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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

Music is one of my hobbies. I play harmonica; something I began to do when I was 50 and my wife gave me my first harmonica for Christmas as a gag gift, saying “Make a lot of money in the music business, like your cousin.” (It happens that the famous musician and actor Harry Connick Junior is my cousin. His mother and mine were sisters. I am 27½ years older than him.)

Anyhow, after experimenting a bit, I found that I can play harmonica by ear. I play quite well in fact. When I come to Dominica I bring my harmonicas and I try to have a fun musical session or two with some of the musically talented people around Calibishie – and I find that their talents are far greater than mine. I enjoy our sessions. I’m trying to learn Calypso rhythms. Meanwhile, I’ve written words for two songs, and I hope that by blogging them here some talented Dominican calypsonians will adapt them to Dominican rhythms and perhaps use them in Carnival.

I daydream that my lyrics get done in Calypso and recorded on the annual Carnival CD, which then gets sold to cruise ship tourists. They’d have their authentic Dominican Carnival CD and one or two of the songs on it would have actually have lyrics (I don’t read or write music) by a white American expatriate to Dominica who’s in his late 60s. Wouldn’t that be funny?

My first song “The Fish Will Bite Your Bo-Bo” came about because when we went to the Chaudiere with a friend who brought her then 2-year-old son, he kept trying to enter the stream where we were gathering vieux until his mother told him to say out or else the fish would bit his bo-bo. The verse is to the tune of the old children’s tune “Down at the station, early in the morning”. The chorus is just a simple 2-line rhyme.

“The Fish Will Bite Your Bo-Bo”

Down at the Chaudiere*, early in the morning,
See the lovely vieux*, all in a row.
The stream is running swiftly, my mother says it’s danger,
“Don’t go in the water, the fish will bite your bo-bo.”

(1st Chorus)
Chaudiere, bo-bo, what the heck do I know?
I’m just a Dominican boy, but my bo-bo is my pride and joy.
Down at the Chaudiere, early in the morning;
See all the vieux all in a row.
The river is a no-no; the fish will bite my bo-bo,
If I go where my momma tells me not to go.

(Repeat 1st Chorus)
Something always happens to my little bo-bo
When I take him out to play he begins to grow.
The fishes they all swim away, they don’t bite, they’re too afraid.
What a fearsome sight must be my mighty bo-bo!

(2nd Chorus)
Chaudiere, bo-bo, what the heck does mom know?
I am a Dominican boy; my bo-bo is my favorite toy.
Someday when I’m grown up, down at the Chaudiere,
See all the pretty ladies all in a row.
The river’s where they’ll all go, because the ladies will know,
That I’m all grown up, and so’s my bo-bo.

(3rd Chorus)
Chaudiere, bo-bo, what the heck do you know?
I’m now a Dominican man; I use my bo-bo when I can.

(*Note: Chaudiere is pronounced “show-dough”, vieux [snails] as “vee-oh”.)

My second song is inspired by the properties unique red clay mud in the Calibishie region. I wrote it to a traditional blues beat. Like any traditional Delta blues, its lyric is sexually suggestive while all of the actual words and phrases are clean; that would get it played on the radio. (You can imagine what “rock and roll” really refers to!)

Dominican Mud Blues (Muddy Lovin’)

Come to me my baby,
I’m a man of flesh and blood.
But you’ll enjoy my lovin’
It’s like Dominican mud.

If you don’t believe me,
Let’s make a double bet.
That tropic muddy lovin’,
Is the best a girl can get.

Mud starts out hard and dry,
When my situation’s hot.
I’m strong and dark and fertile,
Let me show you what I’ve got.

And we become slipp’ry,
Until the stormy rage is through.
You’ll slide and shout and love it,
While I’m clinging on to you.

When our storm is past we’re sticky,
No matter how you try.
You just can’t shake me off you,
I’m your Muddy Lovin’ Guy.

You want the good life baby?
Use this very simple plan.
Shack-up in Dominica,
With a Muddy Lovin’ Man.

Chorus (repeat 2X):

Oh Dominica,
My Nature Island,
Give me your muddy love.

I give these songs to any of the gifted Dominican musicians reading this who want to adapt them to Calypso


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