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 â€œMake a lot of money in the music business, like your cousin.â€ (It happens that the famous musician and actor Harry Connick Junior is my cousin. His mother and mine were sisters. I am 27Â½ 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 â€“ and I find that their talents are far greater than mine. I enjoy our sessions. Iâ€™m trying to learn Calypso rhythms. Meanwhile, Iâ€™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. Theyâ€™d have their authentic Dominican Carnival CD and one or two of the songs on it would have actually have lyrics (I donâ€™t read or write music) by a white American expatriate to Dominica whoâ€™s in his late 60s. Wouldnâ€™t that be funny?
My first song â€œThe Fish Will Bite Your Bo-Boâ€ 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 childrenâ€™s tune â€œDown at the station, early in the morningâ€. The chorus is just a simple 2-line rhyme.
â€œThe Fish Will Bite Your Bo-Boâ€
Down at the Chaudiere*, early in the morning,
See the lovely vieux*, all in a row.
The stream is running swiftly, my mother says itâ€™s danger,
â€œDonâ€™t go in the water, the fish will bite your bo-bo.â€
Chaudiere, bo-bo, what the heck do I know?
Iâ€™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!
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.
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 â€œshow-doughâ€, vieux [snails] as â€œvee-ohâ€.)
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 â€œrock and rollâ€ really refers to!)
Dominican Mud Blues (Muddy Lovinâ€™)
Come to me my baby,
Iâ€™m a man of flesh and blood.
But youâ€™ll enjoy my lovinâ€™
Itâ€™s like Dominican mud.
If you donâ€™t believe me,
Letâ€™s make a double bet.
That tropic muddy lovinâ€™,
Is the best a girl can get.
Mud starts out hard and dry,
When my situationâ€™s hot.
Iâ€™m strong and dark and fertile,
Let me show you what Iâ€™ve got.
And we become slippâ€™ry,
Until the stormy rage is through.
Youâ€™ll slide and shout and love it,
While Iâ€™m clinging on to you.
When our storm is past weâ€™re sticky,
No matter how you try.
You just canâ€™t shake me off you,
Iâ€™m your Muddy Lovinâ€™ Guy.
You want the good life baby?
Use this very simple plan.
Shack-up in Dominica,
With a Muddy Lovinâ€™ Man.
Chorus (repeat 2X):
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