn
new game-songs to take back to his home

but he can teach songs from his home
village to his hosts. This exchange of
song material is the same process we have
noted as occurring among the adults at
the wake-house singinggs. Apart from
learning new items from other village
children, young village singers get direct
tuition from their own parents who from
time to time direct the moonlight game,
themselves deliberately teaching the an
of singing to .the young arnd showing
them how to organize the playing group
in order to get the best performance.
Thus the Charlotteville child very early
in life understands the norms of song
performance, the methods of organizing
the singing and the song game group,
the meanings of the words sung and how
to discriminate against texts which carry
overtones of unpopular eroticism when
to sing erotic words, when to hum them
or modify them so as to not to project
obscenity. This aspect of song-making
and performing by children is part of
the socialization process in which the
young are directly initiated into the eso-
terics of village culture, arts, its
aesthetics, etc. by parents, older children
of thevillage and visiting playmates. Thus
what for the child can be termed "out.
come" of learning process of this is(1)a
body of new songs, (ii) performance
techniques and (iii) knowledge of village
cultural and philosophical norms. By the
time the Charlotteville child is ten his
knowledge of erotic matters is consider-
able; through the games which he is
taught and the songs that accompany
them the truth about life and nature are
systematically delivered to him.
In identifying the forces that make for
variation in the melody and texts of the
game songs of Charlotteville, it is the
ordinary conventional loss of memory,
the rationalization of the mis-heard or
mis-comprehended phrase, and the diffi-




culty of containing the intake of too
great a "load" (a matter of attention
span) of new material which we must
hold as responsible. New terms and
unfamiliar words, direct rejection of
what the learner deems distasteful or too
far out from village norms of music
making, all these may combine to trans-
form a song item into something new
and acceptable to the village play group.
In severaL cases, we have noted many
game songs are adopted from the adult
music repertory and worked over by the
children. Parents are very severe on their
children and would go as far as flogging
them for singing the wakehouse bongo
songs which are all commentary upon
the erotic in life. This proscription is
countered by artful children who take
over the tunes but compose new words
for them. One such item is "Miser Marie:
wo yo yo", a courting and kissing game
song dramatized by adults originally but
which at present has been "cleaned up"
and can be heard among children's school
folk song choirs all over Tobago. The
words referring to sex and copulation
have been carefully edited out
The process of folk song acculturation
obeys the dictates of definite prescrip-
tions which are laid down by the
villagers what emerges as the final
product of this process carries the appro-
val of all. Not even children are allowed
to break the rules. What really may look
to the outsider as simplistic folk activity
is very serious conscious action in the
field of art and morality through which
run the major features of popular culture.
Without this control and regulation life
in the village would be chaotic. What
ever musical material comes into the
village from outside, both sacred and
secular alike, must be approved and
modified consciously and systematically
before it is allowed to enter the song

tradition. This is a life-long process that
outlives generation after generation of
villagers in Charlotteville.
The children's game songs listed in
this article have mostly been collected
from neighbourhood age peers people
who lived in my neighbourhood in the
village. When in 1928 I became interested
in notating these songs I was able to
turn to my former schoolmates and
remind them of the tunes I used to hear
them sing when we were young. They
were amused at my interest as a grown
person since, when a child, my own
parents, strict Methodists, had sought
to shield us from the education in
eroticism which they knew the game
songs would certainly convey to us
children. Collection of the Charlotte-
ville game songs was systematically
carried out by myself in 1951 52
jointly with Andrew Pearse then Director
of Local Studies, University of the West
Indies. To my knowledge Pearse has not
published his materials as yet. The items
given here are selected from my own
field notes made in 1954 along with
some songs collected long before that
1. "One finger keep moving"
2. "Married Sweet"
3. "Lick um till you fine um"
4. "Buy a penny ginger"
5. "Who you gwine to marry to?"
6. "Drop Peter drop, boy"
7. "Linky-O Molly Ku-shenk"
8. "Roll me Nelly down town"
9. "Uncle Joe wha do you so?"
10. "Auntie Zoie go home oh"
11. "Qua-qua Tania come Ya"
12. "Kill me O me Diah-Diah kill me"

13. "Congo boy are-go married tomarrer"
14."Josef Kibam" (probably Cobham)
15. "Gin-gin water: walla walla dumplin"
16. "When ah was in jail"
17. "Cousin gi'e me one pickney"

The folk game songs I have found at
Charlotteville, in contrast with those I
have collected elsewhere in Tobago and
in Trinidad are excitingly African (mostly
Congo) in orientation. The characters
in these songs are mostly Congo in
personality and the "central concepts"
are definitely African folk ideas. Many
of them are part of long cante fables
(song-stories) dealing with animals and
sorcerors and the Devil. "Auntie Zoie go
home" is about Anansie the trickster of
West African culture and a magic tree
lull of dumplins. The tree bends down
when Anansie sings a song which the
jumbles had taught him. The tree's name
is Auntie Zoie an old witch that can
bear food on its branches. In "Qua-qua-
Tania" we have another tale in which
the Devil is tricked by the youngest
(wisest) of a woman's three sons,two of
whom the Evil One has already eaten as
he poses as the woman's lover. Qua-qua
Tania (a kind of starchy root tuber that
scratches or burns the tongue if not
prepared properly) is the youngest and
he is endowed with "second sight". He
detects the Devil and convinces his
mother to let him expose the Demon's
deeds. The youth hides the Devil's anvil
upon which his iron tongue is beaten
flat each night so he can speak like a
human being. The Devil is forced to talk
in his usual voice and so his identity gets
exposed. This is a very dramatic game
involving several actors, the most coveted
role in which being that of the smart
little Qua qua Tania. There is singing and



miming and dancing when the Devil
gets discomfitted. This kind of game
has disappeared from black communities
all over Trinidad and Tobago. It has
persisted in this village because of the
Congoes who continued to live isolated
in the high woods of Charlotteville,
coming down only rarely into the village,
to tell their tales and sing the quelbe
songs at wake houses.
This particular song game is significant
for theories about the acculturation of
folk music and folk dance. Here is a case
in which an item of cante fable from
the original Congo culture in Charlotte.
ville has persisted, not in the adult folk
music tradition, but in that of children's
lore. Definitely a song story in which a
little boy, the youngest of three brothers
defeats the Devil himself, must appeal
to the children in a society in which
girls are usually the recipients of atlen
tion and praise rather than boys who
more often than not are the objects of
"transferred punishment"vicariously met
ed out to them by mothers deserted by
the males. Recognition of male prowess
especially "against the Devil himself", is
very important in Caribbean society.
This song illustrates how items of music
and narratives may descend from adult
oral tradition into that of children in the
process of change.

One type of song not yet treated but
very important in the life of the Char
lotteville female is the banter song.
Whatever this word may mean in another
context "banter" for the women in this
village connotates ridicule and castigation
of another person usually another
female in an impersonal way. There is
in banter songs no name-calling, i.e. the
object of derision is not named but by

skillful choice of words and expressions,
clues are given by which anyone who has
some knowledge of village affairs and
rumours can recognize the "object" of
the banter songs. In village life where the
society is face-to-face; where relatives
are found sharing the same extended
household: where ambi-local residence
common in Charlotteville, throws in laws
together during the day to day rounds
of household chores, or working in the
"nigger grouild" as the food gardens are
called, it is easy for conflict and quarrels
to arise over their husbands' and their
extramarital affairs, over children's
school yard fights, over land and its
ownership; over the simple jealousies
which arise between out-village non-
conforming females who dare to marry
village males against the wishes of their
blood relatives. At the streams where
females assemble on a Monday morning
to wash clothes; at a stand pipe in the
streets where water is being collected,
at backyards where neighbouring wives
are sweeping and cleaning not open
quarrels but suppressed hostilities pro
ejected through the banter song may be
waged as seriously as any international
"cold war".
The banter song deals with the alleged
shameful deeds of the other woman.
They are "impersonal" to the point
where if a personal name is compulsory
in the text, some convenient female
name may be used Lillian, Anniebella,
Long Bubble Ada, Big Foot Sarah, Dara
tie, are the commonest names of "bad
women" I have found figuring in the
banter songs collected in Charlotteville.
The tunes are usually those taken from
some well known song but the words are
changed so as to convey the planned
ridicule, the barbed comment, and the
condemnation. This type of social com-
mentary is well illustrated in the "picong"

A Xj3 PA WC ir

~L---ii-- i-i-~~.l. d--L.~... _~r


calypso of Trinidad, in the mepwi heard
among the Spanish aguinaldo singers in
that island, and in the "parables" of the
Grenadines folk but the Charlotteville
banter song is far more subtle than all of
these, innuendo is the forte of these
village women. The banter song usually
opens with a line more or less running
like this :-
"Shame what a shame"
"Delaford 'oman you los' you' name"
It may continue
"When the poor man come in the
"You under the bed like a little louse"
Of course it can be seen that "Delaford
woman" and "the husband" are terms
too vague for anyone to successfully
accuse the singer of direct attack but to
a local passer-by this reference is signal
enough with which to identify the victim
of the sung petard. This song sung at the
top of a woman's voice is enough to
draw attention of the neighbours around.
It has been said that this kind of musical
torture is sufficient to set the "target
person" mad or drive her away from the
neighbourhood. Sometimes however the
victim is not prepared to be driven away
by banter songs and she may cross over
the fence and give battle to her tormen
tor. "Calling one's name" is usually the
test the Police Court magistrates use to
establish the "provocation" or "verbal
assault" which sparked off female fights.
At court the singer is usually in a strong
position she did not call the com
plainant's name. True as this is, the
banter song finds its mark and delivers
the offence in a most efficient way.
This use of song to wage inter personal
war is very old in Black society. Char-
lotteville folklore is filled with instances
in which the whole village or groups of
families were thrown into open battle in
defence of the parties involved in a

contention originating with the singing
of offensive banter songs. Following is a
calypso in the tradition of the"banter
song" in which we can note the im-
personal reference to two persons
apparently guilty of a moral breach as
extra-marital lovers:-
"You run, you run,
Tell me why you run
Married man in de factory
Single boy eatin' talkaree
You run, you run
Come tell me why you run".
The most common banter song I have
found in Charlotteville is one employed
by wives to break up liaisons between
their husbands and "outside" women
("Keep misses"). The tune is common
among calypsonians in Trinidad who
have set it to other lyrics containing
textually nothing to do with marital
"Lillian le' go me man
(For) me man is a decent man;
"Lillian le' go me man
Me man is a married man".
Of course the referent (female) in the
song is not by any means Lillian by
name, but this is the rule of the game.
As Charlotteville women will put it in
defence of their position "No name,
no warrant".
For the young married woman who
comes into the village of Charlotteville
and attempts to "dress more than we"
or to refuse to "work with her husband"
in the food-garden, the following banter
song gives clear indication of village
jealousy and disapproval of female non-
Emma bin say she bin wear cr- pon
Emma bin say she bin wear crippon
She go make up she mind
For go weed the young cane

Cho: Tra-la lala
Village life in Charlotteville is simply
shot through with music-making and
song is given definite roles to play as
people try to adjust to a peasant society
so face-to-face that itis impossible toavoid
friction and conflict, even among close
blood relations. Song mediates this social
conflict and makes life tolerable.

The next type of Charlotteville folk
song to be dealt with is associated with
magic as it is brought to bear upon social
and domestic crisis in the village -
epidemics like that of typhoid which
racked Charlotteville in 1920, or the
drought and famine which followed it
sometime in 1930. Termed "centre whop"
(a blow in your vital parts) the typhoid
fever raged for many weeks leaving be-
hind it several dead, mostly children and
aged adults. Finally the simple precaution
of boiling the water used for washing and
and drinking and protecting the village
water supply from contamination caused
by washing the clothes of the sick near to
it, brought the scourge to a halt. The
villagers died from sheer inability to
understand how a germ and not some-
one's obeah was the cause of the fever.
Into the village came the sorcerers, the
"look-men" and the obeah men setting
up court out-of-doors under spreading
mango or silk cotton trees and "treating
the sick". As they applied the hot water
and the teasannes to the bodies of the
poor ailing children death took over -
very often long before the patient arrived
home. The medical doctors were not
fighting the disease alone: they were
fighting for the support of the super

stitious in their battle against the obeah
To exorcise the spirits which the
look men said invested the sick bodies
that were brought to them, exhorbitant,
"lumbie dances" were arranged. At these
the poor patients would be made to
undergo frightening man-handling from
the obeah men attempting to shake the
offending "iumbies" out ol their sick
bodies. As the orchestra of drums played
the famous "Tobago Reel" dance songs
the spirits "flew into the heads" (possess
ed) of the dancers and gave them
"messages" about who had "put the
jumbles on the sick" and what medicines
were to be used to cure them. Supporting
the drummers with their goat skin tam-
bourines were the fiddlers and female
singers chanting the great songs which as
far back as we can take history of black
folk in Tobago have been traditionally
used to scare the Devil away.
It was death and epidemics of disease
which really brought the "Tobago Reel"
dance songs into Charlotteville. The old
native Congo musicians of the village
had employed the deep-skin drum for
their African music. Their dances were
predominantly recreational and on these
occasions they told the old tales about
Africa and slavery about the famous
Kanga Brown and how he flew away
-rom Tobago back to Africa after he had
seen Freedom in the island which he
had predicted to a day. But the new
black music ol the tambourine was for
the "lumble dance". Jumbies are the
ghosts or spirit of the dead which can
be invoked by the obeah man who, it
is believed by people in Charlotteville,
possess power to kill one's enemy by
"putting lumbie on him" so that the
victim either runs about crazy or grad-
ually wastes away until death arrives. At
the lumbie dance exorcising of spirits.


invocation of the great ancestral obeah
men, healing of the sick and giving of
protective "medicines" take place. To
provide the adequate attitude in the
dead ones "spirit food" (cassava coo-coo
and goal head soup) is served to the
spirits; high class olive oil is used to
anoint the sick and protecting cauls and
herbal fetiches recommended by the
spirits are given to those in fear of death
through the evil of their enemies. For
creating the correct atmosphere in reel
dance the music of the drums and the
singing of the "lumbie songs" are used.
These songs needless to say have entered
the folk song tradition of the village we
are describing. Informants from con-
temporary Charlotte~ille make fun of
them and recount the old evil days when
the obeah men Irom Lott Side simply
reaped a harvest of money and livestock
in payment for their services in "clearing
the village" of evil spirits . as they
put it.
Among the great Tobago Reel songs
Pearse and I were able to find in Char-
lotteville are :
1. Me no well oh
2. Cut an-swalla ago come here tonight
3. Wha Bubbo do mek lumbie are
folla um?
4. Play way fiddler play way
5. Call me Rosebud gi'e me
6. Married you never go get
7. Gal are dead 0. man are come O
8. Dandyman 0

The extent to which music and music
making are institutionalized in village
life at Charlotteville is very impressive
when we examine the folk customs
associated with work, worship and play
among the villagers. From youth to adult
life the Charlottev;llians participate and

find prestige and pleasure in the per-
formance of music, using institutions
like the school, the church, work on
land and on sea, and even the ritual acts
connected with the disposal of the dead
to provide occasions for displaying pro-
wess in music-making. Possession of a
"good voice" and a head for memorizing
tunes are the major gifts of the "vocalist"
and these are highly-prized endowments.
Popular recognition of vocalists rein-
forces and approves these two abilities
in the individual whether child or adult
and occasions for their exploitation are
never wanting in the life of the communi-
ty. At christenings, at Sunday services,
harvest homes, cantatas organized by the
Sunday School, at holiday concerts and
dead wakes, good singers are always in
demand. Despite the fact that modern
life has introduced radio through which
the village singers are exposed to the
music of the urban centres this has only
served to put more items to be sung at
the .disposal of the vocalists, but the
traditional music is not displaced.
The art (:f music making permeates
every aspect of village life. In the deep
forest during the dry season when men
engage in the hard work of hauling
heavy hard wood logs manually to level
ground where they can erect the saw
pits, songs are sung to set the rhythm for
this operdtiOn. As they, pull on the
stout Irana ropes tying the log they sing -
"Mjama gore a mount' n -
HI-ul um ddy.
He gone o1' yalla plaiit'in -
Haul um dj,"
And viheie at last the saw men and the
axe men hI-.. sa.,ved the logs into boards
and it is iimi for then to set out on the
Ion.] Aear, trudge to the village the
iwoiods men sigitjl their inteiition with
song singing kind arid calling to other
workers far jWud --

"You hear how jumbie
Are bawl a-wood
Are time fo' man go home
Are time fo' you
An' are time fo' me
Are time fo' a'we go home"
This song, made famous by the late
Edric Connor, can be heard among work
ers on the land all over Tobago. It is
claimed to have originated in this island,
although this cannot be substantiated.
But it is a woodsman song and when
the birds and the animals "who live in
the forest begin to bawl" the woodsmen
sing out -
"The buds in de bush
Thdy bawl qua qua -
Are time fo' man go home"
And when finally "man goes home"
forever and death takes him away from
his work on the sea and the land after
the burial of the dead had taken place -
village women form work groups and
proceed to the river to wash the "dead
bed". Dead bed implies every article of
clothing, every piece of cutlery and
crockery that was used at the dead
house. These, according to tradition,
must be washed in running water and
so the women make their way to a stream
not used for providing drinking water. As
they travel to and from the day long
"washing' they sing special erotic dead
songs" known to females alone NomaleS
are allowed to associate with this ritual
and it is held to be a bad omen for iriales
to sing thise songs. The female has been
first al the Ibegeling of the- indmlvuial
and co is she last at hi, death. Arouiit
ihegrate side, long after tile last spadeful
of earth a&is pl)cr:d on the funeral
rrmound, c:ustonmarnl, thie lrmale, iStail
alone and in'i1j he lait I ii'h as ll i l
goes dO itn Ju-it :0 the,' ill .it' iiil
the .'1 hli:- ria' oahli.ilj [tih "-lead Ilinrpi '
anfil is the t l iik)- rn ,n -- ic i .J11 i

when it is shining they would make
their way back to the village clean and
cleansed, singing the erotic songs that
tell of life and procreation and love and
all those acts which lead to the birth
of more children to take the place of
the dead.
These old traditions persisting among
the villagers for dealing with the life
crises are very inflexible and do not die
out easily; to take the bereaved past
the pangs of sorrow which death and
disease bring; to share in joy with the
lucky parent who meets good fortune in
the marriage of a son or daughter; to ex-
press happiness over good crops from
the land or rich harvest from the sea,
the body of old songs taught for genera
tions to the young people serve meaning.
ful functions in village life. They are
likely to live on even though they may
change as modernization invades the'
village and makes the "old life ways"
become archaic however, the change is
going to be very slow and very slight as
long as village life remains rural in
Charlotteville. The material culture is
admittedly undergoing some transition -
home-made tools and instruments of
music are giving way to alien artefacts
but the ancient music culture is very
much intact. The institutions through
which music functions are still unchanged
and innovations from outside the village
make little inroads into the music of the
folk. This is the resistant sector of the
folk culture


I rec.ill wilh -Oinre amusement the
nin, IInorde?]3 i1 i.iili'ted withl conflicts
bLett, n o ltcianj I involved 111 the
trug.jlee. ttjI teil po~iIIii ol hthe Charlotte.
.dlle Metlhidi1st .-hurch orgamist on one

hand, and the battles between the two
village choir-masters during the period
1940 50, on the other hand.Since for
almost 50 years up to the 60's school
masters in the local Methodist primary
school were "outsiders,' once a village
church organist arose, there was bound
to be conflict if the school master could
play the organ. The situation would
worsen if the schoolmaster was except-
ionally accomplished as a musician,
because this immediately emphasized the
contrast between him and the village
organist. As can be expected villagers
would support the local organist, despite
his inefficiency, in a struggle for ascend
ancy. In the Methodist community where
a church member "guilty of immoral
behaviour" is promptly barred from
participating in sacred acts in the church
services, it was very easy for the Char-
lotteville Methodist "leaders meeting"
(a very powerful church body) to
discriminate against a headmaster
debarring him from "touching the organ
in God's church" on the grounds of his
real or imaginary sins. Such a decision by
the meeting would rid the village organ
ist of his competitor quite easily and
give the former a position of monopoly.
In 1930 several village youths began to
acquire proficiency in organ playing.
Accordingly, the playing of the church
organ ceased to have its former high
prestige. Nonetheless the problem look
on a new shape the church was made
to pay a small fee to the original village
organist for his services. Thus was created
an institutionalized position which the
Leaders Meeting had to award to any
person applying when there was a
vacancy. However migration from the
village of the younger organists operated
to make the post almost non competitive.
The result of all these incidents is that
the post of the church organist continues

to rest in the hands of the original
incumbent who shines in his glory serving
the little church, and all its offices year
after year. Even in a small village, power
and the struggle for it, can take on
interesting forms.
The struggle between village choir
masters in Charlotteville has been no
less vicious than that over music-making
in the church. Good singers in a village
of 5,000 can be limited in number and
it was over attempts to induce singers
away from rival village choirs that the
choir masters clashed. The regular com-
petitions which brought village choirs
together at different centres "to sing
against each other" provided occasions
sufficient for conflict equally over ques
tons of excellence in choir performance
as over musical knowledge and skill in
conducting among the choir masters.
Where the competing choir masters came
from different villages the hostility died
down when the competition was over. But
in the cases where they came from the
same village the quarrels were brought
home and spread into other areas of
village life and to non-choir members.
For several years in Charlotteville two
village choir masters Jas. A.N and Jas.
A.M. two musical stalwarts and con-
sanguinal relatives waged yearly
tournaments. These men spent their
whole lives training ("practising") village
choirs. They both built up a tradition
for themselves not only as great lovers
of music and organizers of village choirs
but they were also ardent,well respected
church leaders (office holders) of the
Methodist Church. But this did not
prevent them from clashing over sheep-
stealing alienating the allegiance of
each other's choristers and waging social
war over music-making. These two men
have gone down in Charlotteville history
as stalwarts who from sheer love of and

devotion to music served the village and
made it respected in village life in Tobago.
The choir as an institution both in the
Church and outside of it thus provided
the enterprising village musician with
opportunity to compete for power with
village competitors as well as non-village
position holders within the village. Music
for the Charlottevillian is much more
than recreation it is a way of life in-
volving an on-going organization of
members with allegiance to the leaders
who would fight over any threat to their
power even when that threat came from
one's own relatives. The men of Man-o'-
War Bay take music and music making
very seriously. The old Congomen who
lived in the mountains over-looking the
village were the first to note this in the
pioneer days. From the gate-receipts at
village choir singing competitions came a
considerable proportion of the money
needed to build the Charlotteville stone
church, one of the best in Tobago. Music
making for the villagers of Charlotteville
is very serious business resting on entire.
preneurship and much organizational
skill in these peasant villagers. The
records and accounts kept by these
village choirs are testament to the
thoroughness with which the business
of these organizations is carried out.

In identifying the cultural traditions
which have been most influential in
determining the character and content
of the music tradition in Charlotteville a
good point at which to begin is in the
language the folk speak. While at first
the observer may be baffled by the fact
that English is the language spoken by all
- or a dialect of this tongue a deeper
probe, e.g, into family and place names

will provide the indication required. It is
in the names of the major families and
lineages and in those of the different
neighborhoods and other geographical
entities that the influence of the Euro-
pean peoples who once claimed Tobago
can be found. The English. the Scottish.
the Dutch and the French have had the
most contact with Tobago and a sample
of place-names in Charlotteville will show
the extent to which each of these was
influential in as simple a matter as
naming geographical items.
FRENCH: Monsieur Canne River, Belle
Aire, I'Anse Fourmi Bay.
ENGLISH: Long Row, Bottom Gully.
Hermitage, London Bridge Rock, Pirate's
Bay, Beef Wood, Middle Ridge, The
Dam, Observatory, Campbleton. Top
River, Turpin's Common.
SPANISH: Savannah Land.
The names of places rivers, neigh-
bourhoods, head-lands, parks are
predominantly English while only a few
are French. French history in Tobago
was short and superficial; the French
rule did not penetrate far into the rural
villages. Family names are even more
revealing of cultural influence. The only
family names of French origin I could
find, among the names on the Charlotte-
ville Electoral Roll are Louis, des Vignes
and de Noon. Of these only Louis be-
longs to the oldest settler-group category.
In contrast to this are the several names
of English and Scottish origin as can be
seen in the list following.




Thornhill MacPherson
Perry MacMillan
Beniamin Campbelle
Moore MacKenna
Carrington MacKella
Murphy Alleyne
The above are the names of the major
and oldest families in Charlotteville.
Their names derive either from the
English or the Scottish tradition. We can
conclude that the British, not the French
or the Spanish. have most influenced the
naming of families and places in this
village. While this gives us some clues as
to where to look for cultural influence
in the music which is traditional in
Charlotteville it also points to the fact
that the Black people played very little
part in naming the places where they
frequented in their work on the slave
estates in lact they did not even retain
to any extent their own African names.
SWhile there are a few African first names
to be found still among the oldest
descendents of slaves Mimba, Quashie,
Chobe, Gumma, Rennet, Cuffy it is
in the names of plants that the Black
folk have had any influence. The Christ-
ian priest gave the Negro slaves "church
names" or the names of their slave
masters while the Blacks themselves gave
their own children names chosen from
the White tradition names from the
Bible and from the English literature
with which the Mission Schools made
them learn to read. But we have Afu yam
and Congo potato, Juba tania and Congo
cane. "Congo Afua" is a common nick-
name which Black Charlotteville mothers
give to their children when they are
careless about clean clothes and tidiness
in appearance the African word is
employed as a derisive term. Old African
culture heroes turn up only in traditional
tales Congo Leberute, Kanga Brown,
Gangan Sarey. Obviously when we come

to the music the people sing in this
village we need finer analytical and more
discriminating tools than searching in the
Charlotteville popular lexicon for
linguistic indicators of Black cultural
influence. Certainly the British and the
French influence can be seen n the
village music. It is in this sector of village
culture, which was induced by the
Moravian ministers and employing the
evangelical music of Sankey and Moody
and the British ballads and popular songs
the Missionaries introduced, that the
folk reconstructed a tradition of their
own. This tradition is shot through with
the ancient performance styles which
Black people brought with them into
the New World. This non material culture
- really patterns of musical behaviour
could not be destroyed even under the
rigors of culture contact with the Euro-
peans. The Blacks simply worked over
music and texts which they gathered
from White folk into something new a
complex of art forms which effectively
preserved those stylistics of musical
organization and performance that have
distinguished African styles for centuries
before the Great Diaspora of Africans.
Until the invention by Alan Lomax
of the technique of musical analysis
called Cantometrics it was impossible
except by very crude methods and guess
work to determine the African elements
in the Black music of the Caribbean
people. In this study the Cantoinetric
Method will be used to show how African
performance style has continued to be
vigorous in Charlotteville music and that
even in the lexical features of the songs
the villagers have preserved their own
cultural identity. We have seen that the
old Congo-men Buddy La Rose and
Pinney James, Kango Keorke and others
faded out of Charlotteville social life.
Their music and the songs they sang were

gradually forgotten in the village. But the
indestructible elements in music making
persist in the Black community among
the Negro migrant groups that came into
the village from the other villages of
Tobago and from other islands of the
Eastern Caribbean. No matter where the
Black people went they found reinforce.
ment for their musical style as long as
they entered other Negro communities.
This is what gives them community and
identity. What are these stylistic variables
of Black music-making still found ,n the
songs the people in the village sing'
Before the question is answered it is
necessary to take an overview of the
different genres of songs found in the
Charlotteville repertory so as to order
them on the criteria of established
traditional traits.


1. Very Brirtsh
Ballad: Church hymns of the institu
tionalized religious groups; Shanties,
British songs for day schools, Anthems,
Sunday school religious songs; Nursery
rhymes, Hymns and sacred songs from
Ira D. Sankey and D.L. Moody, Sacred
Songs and Solis; Sacred music of Amer.
can religious sects.
2. Very African
Music of African cult religion
(Shango); Ouelbd drum -dance songs.
3. Tobagonran
Local "banter" songs; Tobago Reel
(songs from Scottish tradition worked
over by the folk textually while preserve
ing the melody). Work songs and hails
for workers on the land (work-gangs and
"lend hand" group singing: Bongo songs

and dead-wake music; Songs for "Tobago
Speech band" competitions; Tobago
story songs; Tobago axe-men's cante
fable and ghost tale songs.

4. Afro-Caribbean
Cheer up music from the Grenadines;
Bele Dance songs (sung in English dialect
and differing from the Trinidad French
Creole songs: Game songs and "pass
play" (children and adults). Rope-jump

5. Anglo Caribbean Music
Musical items adopted from British
tradition and transformed rhythmically,
melodically. and in text ie., wake-house
spirituals, catches, rounds, cannons, and
drinking songs.
While much of the music and song
material in use among the Charlotteville
folk can be traced back to British written
sources, this material has been so
systematically "worked over" by the
common folk over a long period that it
is reasonable to regard it in its present
form as "traditional". The hymns from
Moody and Sankey illustrate this best -
the original words are partly forgotten.
only the tune being retained and even
this is changed to some extent. The
rhythmic style is purely African.
The class system in Charlotteville
society is property oriented and may be
classified as dual, there is a sort of
aristocracy based on land ownership with
the only white family owning about 90
per cent of the agricultural and residen-
tial lands while another 5 per cent of the
"village land" belongs to native black
families, the holdings being nowhere
larger than a few acres each. Government
owned or Crown Lands (forest) have
been sold at a fairly cheap rate ({'s55 per
acre) so that there is a class of black

CE7O-C -L I- -

~g~r~aaJra~r*~un~l~ar~-lerrre~s~~c-r-- ;-- ..n~li-_~i-~~

small land-holder. But this land is agrt
cultural land situated several miles, i.e.5
between three to five miles away from
the village. In several cases the villager
owning five acres of farm land would,
also be a tenant of residential land in the
village. The village is therefore a veritable
clearing in the centre of the while
planter's cocoa and coffee estate. For
whole generations the black tenant
family would have paid house tax and
property tax to the government tax
collector (the Ward Officer), or to the
Warden's Court (local Revenue Office)
and land rent to the white planter for
"house spot". The annual expenditure
of all these items would hardly amount
to more than twenty Trinidad and
Tobago dollars ($10U.S.) but to a
peasant who earns an average of $4 per
day working on the land either on his
farm and food-garden or on the white
planter's estate this is difficult to pay.
It is therefore necessary for the villager
and his wife and children to organize
themselves as an economic labouring
group the female assisting in the food
(vegetable) gardens with the weeding
and moulding of the annual crops like
corn (maize), yams, potatoes (sweet) and
pigeon peas when the men have done
the felling of the trees and clearing and
ploughing the land. At the end of the
week the men go to fish on the "banks"
near the coast-land either from row
boats or from the cliffs. Only a few men
however, use the rod and-line method
of fishing: this is restricted to the men
from inland villages not accustomed to
sailoring and small boatmanship.
Road work carried out by the govern-
ment agencies Public Works Depart-
ment and (ol late) County Council
Road Office provide employment for
a small number of villagers. Since this
guarantees regular fortnightly wages, road

workers, though looked upon as semi-
independent as compared with own
account peasant farmers, have gradually
grown in status on account of their
comparative financial stability. Even
these road builders work on their small
food gardens in the late afternoons and
on Saturday and even on Sundays if
they are Sabbath keepers a practice
which has caused much conflict in the
village, giving rise to religious persecution
of Seventh-Day Adventists during the
1930-40 period. During the crop time
when cocoa and coffee on the large
white-owned estate must be harvested
quickly even peasant farmers and regular
fishermen will put in time in order to
earn quick money, the plantation over-
seer having recruited workers from all
ranks in the village. Whole families or
groups of friends usually form work-
gangs on these occasions. These gangs
may be "cutlassing" or "pruning" or
"harvesting" groups, and may come to-
gether in this way to earn money for
specific purposes even for church
"benefits". When under other conditions
men team up to work the lands of each
other in rotation this is called len' han'
and the work is termed len' han'-work;
no wages are involved and payment is
really in kind since them is an exchange
of labour between members of the group.
The person whose land is worked pro-
vides food and drink and each worker
brings his tools. This differs from "gang-
work" on the estates since the white
planter provides some of the tools and
pays wages.
Both at "gang-work" and len' han'
workmen can be heard singing the folk
songs. There are wood hauling songs like
"Break her down" and "Mama gone
a'mountain' ". Special "cutlassing" songs
have been noted among the older men,
but these are seldom heard today. There

are also songs for "dancing" the cocoa
beans when they have been dried in the
sun. The beans are spread out on the
long cocoa trays (boucans) and first
soaked with a mixture of boiscanot
(trumpet bush) leaves and then rubbed
into a shine through the dancing of
females who wade through the sea of
brown beans polishing them thereby,
while they pick out the flat "rejects,'
thus grading the crop in preparation for
bagging and shipping. This work is carried
out by teams of workers employed on
the estate on short term usually, since
the cocoa crop is seasonal. Among the
cocoa dancers there are songs like "One
cent o' honey-comb" and "A root o'
dasheen" songs that carry erotic and
derisive overtones as all the other work
songs in Charlotteville do.
A root o' dasheen is a Grenadian meal
A penny sweet oil and a penny sal'fish
When you pour in di oil
An' you fry it in style
A root o' dasheen is a Grenadian meal.
Dasheen (a kind of tannia) is not
regarded by the Charlotteville peasant as
a respectable crop like yams or potato.
In fact dasheen planting on one's.land is
usually treated as optional since it needs
little cultivation. Also since it needs very
little care to grow its status as a staple
crop is not high among Charlotteville
peasants. But among the Grenadian
peasantry this is a staple food upon
which the family is fed the more impor-
tant crops like yams and potatoes being
grown largely for the market. Even in
the dietary of the Charlotteville peasant
can be found subjects for social
commentary in song and criticism of
life-style. Many of the songs sungduring
work in cutlassgangs or among the cocoa
dancers are adopted from the wake

. house and modified to suit the work in
hand. The end-product of this practice
is a body of new songs especially de-
signed for this particular occupation and
,the same pains taking care shown by the
dead-wake bongo kings in teaching new
items,can be noted among the few male
cocoa-dancers who ensure that each new
song is well known before the dance
01' man die an' he leave cocoa
Leave cocoa
Leave cocoa
01' man die an' he leave cocoa
An' one slice o' bread
We are the rulers we are the rulers
We are the rulers fo' cocoa
We are the rulers we are the rulers
We are the rulers fo' cocoa.
While this song can be heard among
cocoa dancing teams of women, it is
also sung during the "chocolate breaks"
at wake-house smigings. Thus a cocoa
dance song is interchanged as a drinking
song among the villagers. The song sung
at a wake-house implies that only when a
miserly man dies will anyone "eat his
labour", i.e., share his wealth. Another
wake-house spng sung during the break
for refreshment and carrying critical
commentary on the close-fisted deceased
is called the "Chairman's song" because
the singers bring pressure upon the head
of each singing group (termed the chair-
man) to serve them with extra mugs of
cocoa ("chocolate tea" for the villagers).
Bring it, bring it
Bring it with a willing mind:
The Lord give to you,
Be generous an' true,
Bring it with a willing mind.

Bring it Mis'er Chairman
Bring it Mis'er Chairman
Bring II with a willing mind (Repeat).
'Calling for more" at a singing (dead
wake) is not only an indication by the
attendants that the cooking has pleased
them it is also an attempt to "clean the'
house", i.e.. to consume all the food
prepared since this is the last occasion
on which ani of the dead man's goods
will be available for sharing. During this
drinking of cocoa as it is called it is
customary for drinkers to discuss the
stinginess of the dead man. while the
survivors and close Iriends defend his
good name Open quarrels may ensue
out ol these debates but it is expected -
the wake house is an occasion when the
two sides ol the man's life. the good and
the bad. are freely exposed in dancing
and in song The kinds of songs sung
reflect this custom very closely/ Maybe
good manners would require the singers
to say pleasant things about the person
whose aibour is eaten but lth, is the
onlr occasion at which social approval is
given to open criticism of the dead. it is
a looking session and everyone knows
there is nothing malicious about it. After
this night it is a very dangerous thing to
speak evil of the dead as it takes on the
form and acquires the fearful power of a
ghost. To speak unkindly of a ghost is a
risk no villager will take after nine days
following a death and burial. The choco
late drinking and the singing are therefore
built in arrangements to provide people.
both friends and enemies, to say the
good and the evil things once and for all.
openly and at the "house of the dead".
This custom is very significant for
theories about the way face to-face so
cities resolve the conflicts which arise
between their members Certainly there
must arise conflicts between even the

most beloved person and his friends and
associates. Since it is "taboo" for anyone
to die "with a person on his mind"
arrangements are made by which all
those with whom the dying were "out
of terms" to be present and "beg
pardon", and there is need for a ritual
by which those not present at a death to
express their feelings "before the dead
rises' The dead is believed to rise after
three days and walk the earth nine days
before "crossing the river". Therefore
the singing session at the wake-house is
much more than an occasion to "weep
with the bereaved", it provides opportu
nily for the living to settle with the
dead all those interpersonal differences
unknown to others that a person may
have on his mind, to wipe them off the
state lest the ghost of the dead become
revenant and haunt the living. This is
only one of the many precautions taken
by villagers to ensure against the return
of the dead. The folklore of these
villagers, as it can be seen in that of
peasant society in many other lands, is
filled with stories of hauntings and
ghostly returns due to neglect of these
precaullons. A famous Tobago song of a
ghost that returned because of unsettled
quarrels was sung to me by the Boy
Scouts of Charlotteville.


Cho: Weary soul
Why you da come back?
Weary soul
Why you da come back?
Weary soul
Why you da come back
You went to de river-
An' you come back.
You went to de river
An' you could' get a cross,

-~C ~aar P~- -- --- ------- --

`r( y-------l JL~L

Could' get a cross.
Couldn' get a cross.
You went to de river
An' you could' get a cross-
So you went to de river
An' you come back.
It is a matter for shame it a villager's
relative dies and is seen walking about
the village". The view is that in life he
was so sinful that "he has no resin'
place" Every measure is taken that this
should not happen. Of these post
funerary rituals the "singing" in the dead
house is not the least important for
"laying the dead".


We have seen how. from the ordinary
needs in the lives of these simple Tobago
peasant villagers, arise forces which set
people moving from place to place to
find work. earn money, and return home,
to travel to other villages trading musical
skills by co operating in celebrating
weddings and performing at funeral cere
monies. On the holidays, villagers may
engage in Iriendly competitions at
concerts, hereby distributing musical
terns from localhlt, to locabliy. It is
concluded that the music we have found
in this little Tobago community is the
result of a complex system of human
activities concerned with very important
-and crucial aspects of human Ilfe, as
people work, worship and spend whatever
leisure time these two activities permit
them to enjo,. Music making ,i genuine
human behaviour and the dynamics or
forces at work in the processes deer
mining the emergence and evolution ofl
musical tradition (whether folk or urban)
are generated by social living and social
interaction. This is as true of every o[hei
community of men as it has been

demonstrated in this Tobago village in
the Caribbean. The music of the Congo
men did not survive them- only the
arrimbourine and the maldoun doun re
main today the latter of which is
changed into the now famous "steel
drum" in modern Trinidad where Congo
music is still extant at Mayo
It is logical to suggest that in order to
understand the einergence and evolution
of a musical tradclio- the best approach
is one involving study of the various
ways in which peo(pl among whom the
tradition arose, having struggled towards
maximum participation and involvement
in community life. Music making reflects
the processes of community making, and
we cannot understand its significant
underlying forces unless we understand
the dynamics shaping social life within
the community that produced the music
Apart from the African "cultural sur
vivals" which have been noted in the
Charlotteville song performance and
organizational arrangements, in the
musical instruments and in the role of
the males in music making, we should
note that 11 the song leader .s the rrmaor
figure whether he functions as oteahman
or choir master or head woodsman in
pulling logs out of the forest or captain
of a fishing boat. 12) that the Congo
women were the ones who played the
quelbe drums and women caught the
song games to the young and 13) that the
singing style was predominantly of the
litany type in which the leader sang lines
followed by the chorus who were free to
vary their line as the song proceeded
Music in Charlolieville has continued to
be a communal affair in which each
singer is free to malt.e his own conlribu
lion Despite the incursion of the
European type orchestra there can be
found especially at the wake house


_____ Ifc

sessions, the percussion "croix-croix"
and the drum made from soap boxes to
accompany the singing of the bongo
songs. Music-making in this village is a
community matter and a villager would
regard himself insulted if he were ex-
cluded from participation in any music.
making undertaking. In work, communal
music continues to be functional in this
village. Church worship, work on land
and sea, backyard children's games, and
even death and epidemics provide the
occasion when all villagers may join in
and make the appropriate music. Music
is central in the lives of thdse villagers.

Each year when the cocoa crop has been
gathered, the folk hold harvest festivals.
For these festivals the young singers in
the village get selected to perform in the
church choir. This is something prestige-
ful in the view of parents. The whole
village attends to listen to their young
ones sing. In a sense the music-making in
this village is the major focus of
community life. This is why any major
change in the life-style of the Charlotte-
ville villager may be found reflected in
the music of this community and in the
arrangements for its performance.




V .-r Emmniiurl
at I.

LA ROI VICTOR CharlOla.i ille 140
K k k b V h k

- I 1t II '* h

K, K K k L

'.'.... r,=' O 1-- R. '1 -- It .1. t., Yi,. I i ,:r< ei

k l, F L .
p. *
I. a -e L.i R.i -. i. l -r CO.r- '." .1. rd rr.

..A. ;yt La HC, % 1, r

) d .. r, En,, foor ,rrn t, h lr


A 4.4"l ld B *|i
, .1 ; ___

1 ,. *lar "ai

A l I I
canl 0 btay _
1^ .' .' JfJ' I M I I

Roll out 5o.r Sadl

ri) Lu ra.

\Ft ^\ Jr | 'I

Gift-or, Moore THE SINNER N13.N ChiL- -.0,,II IWt04ii

0 de t t.


lo I..-. -- '- r..................I hA h-ri

Qi. fltrar Fir. kcetIP YANK(IE BACKRA (h. itp i
a0 F .P

W s Ta Lie hack pa Ihb.. bring N... .rr here

dre mari dow a R.tP.L

h~ o Ie men. Ge miii b riri o Id.a' ibe manl


Wekeh .u-e SA% ED IN THE PROMISED LAND Charloitteille (40)

S'l.re Gr. nhpre i. the Pro -pel -- -- l -- lh --


1 r., re h 11.re .. I.e Pro pt' r E lh jab

fr.i oF. '. ere *. Il Pro P..r E II prh

0 _.o I I I Id ,

. ,I .I'rl1 .n in .

Pro r..;e?.l L[Od

R. noj t. e ai i; .
4 t, I r .t r.-..


.4 #yi rafn rjih p. rtuufl Nit jNyro So 'ly. .1 ramp-inHferiiigs. rakefs and "siIng
irjgs InIlI ii, r,rott t:'/ rhh buera lnit l soigi a, oy ,r hard. Chaorlolttriille rwakf house sitga
S'air Salfii i' thr Pr r.rsed Lond" dur;iq tht s8etnd part of the nake, the Chairman
''Ilhl r, lt lthi ',erfd" lliii.r lhus l';rinq dcrwn the pace o.r' the singing. One version of this
sohiq (Ci rrs in S i rted S.'.,'ij and Stolos (ISa i and Mr.,ody 1.



i b I I

Baradtra i,; II

, i

L iN K I ,
, t r f de l .. I

A -h

r| .i E I..r r It H l

Too Iong too Olog Z- on ad too Ion --

Too long too loonO Z -- o Bd loo lung-.0


St. An tlh.nn -


Pauel Precod NO YOU ONE ARE MAN Soarboroupb (19541 IVersion 1

No ~oJ one are man Di mo.n Cook No )o. one are mas oh

S'ea t rn ti d, noe m0^ CooL No Y o one are man.

I. I I ) a o no C.j n a,-rr 1 n Di ImF rD Cook No
l J J P I K. U l -L -. v

to, one are Ar.Ao vh You ebt orn re done D moon Cook

No 0t. o0o are man Is & Ir. Isl

Wakeb.,use I'M A SOLDIER Charlotte% ile tc. 1910)

I R ril i r br ..1 I -r, L t Irr.t .I 10. -.. nor knoD

-.i bI 1 l C0 i i1 I Im a .1l dlr
__ / _________-------------------------- -- ----------- -------

i For ward go
r 4L 9

T I..r


ii In. HIIS~ iliIl.u

i .j r I '

R .11 1 I i-r, -. 0 :l

I 0 roll I : sor I i c.h. 0 roll be

i -" -'N
I O roll i.e I. fr I, in ol. 0

roll be le 'TI a Ih-a

DedJ-nia SINCE ME LEADER DEAD Tob"a i1954)

I 0 b' I c I

J SBc.' me .Ledl r J4e.-j o poe M- one on me one I

S.itc. me Le.] cr dei i o.1 .;.r. i| i- me one .| itb

d I l. 1 I ., i a one ob Mo o.e ob Me one .n the

| J J h h k l k I I c=

.d B. o .i0 W, i, mre .n,. ob M.. one oh Me one

bi d il'


rl a

5: t

CharlotLeville (1940)
L .I

Soul hb yto tlur back Wear) Soul by yon
k 7 k K I L K b %k

Could" gt cro rf Couldn

get a cross. So yo


.4 r rry good e.rample of I Carbbean ip.it tual t/lUitltkd eI ro a .r Iou itp of sn1 iIs at
the Yorlh Camp in Tobago in 196:. The secl A4i.,',, .. Ilite Car, bbia aS Spiritual Baptist
. ing this barlt.ful sonry to wchome the r iitate inHtt'ly baptr ed Ibhen he comes nff the
mourningg gproutd"it 'hfen he has tiouritt id and macde his spi ,tual journey -"ent to tIhe
trier" and returned. This song ias tiat hnard at Charloltevtlle whire Giftlon Moore (15)
the Gleenran of the Mtlhodist Youth Crub sang it at a enorcirt


ftson Moore WEARY SOUL
L t a .



F~CPIR-Ht'-t-C~~c~' ~d-

.~'i b

turn back Wear Soi whby )ou turn back Whb 5ou went to the
.() .. _

rl -eor mnd x a lour b ak 0 Ton ent tIbe rv er and you
i I 1 ,. t.

cooldn' qel s cror. coolds get a oro-b 0 Tou oolt

j '- a r 1 P
to the rT -er sand on c.1oidJ' get a croIA Bo 7yo
0 k o Ik h t & -

went to the rnI -er and yon turn back -

lt J J I ^ \

Johnny Cooper


Sixth Company (1972)

1 _. k L

Climb-- i up de mounauu Crw'p -- ins ok l hom

A 1L k k I I
F ~~!-- ~- -

I an try mi o M De J.e-u TO lU fiam

W Ie I I .

S11 mi) roubler Climb--lng up de mo.l1ua Cre p- um

on me knee I p irynmg to find om Je-- l

To Lell i.m ail Im) Irouble oh oh Trn hie

Troo- hbl oh The whole or n trobleh Trouble oh

Tr -e
Tro-hble ml

h The whole

worl Im trocole


The American Negroes("Merikins") who migrated after the War of 1814, to Morugn
Road and settled on the Company Villages hare a very significant repertory of music which
Professor Andrew Pearse called jbiles. Trouble Oh iwas sung by Ebenezer Ellho of
Lenga for Alan Loma.r in 1962. But this "sorsy of trouble" has been heard elsewhere in
Trindad Company Village people taught it to distant iWlayers.
FoI the "M"rintsi" I;-/i s a troublesome journey and the beat way to live ri is to
climb on your knees to Jesus and till him all your troubles.


- ,-." --.- Ar~~tP -rw~ __ ~A~w

Emml., Clark I AM A WARRIOR Charlot,evlle (1940)

I An. h nr -- I. Im in da f.eld

| ) M, P E
:' I c n ri rn.J I cao ihoul -- I A" -

Sell It All hond That Je- .uA died for me-

Sr.r nh et o er oD der in da hap pi

Pa ra d.e Wr.- bh ei o- rr )on -der in da field--

SDiown Clrke I LOVE HIM BET CharlofteviHe (1940) (Version I)

loe B.m bet I.r eve ry daI loI a n im

bet ler eoe r3 day

Sbide I love Hlm betl Ler

clo.e by Hi. aile I ndl

eo.0 r dat



Prit.. ilia Tu Irr


Cuirluttiellasl l j'l:,01

n oh l ) Ii p i.r .tn 'en er, roil hi

R 1 1,e I-IF n, c- Im

I. l lt r r.l 'a I5...I J I 'nr

le -1 e -l .,P. I

r (9 a,, r, ril Ii _i 'l- i 'ir. I) 'It be-I

par -,n at ler


Dtsown Clarke I LOVE HIM BE-TER Charlottevslei (1340) (Versiorjn 1

k: II Fil I

It ~

iJ I I aI in
Writ Hig J -oob dawn i a a breaking Wrest-Uling Ja-ob

P in I j -- II

Dawn In a breaking III wreusle till he break of day

mP F _ E m m
.1 f 1 I I l
Ne-mer to let Thes go rul wresle Lill the brask of day

son' I f ^

Never to

let Theb so


During the second part of a Tobago Wake i.e. after midnight. the singers inside the
wake-house sing songs Irke "Wrestling Jacob". This song from Hebrew tradition is about
Jacob and has encounter with the angel.
Just before daybreak the singers chant this spiritual--only the near relatives
and close friends of the bereaved family slay on till break of day ("wrestling with the Lord"),
all others having taken partoleave for home early in~ the morning.

Chbarlottenlle (1940)




S K L I L a

I 1 ol on board bhe I da I d.d nol oo to Mtay

1I1 PC f l J pi
pill r mt hand on 'he WinialUg d'e-r And The cap a.n faint a &Y-


I a C

-. I

Champion Charlea a my name Cha- pion Chra'i- as my) -r41

F. 11 I m A i I .
IE P, II- --EVd
I tI mv hand on the Vll. f., drhea ad the Crp Ion Ikton a na


One of Ite cotmmttr shaittits Ii.rrdrd mg Tnbago fhrymrman. Chau,,pion
Charles clashea wthltt Ike capltain cr.j Ie LheU. b-,i, 111p atid Irrlsp nacay Ith' -yrnlha oLo'"
(Mulattuo from, him. The mulatto rirl has brtn a veritable bonie ri coitedllo,, amaaong
u'orlera on land as well as on bra.





Tobago (1964)

Who don't know They don wea to kno ay Con-tm

Y I Ii L
S Pun are ba bwa ho donl know they donr wnt to

S know Say Cornitune Pun are bwr bw

S Cheer. ror ds m son Cheers for td wn-

nO Cheer for da geon a Corn

ume PaiD re bwr br --


A Tobago banter song about Corntime Pain who was made to play the role of
na u na 'bvu (ibotstr) i. e. s. arcrow.
This song is very Tobagoniaon and has not been heard anywhere in' Trinidad.
Therr geen, to be hidden meanings in the reference to cheering for the twagon.


* %* *. 1L

Pearl Preseod




P P is 3. r I

Play boy play boy PIa> ro Ua Do go ma
A~ ~ k L

An a a1 oh I Play o Ma Do go ma

BSe how them boys ar Pli) to Ma Do go0 o. n
a L s. I. i I J ^ K |

' An an l

oh I Play to Ma Do go ma

S. Blow boys. blow for Ma Dogoma
8. Rool boyt. root for Ma Dogoma
4 Dance boys dance for Ma Dogoma


Ma Dogona the folk s6U guards the gates of Death. No one can die unless she
comes. At a wake-house "the boys sing for Ma Dogoma"and dance the bongo.
The bongo is a "mirror-dance" i.e. two dancers compete with each other in per-
forming identical steps to choral singing accompanmid by the rhythmic beating of qua-qua
(croi.-croix) two pieces of bamboo.

= V V V r
No 5ou one are mnD Dm mon Cook No con one

n*e man oh Vn e o01 r-- donr Din morn Cool,

-"' W re.. 7
No )0n onn tre iran [ li t 14 ii ,,,I ico., R(r n la Ji.n clo

D.I mon ioi i C .I ii, t o,- Il- -ir, lone r.|, i\o,

I i ,-r .1 F..

Rin- ln n. .l:. i i. ('Ct. No i,. one anr nli' i li \ 1. is


Dtrmon Cook has "ealtei his renta done" (had received value for the yams he gave
his hostess) and it is tlnee for him to learc. He is not the only man in the world.
This Tobago banter song is a very good illustration of the power of the female
in Caribbean society. She can turn the male out of doors and dispense with his serrrees
an favour of another man who brings more yams.

Pearl Prescod


Searborouob (1954) (Version 11)

eat ,o,

I I I i L

Dd -Ji esi Jo Lhnrlk Me L[n .s)

D no.l-) .l dog ..lanL Dad-d enlt dog shark M -

Lin-.a UaJd-J- i J.di usnrk Take Ibem one by

one M.l Lin an) Tr.ke lhem two by t o-

T. ue ihen Ihree b Ihree Ms Lo, I aR Take them

I" J U

four .ll four -

Mother Millie ON THE BAiTLE FIELD BarsLaan (1971)

I'm on be bal lie Beld or my Lord I'm on the

S, h I .

bet .1e feld for my Lord I pro mined my Lord r

-.j. ^ u
me r tur n a way I on Ihe ba tl feld for my r I n--


Harold Dillon


Charlotterille (1940)



war -.


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