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Jim Besser

Tune Of The Month, March 2015: Jamaica Farewell

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For me, one of the fun things about the TOTM is that I am frequently surprised by the results of the monthly poll. And was I ever surprised by the March poll, with the pseudo-West Indian tune Jamaica Farewell a clear winner.

 

Written by Irving Burgie in 1926, it was popularized by Harry Belafonte in the 1960s in the middle of that era's great folk scare, and has been covered by artists ranging from Jimmy Buffett to The Police.

 

You can see and listen to the original Belafonte version here.

 

Here's an interesting, if brief, Wiki entry about the song.

 

a lovely sung version.

 

And

one I don't dare describe, except that you have to give them a lot of credit for creativity.

 

Want some notation for this simple melody? Here ya go (scroll down beneath the tab)

 

I mentioned in the poll that I know the tune because around here, some Morris musicians sometimes switch to the tune in the middle of the massed dance Highland Mary. As Jim Lucas noted, the resulting chaos is referred to as Island Mary. Here's some ABC notation acknowledging that bit of musical mischief, and here's a sample of this silliness. I'm somewhere in the middle of that wall of sound.

 

Got it? As always, remember that there is no 'right' way to play this tune. Find some way to make it your own.

Edited by Jim Besser

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Wow! A TOTM I have known (in my head, that is, not my fingers) since childhood. Ergo, one I can imagine mustering the courage to submit...not just my first to TOTM, or C.net, but the first under any auspices.

 

Of course, that leaves me scratching my head over "how?"

 

I use an iPad, and the straightforward camera, and the little up arrow on the left gives me choices for YouTube, Vimeo, email, and Facebook. The first two are, I suspect, best options, although I have accounts for neither yet, and would doubtless need to set up same. Could I simply email the iPad movie (I think it's ".mov" format?)

 

I bet there's online help here, but I failed to find it in a search. I mean failed to get anywhere, although I found "help."

 

I appreciate being pointed in the proper direction, and apologize if I have clogged up anything by asking for what I should have figured out myself.

 

Thanks, and regards,

 

David

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Wow! A TOTM I have known (in my head, that is, not my fingers) since childhood. Ergo, one I can imagine mustering the courage to submit...not just my first to TOTM, or C.net, but the first under any auspices.

 

Of course, that leaves me scratching my head over "how?"

 

I use an iPad, and the straightforward camera, and the little up arrow on the left gives me choices for YouTube, Vimeo, email, and Facebook. The first two are, I suspect, best options, although I have accounts for neither yet, and would doubtless need to set up same. Could I simply email the iPad movie (I think it's ".mov" format?)

 

I bet there's online help here, but I failed to find it in a search. I mean failed to get anywhere, although I found "help."

 

I appreciate being pointed in the proper direction, and apologize if I have clogged up anything by asking for what I should have figured out myself.

 

Thanks, and regards,

 

David

 

No need to apologize, you haven't clogged up anything.

 

There's a thread on recording and posting here.

 

For you, with an iPad, the easiest solution is probably to create a video using the Ipad camera; when you view it, select the share icon, bottom left of the view screen; then select YouTube.

 

You'll need a YouTube account, but that's easy: using the YouTube app, just find the 'register' link and follow instructions.

 

Let us know if you need more detailed info!

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What fun, to record "Jamaica Farewell" on concertina! Pseudo- or not, it's a beautiful song, and I've known it very nearly my entire life.

 

Some of my earliest musical memories are of a box of brand-new 45 rpm recordings by Harry Belafonte, comprised (as far as I can remember) of tracks from his albums "Calypso" and "An Evening with Belafonte" (1956 and '57 respectively). In fact it was Millard Thomas's wonderful, understated accompaniment on those recordings that first made me want to take up the guitar.

 

So as a tribute to Mr. Thomas I cribbed one of his turnarounds for this little arrangement, which I recorded this morning by way of avoiding the chore of chiseling ice off the sidewalk after yesterday's storm. By the time I finished, the sun had taken care of the job. There's a moral here.

 

http://youtu.be/1nZ27dqdUC4

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel

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What fun, to record "Jamaica Farewell" on concertina! Pseudo- or not, it's a beautiful song, and I've known it very nearly my entire life.

 

Some of my earliest musical memories are of a box of brand-new 45 rpm recordings by Harry Belafonte, comprised (as far as I can remember) of tracks from his albums "Calypso" and "An Evening with Belafonte" (1956 and '57 respectively). In fact it was Millard Thomas's wonderful, understated accompaniment on those recordings that first made me want to take up the guitar.

 

So as a tribute to Mr. Thomas I cribbed one of his turnarounds for this little arrangement, which I recorded this morning by way of avoiding the chore of chiseling ice off the sidewalk after yesterday's storm. By the time I finished, the sun had taken care of the job. There's a moral here.

 

http://youtu.be/1nZ27dqdUC4

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

 

A wonderful way to start out this month's TOTM. Thanks!

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Wow! A TOTM I have known (in my head, that is, not my fingers) since childhood. Ergo, one I can imagine mustering the courage to submit...not just my first to TOTM, or C.net, but the first under any auspices.

Of course, that leaves me scratching my head over "how?"

I use an iPad, and the straightforward camera, and the little up arrow on the left gives me choices for YouTube, Vimeo, email, and Facebook. The first two are, I suspect, best options, although I have accounts for neither yet, and would doubtless need to set up same. Could I simply email the iPad movie (I think it's ".mov" format?)

I bet there's online help here, but I failed to find it in a search. I mean failed to get anywhere, although I found "help."

I appreciate being pointed in the proper direction, and apologize if I have clogged up anything by asking for what I should have figured out myself.

Thanks, and regards,

David

 

No need to apologize, you haven't clogged up anything.

 

There's a thread on recording and posting here.

 

For you, with an iPad, the easiest solution is probably to create a video using the Ipad camera; when you view it, select the share icon, bottom left of the view screen; then select YouTube.

 

You'll need a YouTube account, but that's easy: using the YouTube app, just find the 'register' link and follow instructions.

 

Let us know if you need more detailed info!

I was recommended a free app called Movie Pro. You can record with it using the built in camera & mic and upload direct to You Tube. You can edit your video. I found it was pretty easy to "tidy up" the video by cutting out the beginning and end (the bit where you are seen turning it on and off!).

 

There is also Apple's own iMovie but you have to pay for that

Edited by Tootler

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Thanks to Jim B. and blue eyed sailor for the kind words. I really enjoyed playing around with this one.

 

Time for a very quick rant? The question of whether or not "Jamaica Farewell" has any actual West Indian roots (opinions apparently vary) is the sort of consideration I'd probably have fretted over forty years ago, but any squeamishness I might once have felt about a good song's origins has long since departed. I'm younger than that now, as the fellow sang.

 

There's value, of course, in distinguishing native products from imports and originals from copies. But genre boundaries in music are nothing if not porous, and the action always seems to go both ways. An awful lot of songs I grew up thinking of as firmly rooted in this or that Tradition turn out to have wandered in from Tin Pan Alley or somewhere equally louche.

 

If that observation ever troubled me, it delights me now. Anyway, it's the interpretation that counts. These days I care roughly as much about Authenticity as I do about whether some dress I see online is blue-and-black or white-and-gold.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel

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Thanks to Jim B. and blue eyed sailor for the kind words. I really enjoyed playing around with this one.

 

Time for a very quick rant? The question of whether or not "Jamaica Farewell" has any actual West Indian roots (opinions apparently vary) is the sort of consideration I'd probably have fretted over forty years ago, but any squeamishness I might once have felt about a good song's origins has long since departed. I'm younger than that now, as the fellow sang.

 

There's value, of course, in distinguishing native products from imports and originals from copies. But genre boundaries in music are nothing if not porous, and the action always seems to go both ways. An awful lot of songs I grew up thinking of as firmly rooted in this or that Tradition turn out to have wandered in from Tin Pan Alley or somewhere equally louche.

 

If that observation ever troubled me, it delights me now. Anyway, it's the interpretation that counts. These days I care roughly as much about Authenticity as I do about whether some dress I see online is blue-and-black or white-and-gold.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

 

Totally agree.

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A first crack at Jamaica Farewell. I'm used to playing this tune with a bunch of other Morris dance musicians in a distinctly non- Caribbean style, and was pretty clueless what to do with it as a solo piece. What I'd like to do is figure out some more interesting things to do with the left hand. ANd maybe move the melody to the bass side one time through. But it's a start.

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/68325595/C.net%20Tune%20of%20the%20Month/jamaica1.mp3

 

Played in G on a 30 button Jeffries G/D Anglo.

Edited by Jim Besser

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....oh man, Jim, that is pretty high bar you've set for the rest of us!!

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A first crack at Jamaica Farewell. I'm used to playing this tune with a bunch of other Morris dance musicians in a distinctly non- Caribbean style, and was pretty clueless what to do with it as a solo piece. What I'd like to do is figure out some more interesting things to do with the left hand. ANd maybe move the melody to the bass side one time through. But it's a start.

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/68325595/C.net%20Tune%20of%20the%20Month/jamaica1.mp3

 

Played in G on a 30 button Jeffries G/D Anglo.

 

 

Great for a first attempt, Jim. I could almost imagine the dancing girls, swaying to and fro. Reminds me of an old joke: "My wife's just gone to the Carribean for a holiday." "Jamaica?" "No, she went of her own accord!"

 

Chris

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Here's an attempt from me. I've been doing this song for years in the key of G, semi-improvising a simple accompaniment on my treble English. With my lungs and throat still undergoing self-repair after a bad bout of the flu, that was just a bit too high for me right now. (I tried; my voice cracked, badly.)

But it was also too high for some friends I sometimes sing with, so for them I took up my tenor-treble and dropped it to Eb. Haven't done it in that key for a while, since one of them brought a guitar without a capo, so for him I dropped it to D and do less melody and more little decorative bits. But for this recording, I went back to Eb, in part to rest my voice, but also because -- I don't know why -- I think it sounds better than when I do it in D. Luckily, if I stick mainly to harmony in thirds and simple chords, playing in those different keys feels pretty much the same to me (on the English), so "transposing" isn't a huge deal (until I get beyond three flats or four sharps).

Anyway, as I said, semi-improvised and in the key of Eb: Jamaica Farewell,

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Here's an attempt from me. I've been doing this song for years in the key of G, semi-improvising a simple accompaniment on my treble English. With my lungs and throat still undergoing self-repair after a bad bout of the flu, that was just a bit too high for me right now. (I tried; my voice cracked, badly.)

 

But it was also too high for some friends I sometimes sing with, so for them I took up my tenor-treble and dropped it to Eb. Haven't done it in that key for a while, since one of them brought a guitar without a capo, so for him I dropped it to D and do less melody and more little decorative bits. But for this recording, I went back to Eb, in part to rest my voice, but also because -- I don't know why -- I think it sounds better than when I do it in D. Luckily, if I stick mainly to harmony in thirds and simple chords, playing in those different keys feels pretty much the same to me (on the English), so "transposing" isn't a huge deal (until I get beyond three flats or four sharps).

 

Anyway, as I said, semi-improvised and in the key of Eb: Jamaica Farewell,

 

 

Ha....bought a guitar without a capo? I like that.

 

Great recording. Ah, how I wish I could sing.

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Ha....bought a guitar without a capo? I like that.

"bRought" B)

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Here's an attempt from me. I've been doing this song for years in the key of G, semi-improvising a simple accompaniment on my treble English. With my lungs and throat still undergoing self-repair after a bad bout of the flu, that was just a bit too high for me right now. (I tried; my voice cracked, badly.)

 

But it was also too high for some friends I sometimes sing with, so for them I took up my tenor-treble and dropped it to Eb. Haven't done it in that key for a while, since one of them brought a guitar without a capo, so for him I dropped it to D and do less melody and more little decorative bits. But for this recording, I went back to Eb, in part to rest my voice, but also because -- I don't know why -- I think it sounds better than when I do it in D. Luckily, if I stick mainly to harmony in thirds and simple chords, playing in those different keys feels pretty much the same to me (on the English), so "transposing" isn't a huge deal (until I get beyond three flats or four sharps).

 

Anyway, as I said, semi-improvised and in the key of Eb: Jamaica Farewell,

Three flats. Respect!

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Ha....bought a guitar without a capo? I like that.

"bRought" B)

 

 

I need new reading glasses!

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