Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Caribbean Folk Song "Everytime Ah Pass" (with lyrics & video)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a version of the Caribbean song "Everytime Ah Pass (You look at me)".

This serves as a companion piece to this earlier pancocojams post about a version of that song: The comment given under a video of that song which is included in that post identifies that song as "Sweet Bajan Folk music from the 60's and 70's."

I've seen this song credited online as a Bajan song, a song from Monserrat, and a song from Trinidad & Tobago*

*These nations are given in alphabetical order).

Of course, anybody anywhere can sing any folk song. But from which nation did "Everytime Ah Pass" originate?

Also, is there a known composer for this song? Or does "Everytime Ah Pass" have a known composer, but people still (erroneously or not) consider it as a folk song (erroneously if you the definition of folk songs as "old" songs without any known composers).

A commenter on this Caribbean blog wrote that this song is "ah trini folk classic"

A commenter on this website "[Limers] every time I pass" credits this song to "Olive Walke" and I've seen that same credit given on another Caribbean song website whose link I didn't document.

Another commenter on that same website gives this source for the lyrics that are given above: "Source is from Folk Songs of Trinidad & Tobago by Boosey & Hawkes". The comments to that post make for interesting reading.

Here's a comment about Olive Walke from another website
"La Petite Musicale is a Caribbean institution. Founded in Trinidad in 1940 by Olive Walke, the choir has defined a style of performance that has become almost inseparable from the music itself. This is a collection of folk numbers ranging from the very familiar (Every Time Ah Pass, Apr├Ęs Carnival La, O Belem, Boykin) to the (to me, at least) more obscure — testimony to the extensive research carried out by the group over the years"...
From reading that comment, I'm unsure if the commenter meant that Olive Walke collected those songs or composed those songs.

If you know any information about this song please share it. Thanks in advance.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Every time ah pass You look at me

Every time ah pass You look at me

Ah gonna tell mah mama do' sen me down dey
You better tell yo' mama do' sen yo' down here
Ah gonna tell me mama do'sen me down dey
You better tell yo' mama do' sen yo ' down here.

Repeat as above, but substitute the following after “Every time ah pass”:
2. You smile at me
3. You wink at me
4. You whistle me
5. You sutin me
6. You teasin me

Source Some folk songs of Trinidad & Tobago
What does "sutin" mean?

FEATURED VIDEO: Voices Concert 3 (The Journey of Life, Caribbean Style)

Tavez Aymer, Uploaded on Apr 16, 2009
Songs- Everytime I Pass, Run Buddy Run, Blow Sweet West Indian Breeze & Poor Me
In response to a question about where this song is from, the publisher of this video wrote “Montserrat”.

UPDATE: July 7, 2016
Here's another rendition of this song:

Every Time She Pass (The Standpipe Song) - Sing Out Barbados

bajanmusicfan, Published on Mar 13, 2012

Sweet Bajan Folk music from the 60's and 70's.

This song takes a lighthearted look at what can be a troubling and dangerous experience- males oogling and "cat calling" and/or "wolf whistling" at females at females as those females walk pass by them. It's more the norm than the exception that females don't interpret that attention as compliments.

Click for a discussion that aired on NPR radio about this phenomenon.

Thanks to the composer of this song, and thanks to the vocalists and musicians who are featured in this video. My thanks also to those who I quoted and thanks to publisher of this video.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for that information, Unkown November 21, 2015.

      I appreciate it!

  2. Could it mean 'chupsin'...or the sound of sucking one' teeth?

    1. Thanks, David Reed.

      I think that your suggested meaning for "suttin" is probably right.

  3. nope... suttin specifically relates to a man trying to get the attention of a woman... an amorous heckling... by making a sound from the mouth

    1. Engage Learn Perform,
      Thank you for sharing that explanation of "suttin".

      I appreciate it!