Itanami

One mahnin' de captain wake
Captain wake e' wake e' boat haan
Boat haan wake e' wake e' bowman
Bowman wake with a paddle in e' haan
All I want is a land and strang
Lang and strang is too much fuh she(me)
Lang and strang is Itanami
Oh O
Captain, captain put she (me) ashore
She (I) don't want to go anymore
Itanami gon frikkun she
Itanami gon drowned she
Itanami gon wuk she belly
Itanami is too much fuh she
Oh, Itanami, Itanami

This song tells the story of a pork-knocker (miner) in Guyana who encounters very strong rapids called 'Itanami' while sailing up a river . Traditionally the lyrcis revolve around a man, but I have decided to use a woman as the main character in this version.

Watch 'Itanami' live at The Courtyard 

Alternate versions:

Yoruba Singers

King Fighter

Uncle Joe

Me been a rice field go wuk
Me nah hear when mahnin' train pass
Me been a rice field go wuk
Me nah hear when mahnin' train pass
Uncle Joe
Gimme mo' lemme go, Uncle Joe
Gimme mo' lemme go
Me been a  cane field go cut
Me nah hear when mahnin' train pass
Me been a  cane field go cut
Me nah hear when mahnin' train pass
Uncle Joe
Gimme mo' lemme go, Uncle Joe
Gimme mo' lemme go
Me been a pon trench go swim
And de wata cool dung meh skin
Me been a pon trench go swim
And de wata cool dung meh skin
Uncle Joe
Gimme mo' lemme go, Uncle Joe
Gimme mo' lemme go

This song a 'work song' - telling a story about men and women who would be out in the fields doing work before the sun even rises, so early that they don't even hear the morning train when it passes. After a long hard day working in the hot sun, they go to the 'pon trench' to swim and cool off. Uncle Joe must be the person they are working for.

The chorus and the over all story of the verses suggest to me that the people are asking 'Uncle Joe' or dem 'boss' for more work, essentially because more work is what they'll get anyways, but also because a long day in de hot hot sun culminates with a cool dung in de nice nice water.

Mahnin' Neighbah

Uncle Joe .......  Uncle Joe ........ UNCLE JOE!!!!!
Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin' ,  Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin'  ,  Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin' .. I don' want yuh conniving mahnin' ! 
When yuh been a Kurupung, yuh nah been tell me mahnin', now because yuh money done yuh come with conniving mahnin'
When yuh had yuh pocket full, yuh nah been tell me mahnin'. now because yuh money done yuh hustle fuh tell me mahnin' ?!
Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin' ,  Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin'  ,  Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin' .. I don' want yuh conniving mahnin' ! 
Neighba neighba Joe come, Neighba neighba Joe come, Neighba neighba Joe come.. Dis all de money dat meh wuk fah
A two pound note and a guilda' piece.. A two pound note and a guilda' piece.. Two pound note and a guilda' piece.. 
Dis all de money dat me wuk fah
Ow Joseph, Poor me ,, Ow Joseph, Poor me ,, Ow Joseph, Poor me ,.  What me could buy wid a guilda' piece ?
  What me could buy wid a guilda' piece ?   What me could buy wid a guilda' piece ?   What me could buy wid a guilda' piece ?
Cause dis all de money dat me wuk fah
One bunch green plantain, one string kakwari, one gil black peppa'
All da meh could buy with a guilda' piece !
Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin' ,  Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin'  ,  Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin' .. I don' want yuh conniving mahnin' ! 
Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin' ,  Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin'  ,  Mahnin' Neighba Mahnin' ..
Yuh could keep  yuh conniving mahnin' 
I don' want yuh conniving mahnin' ! 
Yuh could keep yuh conniving mahnin' !!!!

Alright so dis one hey suh .. I feel is about the same 'Uncle Joe' .. 
I think the song speaks for itself .. it's about a neighba who's high up on is horse, believe they're better than everyone else .. until they need something from you. Then they put on a facade, hiding their true selves in the process. I think it's a big problem in modern society, and people need to start appreciating each other more - by first appreciating ourselves.

Be nice to yuh neighbour, for real.

Watch 'Mahnin' Neighba' live at The Courtyard

Alternate Versions:

Live at the National Cultural Center, 2012

Small Days

Rick-chick-chick-chick  ( Congatay !)
Me been a dam  ( Congatay !)
Me see fowl mama  ( Congatay !)
And she ten fat chicken  ( Congatay !)
So meh ask she fuh one  ( Congatay !)
And she say me cyaan get am  ( Congatay !)
Oh ya see da gyal deh  ( Congatay !)
Wuh name Dorothy  ( Congatay !)
How she fa like a butta  ( Congatay !)
And she magga like a chow  ( Congatay !)

Small Days is probably the most popular and favourite of all the Guyanese Folk Songs. It invokes a feeling of nostalgia and warmth in the older generations, and speaks to the younger generation of what 'small days' were like in the past ... technology free, catcher and hide and seek days. 

The song is usually combined with other folk songs used for the verses, such as 'Rick-chick-chick' and 'Children, Children'; also the likes of 'On Your Carpet'.

Watch 'Small Days' Live at the GTT +Star Finals, 2019

Watch 'Small Days' at the University of Guyana, 2017

Alternate Verions:

Performed by 'Marlon Jardine'

Performed by 'Chitra Sing'

Children, children  ( Yes Papa ? )
Where have you been?  ( Grand mama )
What did she give you ?  ( Cheese and Bread )
Where is mine ?  ( On de shelf )
How me gon get am ?  ( Climg pon a chair )
And if me fall ?  ( Me nah cay' )

 
Bad picne  ( Me nah cay' )
Wicked picne !  ( Me nah cay' ! )
Small Days is still on meh mind
Small Days is a good good time
Meh neighba' had some little children
And when deh singing and dem dancing I does really admire dem

Jane Engage

Jane Engage and she think nobody like she
Jane Engage and she think nobody like she
Run ah koker dam, something bruk away,
Run a koker dam
Jane Engage and she walk ah village in style
Jane Engage and she walk ah village in style
Run ah koker dam, something bruk away,
Run a koker dam
Jane Engage and she rub she body with oil
Jane Engage and she rub she body with oil
Run ah koker dam, something bruk away,
Run a koker dam
Jane Engage and dem village boy ah run wild
Jane Engage and dem village boy a run wild
Run ah koker dam, something bruk away,
Run a koker dam
Jane Engage and she think nobody like she
Jane Engage and she think nobody like she
Run ah koker dam, something bruk away,
Run a koker dam
Run ah koker dam, something bruk away,
Run a koker dam
Run ah koker dam, something bruk away,
Run a koker dam

Jane Engage, another one of the more popular folk songs. This one tells a very clear picture of a young girl who has just gotten engaged, and is 'flaunting' her ring and the fact that she's engaged. I could imagine she's very happy. She better don't misplace de ring.

Missy Lass

Missy lass, missy lass, missy lass she gol' ring
Oh fine am, fine am, fine am, fine am,
Fine am lemme see
De ring is lass, de ring is lass, de ring is lass, e' down deh
Oh fine am, fine am, fine am, fine am,
Fine am lemme see
Ah wonda weh meh lova deh ? - Search and go fine am !
Ah wonda weh meh lova deh ? - Search and go fine am !
Ah wonda weh meh lova deh ? - Search and go fine am !
Ah wonda weh meh lova deh ? - Search and go fine am !

Now, y'all remember Jane, right ?
Well, imagine Jane parading the whole village, rubbing up she oil and thing, and blam - the ring disappear.
Missy lass ( has lost ) her gold ring. A funny folk songs that speaks about the carelessness and immaturity of young people. Pull yuh socks up and be more responsible !!

Watch 'Missy Lass' live at The University of Guyana, 2019

Aunty Bess

Hear Aunty Bess, hear Aunty Bess, hear Aunty Bess ah holla
Hear Aunty Bess, hear Aunty Bess, hear Aunty Bess ah holla
Wuh she holla, wuh she holla, wuh she holla fah ?
Wuh she holla, wuh she holla, wuh she holla fah ?
'Fore day mahnin' cock ah crow, hear Aunty Bess ah holla
'Fore day mahnin' cock ah crow, hear Aunty Bess ah holla
I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel like a mahnin' star
I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel like a mahnin' star

This is a real wicked song. Many of our folk songg have an adult undertone to them.
Could you guess why Aunty Bess de hollering early early in the morning ?

The next song might be able to answer that question.

Alternate Versions:

Keith Waithe live at Ealing Jazz Festival, 2011

British Guiana Police Choir, 1960's

Bamboo Fiyah

Bamboo, bamboo fiyah
Mek so, mek so mek so
Bamboo, bamboo fiyah
Mek so, mek so mek so
Bamboo fiyah wuh kinda fiyah?
Bamboo fiyah mek so, mek so
Bamboo fiyah's a hot hot fiyah
Bamboo fiyah mek so mek so
Six o' clock and de pot nah done yet
Bamboo fiyah mek so mek so
Six o' clock and de pot nah done yet
Bamboo fiyah mek so mek so
De man come home and de pot nah done yet
Bamboo fiyah mek so mek so
De man come home and de pot nah done yet
Bamboo fiyah mek so mek so
Gimme lil wata fi out de fiyah
Bamboo Fiyah mek so mek so
Gimme lil wata fi out de fiyah
Bamboo Fiyah mek so mek so

Sitaira

This song is possibly the answer to why Aunty Bess was hollering. The bamboo fiyah mek so.

Another one of the more adult oriented folk songs. The verse 'man come home and de pot nah done yet' indicates that the woman who was supposed to cook dinner for her husband was distracted the whole while by the 'bamboo fiyah'. A song about adultery in the village.

Alternate Versions:
 

Emmel Singers
Marlon Jardine - Bamboo Fiyah, 2000

One day me been a Bamboo Dam
And me see Sitaira lay down deh
So me ask Sitaira wah she do dh
Sitaira hice up she petty coat, whine like a Buxton Boar
Oh Sitaira mo' man deh, Oh Sitaira mo' man deh
One Sunday mahnin' I was passing
And me see Sitaira lay down deh
So me ask Sitaira wah she do dh
Sitaira hice up she petty coat, whine like a Buxton Boar
Oh Sitaira mo' man deh, Oh Sitaira mo' man deh
One day me been a Wakenaam
And me see Sitaira pon de dam
So me ask Sitaira wah she do dh
Sitaira hice up she petty coat, whine like a Buxton Boar
Oh Sitaira mo' man deh, Oh Sitaira mo' man deh

Sitaira seems to be a young girl from the village who is a bit 'flighty'. Alternate versions of the song use a stronger term than 'Buxton Boar' to describe Sitaira. 

Gangamani

Oh my lova.. Gangamani
You seh you wan go to de market.. Gangamani
You seh you wan go to de market to buy some greens.. Gangamani

Nothing else could calm me down after a hard day .. boy aye !

Gangamani is quite possibly my favourite folk songs ever. As the title clearly indicates, this song is about Marijuana. 'Gangamani' makes references to a shop keeper who sells Ganja. The song was first thought to me by the great Eze Rockcliffe of the Yoruba Singers. I have also heard another version done by Ramjohn 'PokePie' Holder (of the the hit TV show Desmond).

This version features Guyansese rapper 'A-TayJah'. As young people, we are using this song to advocate for the education of decriminalization of the herb. Here in Guyana, these is still a huge stigma attached to recreational marijuana use, despite of the progress made by the globe to normalize the practice. Marijuana decriminalization has a far way to go in Guyana, and needs to begin with education, reduced penalties (and then restrictions) on recreational users. Society is free to indulge and abuse the likes of Alocohol and Cigarettes, which are both far more harmful than Marijuana. This needs to change.

Alternate Versions:
 

Performed live in New York, 2018

Creole Rock Version, music video featuring Feed The Flames

Performed live with Machel Montano at University of Guyana, 2018

Performed live by Ramjohn Holder

Say me want one dolla.. Gangamani
Yea me wan two dolla.. Gangamani
Yea me want three dolla.. Gangamani
Yea me want one naira.. Gangamani
Gangamani Ay, Gangamani O
Gimme my shilling.. Gangamani
Yes it good fuh cancer.. Gangamani
Any kinda cancer.. Gangamani
Me seh even skin cancer.. Gangamani
It good fuh glaucoma.. Gangamani
Nothing else could calm me down after a hard day
Boy ay, all I want is yuh love, Al Day
Always, Gangamani yuh know
Keep me up on my toes, high above the law
So fuh you I give praise
Mary Jane, they don't see what I seeing yuh know
So dem hate, giving you a bad name
Say you's a bad thing 
But if you was a lady to me you'd be a Queen
Always got your grown on yuh head cause yuh way up in the heirarchy
Gangamani Ay, Gangamani O
Break me off a piece just to ease my mind and soul
Dem a call it Marijuana.. Gangamani
And freedom dem a call fah.. Gangamani
Is a herb from the garden.. Gangamani
Mek yuh itate betta.. Gangamani
Concious people use it.. Gangamani
But yuh should never abuse it.. Gangamani
decriminalize it.. Gangamani
So de economy could benefit.. Gangamani
But please don't be ignorant.. Gangamani
Only Jah pass de judgement.. Gangamani
Learn about the benefits.. Gangamani
And throw away de cigarettes !.. Gangamani
Gangamani Ay, Gangamani O
Gimme my shilling.. Gangamani
Gimme my shilling.. Gangamani
Gimme my shilling.. Gangamani
Me say to gimme my shilling.. Gangamani !!

Brown Skin Gyal / Gypsie In De Moonlight

Brown Skin Gyal stay home and mine baby
Brown skin gyal stay home and mine baby
I'm going away on a sailin' boat
And if I don't come back stay home and mine baby
Oh Brown Skin, sweet brown skin
Oh Gypsie, sweet gypsie
Gypsie in de moonlight, gypsie in de dew
Gypsie never come back til half pass 2
So walk him gypsie, walk him
Walk him through the door
And turn to your partner and show him what you do
I never love nobody, nobody love me too
I only love meh gypsie and my gypsie love me too
Oh Gypsie ring ting ting,
Gypsie ring ting ting

This track is not listen on the back of the album, if you've got a copy. Instead, it is a hidden song.

A preview of 'Folk It Up Vol 2' ; )

THANK YOU FOR PURCHASING MY ALBUM, AND I HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT !!

 

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© 2019 by GAVIN MENDONCA

        Kross Kolor Records