Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)

MorwenEdhelwen1 24 Apr 11 - 11:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Apr 11 - 12:55 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 25 Apr 11 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Grishka 26 Apr 11 - 09:31 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Apr 11 - 02:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Apr 11 - 10:41 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 Apr 11 - 12:40 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 Apr 11 - 01:08 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 Apr 11 - 01:59 AM
Monique 27 Apr 11 - 03:01 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 Apr 11 - 04:25 AM
Monique 27 Apr 11 - 04:37 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 Apr 11 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,Grishka 27 Apr 11 - 05:27 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 Apr 11 - 05:41 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 Apr 11 - 05:44 AM
Monique 27 Apr 11 - 05:51 AM
Monique 27 Apr 11 - 05:53 AM
Monique 27 Apr 11 - 05:57 AM
GUEST,Grishka 27 Apr 11 - 08:00 AM
Monique 27 Apr 11 - 09:02 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Apr 11 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Grishka 27 Apr 11 - 02:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Apr 11 - 06:55 PM
Monique 28 Apr 11 - 01:52 AM
Monique 28 Apr 11 - 02:29 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Apr 11 - 02:32 AM
Monique 28 Apr 11 - 06:09 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Apr 11 - 01:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Apr 11 - 01:59 PM
Monique 28 Apr 11 - 02:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Apr 11 - 04:21 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Apr 11 - 05:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Apr 11 - 06:16 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Apr 11 - 09:34 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Apr 11 - 09:45 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 29 Apr 11 - 01:02 AM
GUEST,Grishka 29 Apr 11 - 07:21 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 29 Apr 11 - 07:31 AM
Monique 29 Apr 11 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Grishka 29 Apr 11 - 01:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Apr 11 - 04:52 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 29 Apr 11 - 05:05 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Sep 11 - 06:43 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 06 Sep 11 - 06:50 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 07 Sep 11 - 03:42 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Sep 11 - 03:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Sep 11 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,Kevin Burke 30 Dec 11 - 01:10 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Dec 11 - 03:48 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 Dec 11 - 09:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Dec 11 - 03:18 PM
GUEST 01 Jan 12 - 04:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Jan 12 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,lord exposure 01 Jan 12 - 08:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jan 12 - 01:23 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 03 Jan 12 - 02:35 AM
GUEST 08 Apr 16 - 08:52 AM
Monique 08 Apr 16 - 09:13 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:



Subject: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 11:02 PM

Is the story that this song was inspired by a girl from a wealthy family in 1906 being seduced and forced to become a streetwalker true? I would think that if it was, there would be some documentation, such as newspaper articles. I've heard that the melody for this was inspired by an old Martinican folk song. Is anyone able to verify this? And also, how would you pronounce the Creole lyrics?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Apr 11 - 12:55 PM

The story may be legend. Lionel Belasco, the composer (or who may have modified a Martinique folk song), made no mention of the story.

This thread should be combined with the previous thread, 66111, Rum and Coca Cola, where the lyrics of the song are posted.
Rum and Coca Cola


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 25 Apr 11 - 06:20 PM

I could be wrong, but there is a mention of Mathilda Soye- the girl this song is supposedly about- in a snippet of the Louis Nizer book, which I found on Google Books when I was doing some research to try and find out more about her. And it sounded to me like people who knew Belasco believed that it was based on a true event. And the other thing that is interesting is the "based on a folk song from Martinique" claim. What is supposedly from a Martinican folk song? The melody? The lyrics? Or is the whole piece simply an adaptation of a trad song, which may have some lost variants? If it is true that it is a trad song that was adapted by Belasco, that would explain the reference in the last verse to "When Martinique was all in flames", which is a digression from a song that is practically a Creole version of "House of The Rising Sun". A final note- I wonder if anyone has sung this song in a long time, because I would love to sing it myself- only, I can't pronounce the Creole lyrics.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 09:31 AM

The lyrics seem to be spelled to produce an approximately correct pronunciation when read as if they were standard French. So "moen" may indicate "moi" in a nasal pronunciation.

Here is my slightly improved version of that MIDI file. I added chords of my own choice, but Belasco's original accompaniment would be preferable. Please post any corrections here.

X:1
T:L'Ann\'ee Pass\'ee
C:Massie Patterson, Lionel Belasco
L:1/8
M:2/4
K:C
"C"E G G1/2 A1/2 E | G G1/2 A3/2 z| E G G1/2 A E1/2 | "G"G G1/2 _G1/2 "G7"F z| \ % 4
w:L'an-n\'ee pas-s\'ee moen t\'e yon fille, Moen t\'e yon fille L'en caille ma-ma moen
D F F1/2 =G E1/2 | F F1/2 G3/2 z| D F F1/2 G D1/2 | "C"F1/2 E C3/2z| \ % 8
w:L'an-n\'ee ce-la moen c'est yon femme Moen c'est un' femme a sur la rue
z1/2C C1/2 E G | E1/2 C3/2 G1/2 E3/2| z1/2C E1/2 E G | "G7"F1/2 D G1/2 F2| \ % 12
w:Femme la se-cou\'e corps moen k\'e baou Femme la se-cou\'e corps moen k\'e baou
z1/2D D1/2 F G | "G#dim"F1/2 D G1/2 "Dm/A"F1/2 D G1/2 | "Gm7/Bb"F1/2 D G1/2 "G/B"F D | \ % 15
w:Femme la se-cou\'e corps moen k\'e baou Moen k\'e baou, Moen k\'e baou Tout
"C"F1/2 E C3/2 z| E G1/2 G1/2 A E | G A A z| E G A E | "G"G _G F z| \ % 20
w:\,ca qui doux. Temps Mar-ti-nique t\'e pris du f\'e Yo te cher-ch\'e Man o' Wa'
"F/A"C F "G7/B"=G D | "C"F E1/2 "C#dim"G3/2 z| "Dm7"D F "G7"G D | "C"F1/2 E C3/2|] % 24
w:Pour sau-v\'e ces Mart-ni-quens Pour me-n\'e yo Port d'Es-pagne

Again, this ABC code can be entered at http://www.folkinfo.org/songs/abcconvert.php.

Q, I agree that the three threads should be merged, but then the title should include both song titles. I think each of the songs has its distinct raison d'être, no matter what the lawyers said.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 02:02 PM

After posting, I had second thoughts about merging threads. Two very different lyrics using the same melody.

I dug out Nizer's book, and will post his comments on Soye later. When I posted on the case for plagiarism in the other thread, I was interested in that aspect, and comments on background didn't register in my one-track mind. Belasco did mention the story to Nizer and others.
Dunno why Martinique is mentioned in the song.

The song is listed on the cd "Calypso Calaloo: Early Carnival Music in Trinidad," 1994 (2008), Patrick Jones. Rounder label. "Supplement to the book of the same name or can be purchased separately."
The album includes two other songs by Belasco, Lord Invader's "Rum and Coca Cola," - 16 tracks in all.
The cd is in stock several places, but the book is in the rare, expensive category.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 10:41 PM

Quoting from Louis Nizer, My Life in Court, "The Case of the Plagiarized Song "Rum and Coca Cola."

Court testimony of Lionel Belasco, extract:
Question by Nizer-
"Do you recall any special incident with respect to the composition of the lyrics of the music?"
Answer by Belasco-
"I do."
Q. "What is it?"
A. "The song was written around a certain happening in Trinidad. There is a small town, and any little happening around there is quite an incident, quite a happening, I should say. And there was a girl of a family, a very prominent family whose daughter had gone to the Convent, and she ran away from her home with a ne'er-do-well, just a common man in the street, people in entirely different social standings; and she lived with this man for quite a little time, and after he put her out on the street, as we say, a streetwalker. She became a streetwalker. Naturally, in a small community that is sensational, and that was really how the song was written. I wrote it around that happening."
Q. "Did you know that family?"
A. "Yes."
Q. "What was the name?"
A. "Soye. The girl's name was Mathilda."
Q. "Did you write the words in English?"
A. "No, in patois. ........."

I put in the following to note a word change in the song.

A witness was James Francis Minerve, a boyhood friend of Belasco, born in Trinidad, came to New York, studied physiotherapy, and was chief technician of the physiotherapy department of the New York City Department of Hospitals.
He said he learned the music and the words in 1906.
Q. "....... Did you sing it in the French patois?"
---
[Witness sings in the French patois]
Q. "You sang the word 'jal' instead of 'femme'."
A. "Yes."
Q. "What does "jal" mean?"
A. ""Jal" means a streetwalker."
He was asked how the change came about in the song. He said he didn't know, he had nothing to do with the translation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 12:40 AM

Thanks, Q. So how would I find out what happened to the girl? And how would I find out how to pronounce the words in order to sing the song? As far as I know there are no renditions of this song on YouTube and I would love to sing it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 01:08 AM

Maybe her family came from Martinique as immigrants? Was there immigration between Trinidad and Martinique in the 1900s? Are there Trinidadian newspaper articles about the story, maybe even from local newspapers from the town the incident happened in?
Note: I also found a book called "Folk songs of the Caribbean" on Google Books while looking for information on Martinican folk songs. Maybe there are some songs from Martinique in it- even this one, that is if it really is a traditional song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 01:59 AM

Grishka, about the pronunciation, do you mean that if the words are read as standard French, the pronunciation would be the same as standard French? If so, then my approach (to try and sing it as though it was standard French, as I learnt French in school until the year before last, when I dropped it) would be probably correct.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 03:01 AM

I have "Folk songs of the Caribbean" (1958), I'd checked and it's why I hadn't post: it's not there. In it there are 9 songs from Mexico, 1 from Guatemala, 1 from El Salvador, 1 from Honduras, 1 from Nicaragua, 2 from Costa Rica, 1 from Panama, 1 from the Bahamas, 1 from Cuba, 15 from Jamaica, 2 from Haiti, 1 from Porto Rico, 2 from the Virgin Island, 1 from Guadeloupe, 3 from Martinique, 1 from Barbados, 7 from Trinidad and 2 from Venezuela.
At the end of the book there's a pronunciation aid and they mention "This is not a definitive Creole pronunciation guide" but all in all it says how to pronounce French.
Morwen, would this help and do you know any French at all?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 04:25 AM

Hi, Monique, yes, I do know some French (enough for a seventeen-year-old who dropped French as a school subject three years ago).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 04:37 AM

So you know enough to know how French is pronounced and don't need any English-like transcription of the song which wouldn't be totally accurate anyway since there're no nasal vowels in English. So the pdf should fit, shouldn't it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:02 AM

Yeah. I'm just wondering, according to Grishka's post, the words are spelled to produce a correct pronunciation when read as though they were standard French. Does this mean that the words should be pronounced in a way similar to standard French?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:27 AM

Morwen (01:59 AM), yes, that's my idea, based on guesswork only. Monique is our authority on all matters Gallo-Roman. In the PDF found by her, another document is mentioned which makes interesting reading as well.

There are many Mudcat threads about publicly singing in a language variant not ones own. The performance will inevitably bear big quotation marks, which must be used creatively. In your case, you may try to act a naive girl who enjoys suddenly being admired by men. Make sure that your hip movements are suggestive of Carribean dances - watch them on YouTube. If you happen to be fair and freckled, the comic effect will be all the greater.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:41 AM

I happen to be a Chinese girl with olive skin.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:44 AM

So from me, it would come off as a lament like "House of the Rising Sun", but from a white girl it would come off as an exotic foreign language tune.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:51 AM

Yes, except for "moen" pronounced as standard Fr. "moin" (as in "moins", "témoin") as Grishka said, and "pour sauvéces Mart'niquens" in the last verse (IMO there's a space between "sauvé" and "ces", Q, could you please check?) where the last "quens" should be pronounced the same way as in "américain" but normally it's spelled "martiniquais" everywhere and should be pronounced the same way as in standard French, i.e. with an open è.
Have a look here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zE5WcUxOfk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAEerhubJO4&feature=related


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:53 AM

My last post was a response to Morwen's 05:02 AM post


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 05:57 AM

Grishka, please... me being Mudcat's authority in Gallo-Romance stuff... j'ai déjà des problèmes les chevilles qui enflent physiquement, il ne faudrait pas qu'elles se mettent à enfler davantage...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 08:00 AM

Monique, sorry if you feel burdened, but it is your own fault, "virtually".

Sauvé ces is my guess as well, and I took the liberty to correct it in my above ABC rendering. Morwen, may I ask you to check your printed version, also whether the note on Pour preceding sauvé really is a C – the more logical note would be D.

As for "race", the only relevant question is whether you look Caribbean or not - no matter whether white or grey elf. There is however an aspect of gender and cultural attitude towards erotism. If you sing that song (written by a man), you had better take the lyrics for face value, i.e. the girl being proud of her attractivity. The best actresses can play such a character credibly and critically at the same time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 09:02 AM

Grishka, I don't feel burnened at all, it's just that I don't feel being such an authority -hence the chevilles-qui-enflent comment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 12:56 PM

Get the cd, "Calypso Calaloo," available from Amazon and others, which has the song sung in French patois. That should answer your request for pronunciation of the words in the song.

Some of the speculation about the origin if Soye, and inclusion of lines about Martinique and the fire there, might be answered in the book by Maurice Baron- which I can't find. Mr Baron is best known for his opera, Villon, as well as many compositions, both classical and calypso. He transcribed the songs by Massie Patterson and Lionel Belasco in "Calypso Songs of the West Indies.

On the orher hand, knowledge about this particular girl is not necessary to an understanding of the song's intent.

Martinique- more speculation - possibly brought in by the singer, Massie Patterson?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 02:31 PM

Monique, I am glad to read that. As you know, French is one of the languages of my background, and although it has become somewhat rusty, I still remember about the chevilles ("tirer une fierté exagérée d'un succès"). Still, success can be a burden, and even more so the burning desire to be always right and of superior knowledge, raising expectations accordingly. You are not affected, but some 'catters are.

Q, Maurice Baron seems to have arranged the songs rather than transcribed, so that we cannot hope to get the real thing from him.

Somewhere we read that the tune is based on a song from Martinique, so the most natural speculation would be that the last two lines are from the previous layer, shining through the new paint. The singer may have replaced them when her memory of the new verses slipped. But perhaps there is an accidental (?) symbolism involved, the fire representing the freshly ignited sexuality from which it is best to flee.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Apr 11 - 06:55 PM

Maurice Baron says his renderings of the songs by Patterson and Belasco are "free transcriptions." The English translation of the patois is by Olga Paul. Baron, a childhood friend of the composer, is unlikely to have strayed too far from the Belasco compositions- in any case, it is the only source that we have for "L'Annee passee."

French patois, Creole, in the Caribbean, learned by Lafcadio Hearn when he lived in Martinique-Guadeloupe, was said by him to vary across the Lesser Antilles, there also is a variety even less close to French which he called "Negro-French." This was back in the 1880s and I would suspect even more variance today.
Those islands which came under British rule, or received immigrants from islands which remained French, would have speech that in part has developed its own characteristics, at the least the inflections are different. Spanish and African elements are present.
I have no idea of Caribbean patois usage; parroting what I 'hear' in recordings would be the extent of my knowledge. The following may be of help, but I haven't seen it:

Dictionary- see Sylviane Telchid, Dictionaire du français régional des Antilles: Editions Bonneton, 1997.
Perhaps Monique is aware of this or other Antillean dictionaries.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 01:52 AM

Q- Bonneton Editions released some such dictionaries concerning regional French -they specialize in local speech/dialects, but regional French isn't Creole, it's French with frenchified words coming from the local substrate -even in this specific case the local substrate is a French Créole (Nothing is lost, nothing is created...)
Dictionnaire Martiniquais-Français, Raphaël Confiant, Éditions Ibis Rouge, 2007, with a first online version up to M -they stopped there because an extended paper version was then made available and they needed the paper dictionary pay for itself.
Lexilogos has some links to online material in French concerning creoles.
You can find more material by typing "dictionnaire créole martiniquais but it'll be French stuff.
Websters online dictionary English-Martinique Creole.

I think I already said it in another thread but in mainland France we tend to avoid the word "patois" because of its historical background. The word came to mean any language that wasn't standard French on the French territory -mainland and overseas. They were supposed not to be languages at all, just some peasants' lingos. They were ruthlessly fought -and still are even if in more subtle ways whatever the official position may be.
And just for the fun of it, I'll explain what Grishka and I talked about. I told him that I already had issues with my ankles swelling physically and I didn't want them to swell any more than that: in French when we are/become big-headed, we say it more or less the same way as in English (word for word we say we "have the big head" -"a big head" would mean our physical head) but we also say that we have swelling ankles. Et voilà!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 02:29 AM

I came across a French site presenting an online Creole course by a college teacher. First, the link just above the first table opens to an English translation of some chapters of the course (2006). Then, if you scroll down to the third table, you'll see "dictionnaires" on the right column: she gives references for dictionaries of all the French Creoles.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 02:32 AM

Thanks everyone! That's interesting- the theory that the lines about Martinique and a fire come from the original song. I'm thinking that since a lot of collected folk song books contain the melodies of the songs collected, if Monique or another French speaker on this forum who is familiar with French or French Caribbean folk songs, has a book of songs, one of them might just contain a Martinican song which shares this same melody and says something about a fire. Q, do you happen to know when this claim about a similar song from Martinique first appeared? Did Belasco make the claim himself? A book which I found on Google Books, "Carnival: Culture In Action", a collection of essays analysing how Trinidadian culture is reflected in carnival, says that "L'Annee Passee" came from Martinique and was a folk melody. On the "Rum and Coca-Cola" thread, I seem to remember a post (does anyone remember who wrote it?) which also hypothesises that "it is possible that "L'Annee Passee" was a folk song adapted by Belasco" (perhaps updated to fit with the Mathilda Soye case?). This would seem to fit with the theory that Belasco used a Martinican original for his composition, and that the song was a folk melody.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 06:09 AM

The only book I have is "Folk Songs of the Caribbean", there's a song about a fire ("Martinique Has Burnt" / "Martinique brulée") English translation by Olga Paul, Copyright 1943 by M. Baron Co, NY. It's about the volcanic eruption of the Mont Pelé in 1902 and the tune is quite different. The few songs from there in a couple of books I have are traditional songs that can be found everywhere.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr. Add: Loéma Tombé (Martinique)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 01:57 PM

M. Baron Co. was the publishing company of Maurice Baron, the same Baron who was a boyhood friend of Lionel Belasco and published L'Année passée and other songs by Massie Ferguson and Lionel Belasco in Calypso Songs of the West Indies."

MorwenE., I have no idea where the Martinique connection for the song came from, except its mention in the song.

Here is a song Lafcadio Hearn collected in Martinique. He gave the musical score, if you would like it, send a pm to me. The book is not common.

Lyr. Add: Loéma Tombé
(Creole words)

Cé ti mamanmaile-lè:
Zautt tée bô-la-ri-vié,
Ou'a di moin comm'ça:
Si ouè Loéma tombé:

Ou'a di moin comm'ça: (Ref. continued ad lib.)

(growing more and more rapid.)
Loéma tombé:
Ou'a di moin comm'ça:
Loéma tombé:
Ou'a di moin comm'ça:
Loéma tombé

English, with description.
Carnival season in St. Pierre- while the devil makes his nightly rounds followed by many hundred boys clapping hands and leaping in chorus. It may also be observed in the popular malicious custom of the pillard, or in creole, piyà.
(further description)

(single voice)
You little children there! you who were by the river-side!

Tell me truly this:- Did you see Loéma fall?
Tell me truly this-
(Chorus, opening) Did you see Loéma fall?
(Single voice) Tell me truly this-
(Chorus) Did you see Loéma fall?
(Single voice, more rapidly) Tell me truly this-
(Chorus, more quickly) Loéma fall!
(Single voice) Tell me truly this-
(Chorus) Loéma fall!
(Single voice) Tell me truly this-

(Chorus,always more quickly, and more loudly, all the hands clapping together like a fire of musketry) Loéma fall! etc.

"The same rhythmic element characterizes many of the games and round dances of Martinique children;- but, as a rule, I think it is perceptible that the sense of time is less developed in the colored children than in the black."

Lafcadio Hearn, 1890, Two Years in the French West Indies, Appendix. Harper & Brothers, New York.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 01:59 PM

Forgot to close italic, but I think it is all understandable.


Fixed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 02:48 PM

Q's book can be read online -this is the link to the score page.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 04:21 PM

Thanks, Monique. It looks like a clear, readable copy.
The text is worth reading- Hearn was a good descriptive writer. He includes verses from Creole songs from chapter "La Guiablesse" on.
A few more he collected may be reproduced in Krebiel's book; a quick flip through showed Loéma tombé reproduced there.
H. E. Krebiel, 1913 (reprints), Afro-American Folk-Songs.

Digression-
Creole, in the American Webster's Collegiate is defined as 1. A person of European descent born esp. in the West Indies or Spanish America. 2. A white person descended from early French or Spanish settlers of the U. S. Gulf states and preserving their speech and culture. 3. a person of mixed French or Spanish and black descent speaking a dialect of .... 4. A language derived from pidginized French that is spoken by blacks in southern Louisiana.
That is a very large package.

Monique, 'Creole' has some 'baggage' attached in the southern states; a descendant from the French and/or Spanish in Louisiana will insist that it only applies to those of 'white' blood, while elsewhere it also is applied to mixed race peoples. (Cajun applies only to Acadian immigrants).

In parts of the Antilles, the mix spoken includes Spanish, French, English and African elements- Creole may be an overall term, but the creole of Trinidad and some other of the Antillean group with all of these seems to call for modifiers, e. g., St. Kitts creole, if the term St. Kitts patois is rejected.
I don't know how to use the term satisfactorily.

Patois seems to have bad connotations to the French, but in the American Webster's Collegiate, its first definition is a. "a dialect other than the standard or literary dialect", b. uneducated or provincial speech, and 2. the characteristic special language of an occupational or social group.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 05:11 PM

So, Q, you have no idea who the person was who claimed that "L'Annee Passee" was a Martinican folk song?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 06:16 PM

I have seen the claim made in a couple of online writeups about R&CC, but no evidence presented. My own guess is that it is speculation based on the line in the song itself. Can't help.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 09:34 PM

I found this link: http://berdina.tripod.com/rumandcocacola.htm. It mentions Mathilda Soye, but nothing about a Martinican source.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Apr 11 - 09:45 PM

In reply to Grishka's post, is this song meant to be a lament of the fallen woman in the style of "House of the Rising Sun" or the boast of a young teenage girl forced to grow up too soon who is proud of her attractiveness?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 01:02 AM

And also, it is very strange that most of the sites which mention Mathilda Soye mention only a few things:
a) the incident happened in 1906. No date - no mention even of the month
b) she was from a prominent family
c) she went to school at a convent
d) she fell in love with "a common fellow in the street" - class differences in the relationship.

e) she became a streetwalker in Port of Spain, apparently forced there by the man she ran off with.
Is there no documentation other than Belasco's testimony in 1945 for the incident? How well did Belasco know Mathilda? He apparently knew the family, so he must have known her too and the story (according to him) spread around the small town because of its sensational details. There were no newspapers in 1906 Trinidad, but is it possible that there were other records which would have mentioned this incident?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 07:21 AM

Morwen, here is a literal translation of the lyrics as I understand them (Monique, please correct), not really different from Olga Paul's:
Last year I was a little girl,
I was a little girl who went with my mother,
This year I am a young woman
I am a young woman on the street.

As a woman, I shake my body so beautifully,
As a woman, I shake my body so beautifully,
As a woman, I shake so beautifully,
I am so beautiful, I am so beautiful,
All that how sweet.

At the time when Martinique was on fire
They looked for a man-of-war (= battle ship)
To save those Martiniquans,
To take them to Port-of-Spain.
Make your own conclusions, but don't mix the song with the story. That testimony was meant to support the charge of plagiarism and therefore emphasised the prostitution aspect.

Force vs. pride: Many slaves were proud when they had picked most cotton, whereas dictators and billionaires can become depressed about being forced to employ stupid personnel.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 07:31 AM

So, Grishka, in the song, what was the girl doing if she was not a streetwalker? "A young woman out on the street" - suggestive of independence, perhaps? The translation by Olga Paul says "Living with my dear mother at home". The version you have certainly suggests that the girl is proud of "being on the street" and regards herself as attractive. I'll try to keep that in mind when I sing it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 10:02 AM

I'd say that "Femme la secoué corps moen ké baou" means that she shakes her beautiful body, word for word: woman the/this shakes body mine that's beautiful = this woman (herself = "as a woman" as Grishka put it) shakes (= I shake) my body that's beautiful. IMO beauty is about her body and not the way she moves it but I may be wrong.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 01:33 PM

Monique, your interpretation may well be preferable. Another one would be "A woman shakes her body; I am beautiful." Never mind, the general idea is the same. Olga Paul's lyrics are meant to scan to the melody, so she invented the "dear".

So what is girl doing? She shakes her body on the street, finds herself beautiful and the whole situation sweet (doux). We read nothing about men offering rum and cola or anything else, we just imagine that. And certainly the girl is not (yet) complaining or wishing she was in her mother's custody again.

Keep in mind that the author was a man; he may have described an erotic fantasy rather than reality. Such fantasies have a long tradition, particularly in French literature and in folklore of African influence.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 04:52 PM

Myriad conjectures possible. Why not simply accept the song as written ?

Shake?
(I wish I could shimmy like my sister Kate. On the street? Just busking, officer.)

Rum and Coca Cola? Did Trinidadians drink this mix in c. 1906 or prefer it on the rocks or with branch water or -?

Baou? There is a hotel Hotel du baou, = House of the Rising Sun? One would have to go to Nice, however. Or Marseilles, Baou rond (no, unthinkable!)

A Haitian, in Texas, not Martinique ?
Bon voyaj Texas, le ou kandida pou yon post Texas ma baou sipo mwen.
(Copied from the net, no idea what it means).

etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 29 Apr 11 - 05:05 PM

Where does the Texas stuff come from?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Sep 11 - 06:43 PM

BTW, this is slightly off-topic, but I've recently been listening to the Beatles song "She's Leaving Home", which is also based on a
true story about a teenage runaway, and as I listened to it I thought of this song. Even though one is first the girls in both songs are freer away from home than they are at home. I think that in a way, "L'Annee Passee" can be seen as a Creole take on the theme of "She's Leaving Home."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Sep 11 - 06:50 PM

Edit: "Even though one is first *person* and the other is third person, and even though this song was written a long time before the Beatles. There are obviously other old songs that explore the same themes as modern songs, and this obviously proves that some issues are timeless.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 03:42 AM

Refresh. Can anyone list other songs about runaway teenage girls?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 03:03 PM

Try American country music songs. Should be some there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 03:28 PM

Dion, "Runaway Girl," lyrics at several sites on the net.
Ward, "Runaway Girl," song on youtube.
Kenny Rogers, "Runaway Girl," lyrics on net.

Everybody and their pet possum has written one.

Also go through some of the old stuff at the Bodleian collection. Can't name any off hand, but this has been a subject for centuries.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: GUEST,Kevin Burke
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 01:10 PM

On May 6rh, 1947 Lord Executor (Philip Garcia) testified under oath, in a deposition given at the U.S. consulate in Port of Spain, that he first heard the song as a boy growing up in Port of Spain in the 1890's

His exact words: "I have known this melody since about the year 1893 when I was a little boy living in Henry Street. It was a popular song of that period."

Later that year Lord Executor (who was not there to defend himself) was vilified in a New York City courtroom by the Trinidadian band leader Lionel Belasco. ("He is the lowest type of character we have in Trinidad".)

In maligning Lord Executor, one of the greatest and most influential calypsonians of all time, Belasco insured that his words will forever live in infamy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 03:48 PM

The Court agreed that Philip Garcia was mentally incapable at the time he gave his statement, and that it was without substance. Belasco was supported by well-known and reliable witnesses, as noted in previous posts, and in the book by Nizer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 09:35 PM

So, if that wasn't the tune to this song that Lord Executor heard, what exactly did he hear in 1893?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 03:18 PM

Who knows what he heard, if anything. He was mentally incompetent at the time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 04:31 PM

The deposition of Lord Executor is one of the fascinating footnotes in the story of the "Rum and Coca-Cola" litigation and it has never gotten the attention it deserves. I will try to correct this lapse in the near future. I have a copy of the deposition, including the unusual addendum, and I will post it on my site: www.rumandcocacolareader.com
A reading of the document does not support the claim that Executor was mentally incompetent when he was deposed in Port of Spain by U.S. Vice-Consul Courtland Christiani in March of 1947.
Here is the background: In the fall of 1946 the defendants in the "Baron vs. Feist" civil action contacted the leading law firm in Trinidad (or at least one of the leading law firms) in order to bolster their claim that the song "L'Année Passée" was based on a public domain melody.
The law firm was the J.D. Sellier and Co. and it is still in existence today. The man who handled the arrangements between Feist (the defendant) and Sellier was known in the documents only as "Mr. Power". Power elected to depose three Trinidadians who had knowledge of calypso which might shed some light on the matter: Harry Pitts, who had co-authored the 1944 book, Land of the Calypso; Henry McDonnell Carpenter, a classically trained musician who at that time was the music critic of the Kingston, Jamaica Gleaner; and Lord Executor. Of the three, Executor (real name Philip Garcia) was potentially the most damaging to the plaintiff because of his age. He was born in the mid-1880's and was in a position to claim personal knowledge of the melody before Lionel Belasco said he composed it in 1906.
It is hard to imagine that the lawyer(s) in Port of Spain would choose to depose someone whose mental competency was suspect. Also, Executor was the doyen of calypso at the time - his reputation for erudition was unsurpassed. On the other hand it appears that he had fallen on hard times and had lost his eyesight.
Executor was probably paid for his time, because his deposition covered two days, the 28th and 29th of March, and he had to answer two sets of interrogatories, one put together by the defense and one by the plaintiff. Executor's answers were all short and to the point.

His bombshell moment came in answer to interrogatory fourteen which was about when he first heard the melody, "L'Année Passée": "I have known this melody since about 1893 when I was a little boy living in Henry Street. It was a popular song of that period."

Unfortunately there was no follow-up question, which is of course one of the weaknesses of the deposition format. One would have wanted to hear exactly what words Executor heard and what he meant by the term "song" as opposed to the term "melody".

Executor did not have a chance to see or study the interrogatories in advance and one of the cross-interrogatories (the fourth) took him by surprise: "If you have composed calypso music, set forth the melodies of your calypso compositions, or - if you have composed more than five - set forth the melodies of at least five of them, and also state the title and the date of composition of each. If you are unable to write music, so state, and please sing the said melodies to someone who can and will write them down."

A tall order, you could say! To this question, Executor replied: "I am not prepared to give the words and melodies of my songs."

But Executor didn't give up. He took his scholarship and his authorship seriously. About six weeks later (this was on May 6th) he returned to the consulate and brought with him a trained musician by the name of George Johnson who lived at #19B Belmont Valley Road in Port of Spain. (Executor also lived in Belmont.) With the honourable Mr. Christiani in attendance he sang two of his songs, "The Donkey in Belle Eau Road" (1928) and "The Talk About Nora's Badness" (1939) and Mr. Johnson wrote down the melody as he sang. The transcription and a sworn statement from Mr. Johnson were submitted as an addendum to the deposition.

The above episode does not indicate (to me at least) the behavior of a man who was mentally incompetent.

Executor's simple statement about hearing the melody of "L'Année Passée" in 1893 would have invalidated, if believed, the incredibly elaborate case put together for the plaintiff by the famed Louis Nizer. Therefore the witnesses on the other side, like Belasco and Gerald Clark, mounted an all-out assault on Executor's character and credibility. In New York City, without Executor there to defend himself, they could get away with it. They would never have been able to to that in Trinidad.

Even so, Judge Rifkind never said in his opinion that he doubted Executor's mental capacity. He simply chose not to believe him. He put it this way: "Garcia's reputation was impeached by some of plaintiff's witnesses."

This process is part of almost all civil litigation. Both sides are lying and exaggerating and the judge has to pick someone to believe. And the judge cannot be overruled on this score.

Once again I will post Executor's deposition on my website as soon as I get a chance.

Yours truly,
Kevin Burke, Cambridge, Massachusetts
kburke9@mac.com


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 05:47 PM

The date of 1905 for the Soye incident was attested to by three witnesses who knew Lionel Belasco in 1906.
Gerald Clark, who knew Belasco in Trinidad in 1904. Abundantly recorded from 1914, came to U.S., attended Howard University, played Carnegie Hall. Said he heard the song L'Annee Passee in 1906 from Belasco.
Dr. Walter Merick, licensed physician in New York, director of Physical Medicine, Harlem Hospital, composer (Mango Man. opera Black Empire) and lecturer on calypso. Learned L'Annee Passee from Blasco in 1906 in Trinidad as a child who imitated Belasco's style.
James Francis Minerve, born in Trinidad, knew Belasco in 1906, later in U. S. chief technician of Dept. Physiotherapy, Dept. Hospitals, City of New York.

This establishes Belasco's claim to have composed L'Annee Passee beyond reasonable question.

The next point is Philip Garcia's claim to have heard the melody in 1893, and made by deposition, which was received by the Court.
No witnesses or supporting information have ever been found.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: GUEST,lord exposure
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 08:51 PM

Did Lord Executor ever find out that he had been slandered in a New York City courtroom in 1947 by his own countrymen?

Well, I hope not. It was a terrible thing.

It brings tears to my eyes when I read the words to one of his late songs:

"The technical beauty of my elaborate praise
Will be mentioned by generations for many days,
I, Executor, Calypso King,
Now at this very moment I was called to sing.
What I've done for all mankind
Must be remembered as I'm getting blind.
So come and hear the story of my fatal misfortune
In this colony . . ."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 01:23 PM

Gerald Clark and Dr. Walter Merrick, before coming to the U. S. for educational and professional advancement, were well-known early calypsoans, along with Lionel Belasco. All are men of standing in their professions.

A number of Belasco's recordings from the 1920s-1930s are available on cd, but only 2-3 each of the many early recordings made by Gerald Clark have been re-issued on cd; one or two by Merrick's Band can be found on Rounder, but other than that their efforts are found only on old 45s and possibly lps.

Clark and Merrick did not slander Lord Executor, they presented their knowledge of the work of Lionel Belasco.

Philip Garcia's claim "to have heard the melody in 1893", as noted previously, has never been verified by evidence, it is only anecdotal and therefore would have no currency in any court of law.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:35 AM

Added to Kevin Burke's mention of Lord Executor's having lost his eyesight- he went completely blind sometime in the 1950s and apparently stopped singing after that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Apr 16 - 08:52 AM

Q,

I'm interested in the musical score of "Léoma Tombé", but I didn't find out the way to send you a private message. Here is my email address: jlespi[at]free.fr I would be pleased if you can mail it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: L'Annee Passee (Belasco)
From: Monique
Date: 08 Apr 16 - 09:13 AM

Guest, Q passed away on Dec.8th 2014.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 February 3:20 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.