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Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda

GUEST,Bob Coltman 23 Dec 11 - 11:07 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Dec 11 - 04:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Dec 11 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 28 Dec 11 - 10:55 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Dec 11 - 03:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Dec 11 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,999 28 Dec 11 - 03:53 PM
Art Thieme 28 Dec 11 - 08:24 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 29 Dec 11 - 03:33 PM
Azizi 30 Dec 11 - 04:56 PM
Azizi 30 Dec 11 - 04:59 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 Dec 11 - 09:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Dec 11 - 03:03 PM
Azizi 31 Dec 11 - 03:52 PM
Azizi 31 Dec 11 - 03:54 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 31 Dec 11 - 09:21 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 31 Dec 11 - 09:25 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 31 Dec 11 - 09:26 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 31 Dec 11 - 09:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Jan 12 - 02:59 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 02 Jan 12 - 04:44 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jan 12 - 01:00 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 03 Jan 12 - 02:37 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 23 Dec 11 - 11:07 AM

Can anyone furnish the Harry Belafonte lyrics to "Wheel, oh, Matilda?" Surprisingly I have been unable to find the lyrics to this once hit song anywhere on the web.

-- Bob

Disambiguation: this is *not* "Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela." That more popular Matilda song evidently swamped this one. It seems a very rare song, found in only two places by the best web source, Martha Warren Beckwith and Helen Heffron Roberts' Folk-games of Jamaica, p. 64, at Google Books.

Turn the Water-wheel, oh, Matilda

a. (from Christiana)

Matilda mammy los' him gol' ring,
Turn de wateh-wheel, oh, Matilda,
Turn de wateh-wheel, turn it, make me see you,
Turn de wateh-wheel, oh, Matilda,

Cho:
Wheel, oh, wheel, oh, Matilda,
Turn de wateh-wheel, oh, Matilda.

b. (from Bethlehem)

Matilda, your mama lost her gold ring,
Turn the water-wheel, oh, Matilda,
Wheel-o, wheel-o, Matilda,
Turn the water-wheel, oh, Matilda.

Matilda your mama find her gold ring,
Turn the water-wheel, oh, Matilda, etc.

The above source also gives directions for the circle dance used with this song.

Belafonte's version furnished additional verses, if I remember correctly, perhaps written by his longtime collaborator, Irving Burgie (who himself recorded as Lord Burgess)—there's an interesting interview with Burgie here:

http://duboiscentergb.org/Archives/2007/Burgie02-02-07.pdf

The only version in the DT is what seems a fairly traditional version, quoted in the Jamaican songs thread:

Wheel O' Matilda

From Noel Dexter, Godfrey Taylor, Mango Time: Folk Songs of Jamaica. Musical score on p122.

Matilda laas ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Matilda laas ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Matilda laas ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Tun di waata-wheel, O Matilda.

Cho:        Wheel O, wheel O Matilda,
        Tun di waata-wheel, O Matilda.

Matilda fine ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Matilda fine ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Matilda fine ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Tun di waata-wheel, O Matilda.

Matilda walk an' yanga so-so,
Matilda walk an' yanga so-so,
Matilda walk an' yanga-so-so,
Tun di waata-wheel, O Matilda.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 04:03 PM

Wheel, Oh, according to Olive Lewin, is a Jonkunnu song in which the leader improvises various lines on the current topicalities, after each of which the procession replies in chorus "Wheel Oh, wheel oh."

She provides only brief lyrics-

Wheel oh wheel oh
what a bodderation.

Refrain-
Wheel oh wheel oh-

Me walk a de path an' me walk a de road oh,
Me walk a de path an' me walk a de road oh.

Refrain-
Wheel oh wheel oh

Score, 4/4, pp. 104-105
Olive Lewin, 1973, Forty Folk Songs of Jamaica, General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, Washington, D.C.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Dec 11 - 04:26 PM

Turn the Water Wheel, a 'Jamaican Folk Song' sung by the Carifolk Singers, on youtube.com
www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5DjsYTXcsl

A seemingly related song is sung by Jimmy Dean. Perhaps unrelated to "Wheel, Oh."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 10:55 AM

Thanks, Q, I appreciate the references.

I begin to be uncertain whether Belafonte ever did record this. I have a distinct memory of hearing him sing it in the 1950s, on record, but I could be mistaken—a checklist of his recorded songs seems not to have it under any conceivable title.

The question then is, if I didn't hear it from him, who was the source? I would have thought the distinctive pop-calypso arrangement I heard could have come from no one else, and in those days I hadn't heard much other calypso.

I'd love to identify that pop record, its singer, and its lyrics. Any non-Belafonte thoughts?

Best, Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 03:19 PM

Tried allmusic.com and came up with Eugene Grey, on album called "Diversity," two discs of reissue, track 5, disc 1, "Wheel O Matilda." Listed as traditional. The notes say lyrics included.
Dunno when these were first recorded.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 03:31 PM

Eugene Grey on youtube, can't hear lyrics, but doubt that he is the one you heard.
Seems odd that more can't be found, since Lewin said that the song was used as a base for topical singing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: GUEST,999
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 03:53 PM

Found this on Youtube. I cannot make out any lyrics to speak of.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=bjzNkfJOJKc


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 08:24 PM

BOB GIBS0N AT CARNEGIE HALL-- an LP on Riverside Records--was actually the Carnegie Recital Hall.



Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 29 Dec 11 - 03:33 PM

Yes, I have tried to hear lyrics of three different Jamaican dance groups on YouTube; sound is too bad to make out more than a few lyrics, but those lyrics I can understand seem not to differ from those given above.

Art, that's a great suggestion. I never heard Bob Gibson's Carnegie Hall LP, but I did hear other records by him at an early stage—also met him at an LA nightclub (the Ash Grove I think) in 1959 and heard him sing there. Perhaps he did sing Wheel Oh Matilda. Still I don't associate the song with his sound at all, and I was pretty familiar with Gibson's work at that time.

My memory of the "Wheel O Matilda" I heard definitely was not solo, and had no banjo. It had that Belafonte pop-calypso sound, male singer backed by a rhythm group and backup singers. I particularly remember the singer doing a long high sequence of "Matil-da, Matil-da, Matil-da, Matil-da" over the backup singers' " wheel-O Matilda, etc." which was kind of annoying, but instantly memorable.

I'm now wondering if there's a chance it could have been Belafonte after all. I never heard him live or on radio, so it would have had to be on record. Could that song list of his be incomplete? Or could this song appear under a totally different title?

That's as far as I've been able to get with my thoughts on this. Just one of those partial memories from too many years ago that bug you and won't resolve, I guess.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 04:56 PM

Greetings, Bob.

Here's some information about the meaning of the word "yanga" that is found in this verse of the song "Wheel, Oh, Matilda" (that you posted above on December 23, 2011 from Noel Dexter, Godfrey Taylor, "Mango Time: Folk Songs of Jamaica". Musical score on p 122.)

Matilda walk an' yanga so-so,
Matilda walk an' yanga so-so,
Matilda walk an' yanga-so-so,
Tun di waata-wheel, O Matilda.

-snip-

The word "nyanga" or "yanga" is found in a number of African languages. Yanga is used as names for provinces, rivers, mountains, in Gabon, Congo, and South Africa. "Yanga African Sport Club" is the name of the club which has won more Tanzanian Premier League titles since 1968 up to now and "Yanga" is the name for panpipe orchestra music in Mozambique. Also, Gaspar Yanga—often simply Yanga or Nyanga—was a leader of a slave rebellion in Mexico during the early period of Spanish colonial rule. [see Wikipedia]

However, I think that the Jamaican word "yanga" had its source in the Nigerian pidgin word "nyanga". The "yanga" form of that word is still used in Nigerian pidgin today. Two "contemporary" examples are Fela Kuti's record "Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am" and a Nigerian Hip-Hop tune by a group called Outrageous entitled "Yanga".

The meaning of "yanga" in that Wheel Oh Matilda song is best given by two entries in the Dictionary of Jamaican Slang:

From http://books.google.com/books?id=_lmFzFgsTZYC&pg=PA484&lpg=PA484&dq=walk+and+yanga&source=bl&ots=N7IvqnTzr8&sig=7Q3Rz0m7ygyjrxdeg1cBvTTQOPM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Nx_-Tt_XIsny0gGl8fDoDA&ved=0CD4Q6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=walk%20and%20yanga&f=false

F. G. Cassidy: Dictionary of Jamaican English Second Edition (University of West Indies Press ; 1980 ; originally published by Cambridge University Press in 1967; page 484)

Yanga – probable related to nyanga; dance about in joy; yangalala- be happy; perhaps influenced by American spelling yanga uncontrolled, carelessly done; To move (in dancing and walking) in a shaking or swaying way that is "styling" and "provocative"

1925 Beckwith 81 "Man da yawn. Man da yanga!", –"Yonga is a dance in which the body is shaken in all directions; 1943 GL Clar. "Yanga, walk, and stumble." Han "Yanga" swaying walk of women; Kgn "Yanga" a stylish way of stepping by women characterized by swinging of the arms and swaying of the head; 1950 Pioneer 41 "See yah de music sweet yuh se'! All de fowl dem start fe yanga an merange roun de room."; 1955 FGC "Man/yangga way of walking, step quite cute.

Yanga – a dance; see quotes
1925 Beckwith 81 –"Yonga is a dance in which the body is shaken in all directions"; 1963 T. Murry UWI, Yanga is a fast dance rhythm. The dancer has hands on hips and pushes pelvis and knees forward and back."

-snip-

Based on those entries and also based on the information cited in Martha Warren Beckwith and Helen Heffron Roberts' book "Folk-games of Jamaica",* p. 64, at Google Books, I would say that "yanga" in "Natilda walk an' yanga so-so" means "switch" (as in "walk provacatively"; "strut" this way (like so) [the player shows how she can walk in a sexy manner].

* "Wheel, Oh, Matilda" is a singing game song and not a dance folk song. From that Beckwith and Robert's book

"The players dance about in the ring and sing while one player looks for a bangle thrown on the ground within the circle. When she finds it she catches it up on a stick while all the others sing the second stanza."


-snip-

Also, here's more information about the word "yanga" from the fieldwork of Kenneth M Bilby among Jamaican Maroons in 1977-1978

http://memory.loc.gov/service/afc/eadxmlafc/eadpdfafc/2002/af002001.pdf

Kenneth M. Bilby Jamaica Maroon Collection
AFC 1983/008
(American Folklore Center)
Prepared by Michelle Forner
March 2002

"The audio and video recordings include examples of various "pleasure" (yanga) and "business" (nyaba) styles of dance and music.". p. 4

-snip-

This information points to the possibility that the word "yanga" (and maybe also the game song and later folk song "Wheel, Oh, Matilda") came from the Jamaican Maroons. Be that as it may, I definitely believe that "yanga" is another Jamaican word that has its source in Nigerian pidgin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Azizi
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 04:59 PM

Sorry for the font mistake. I'd appreciate it if a moderator would correct it.

Happy New Year!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 09:42 PM

I could ask some of the posters on the Jamaican forum I post on about a Belafonte version. I've certainly never heard of one. But this song appears at the end of an Anansi tale called "The Devil's Honey-Dram" collected in 1904 by Walter Jekyll in Jamaican Song and Story and I think that's where it comes from. Some stories included songs as well. The song may have become separate from the story as it was told and retold.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 03:03 PM

Have not found a Belafonte version.

I think it worthwhile to post part of the story, "Devil's Honey-Dram," cited by Morwen:

"An' Annancy went an see his son was beating [husking] corn an' he ask the woman what the boy is doing here. An' the woman tell him that this is the boy was tiefing all Devil honey-dram, an' now him catch him, an' him wouldn' let him go until the master come.
An' Annancy ask the woman if he don't have any more corn to beat.
The foolish woman say:- "Yes, Brother Annancy, but not all the corn you going to beat you won't get your son till the master come."
An' Annancy begin to fret for him know when Devil come he won't have no more son again, for Devil will kill him an' eat him.
An' the woman name is Matilda.
An' Annancy took the corn an' begin to beat and he start to sing:-

[with musical score]
Wheel oh ! Wheel oh Matilda.
Turn the water wheel oh Matilda !
Matilda mah-my los' him gold ring,
Turn the water wheel oh Matilda.

"An' the woman began to dance an' wheel. An' she dance an' dance till she get tired an' fall asleep.
An' Annancy (the clever fellow) took his son out an' light Devil house with fire.
An' when Devil in the bush look an' see his house is burning he t'row down his gun and 'tart a run to his yard.
Until he come the house burn flat to ground.
An' Devil couldn' find Matilda his faithful mother, an' Devil take to heart an' dead.
And Annancy take Devil honey-dram for himself....."

honey-dram- honey, water, chewstick, ginger and rum. When mixed the dram is put in the sun to ripen. Chewstick (Gouania domingensis is bitter and takes the place of hops.

Walter Jekyll, 1907 and reprints, Jamaican Song and Story.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 03:52 PM

MorwenEdhelwen1, thanks for the information about that book. Just a slight correction, Walter Jekyll's Jamaican Song and Story was first published in 1907, and a Dover Edition with additional introductory essays was published in 1996, and 2005. This book is wonderful, though the first introductory contains interesting but quite "dated" information about various Bantu cultures which might be used for comparison with those Anansi stories (Anansi stories are from the Akan of Ghana & The Ivory Coast who aren't a Bantu population.)

In the story "Annancy and the Honey Dram", for some reason, the devil keeps leaving his pot of honey dram (the liquour drambuie] by the river, and Annancy's song John Wee Wee (Little John)keeps stealing drinks. Annancy brings his son home, and it takes 3 days for him to sober up, but when he does, he somehow finds out where the devil lives so he can get more of that drink. The devil's mother whose name is Matilda captures John Wee Wee and forces him to "beat corn". Ananse finds the house, and asks to work alongside his son. He then tricks Matilda by playing a song that compels her to dance until she tires and falls asleep. Annancy and his son escape, and he sets the devil's house on fire. The devil sees the flames and rushes to the house to find his mother. When he doesn't find her he "takes it to heart" and dies.

The song that is included in that story is

Wheel oh! Wheel oh Matilda
Turn the water wheel oh Matilda!
Matilda mah ma los' him golden ring
Turn the water wheel oh Matilda!

-snip-

Another thing that might be of interest to Mudcat commentators/readers is that the traditional ending to all Ananse stories in this book and elsewhere is "the saying: Jack Mantora me no choose none". Alice Werner, the author of the 1907 introduction to that book hinted at the meaning of that ending. Werner writes that Jack was a principle member of the company hearing the story and that ending statement was the narrator showing good manners and letting Jack and others know that the story's lesson (object) was not intended for him or for anyone else listening then. Additional information and clarification about "Jack Mandora etc" is found on a Jamaican blog: http://zephyrbaby.blogspot.com/2009/01/who-is-jack-mandora.html. The blogger notes that linguist Frederic G. Cassidy believes the story of Jack Mandora is a "bastardized English Nursery rhyme which went something like this:

Jackanory
I'll tell you a story
And this is how it's began
I'll tell you another
Of Jack and his brother and now my story's done.'"

-snip-

That particular story might have been told to warn about the dangers of drinking but the narrarator would say the "Jack Mandora" ending for plausible deniability.

Thanks again for pointing out that book, Morwen! It's a wonderful treasure trove of Jamaican stories and songs. And by the way, I agree with you that many Jamaican folk songs-and other Caribbean and African folk songs were first part of stories. I think that the evolution went from stories to game songs to folk songs sung with dance-like movements.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Azizi
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 03:54 PM

Q, I didn't see your post before I added mine. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 09:21 PM

One of the posters mentioned Tarrus Riley. As Bob Coltman's version seems to be "pop-calypso" and not reggae, doubt it's a Tarrus Riley recording.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 09:25 PM

Correction to Bob Copltman's post about "Matilda". "Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela" dates to 1938 and is a Trinidadian calypso, not Jamaican.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 09:26 PM

*Coltman*


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 09:29 PM

*BTW Matilda/Mattie seems to be common in songs. Usually it's Mattie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:59 PM

Listed in mentomusic.com is the 45rpm by Roy Richards and the Ramblers in which the song is actually "We Love Matilda," according to the moderator.
On the same site in a survey of Belafonte recordings- Matilda- "(the well used melody from "Dip and Fall Back", "What a Hard Time" and "Sweetie Charlie", with new lyrics). However, Dirk Wahlers of Germany andBruno Blum both point out that Matilda was also recorded by Trinidadian King Radio around 1939, though it is unknown whether he originated the melody.
As noted by Morwen, Matilda and Mattie were interchangable on some songs; "Mattie Rag" called "Ol' Matilda" by Tanamo (Joseph Gordon)-Iron Bar on a ska single.
Louise Bennett recorded the old Annancy "Matilda" song.
Price Buster, on lp "Ska-Lip-Soul, recorded the Annancy "Matilda" in ska style, titled "Matilda."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 04:44 AM

I think "Matilda" may have been a common name across several decades.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 01:00 PM

Matilda of England, 1102-1167, daughter of Henry I; Saint Matilda 892-968, etc., etc. A common name for centuries, with several variants, in most European countries.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:37 AM

Before her it was the name of several saints.


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