Sunday, August 4, 2013

Panamanian Calypso - "Get Ready For The Baptism" (with lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcase a Calypso song from Panama that is heard in a video that features photographs of old Colon City, Panama.

This post also includes my transcription of the lyric for that song.

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

All copyrights belong with their owners.

This is a non-religious song that has "baptism" as its theme and includes floating verses that are found in a number of religious songs, and/or lyrics from particular religious songs. For example, the lyrics about the Jordan River, the "Amen", and the lyrics about "You must be born again", although I'm not familiar with the song from which those particular lyrics come.

The lyrics to this song which mention Mary Ann refer to female character in the song "Mary Ann" (All day all night Maryann)
"Mary Ann," composed by calypsonian Roaring Lion (born name: Hubert Raphael Charles),[1] was popular with steelbands and revelers during a spontaneous Carnival celebration on V-J Day in Trinidad in 1945, at the end of World War II.[2] The song's lyrics alluded to Mary Ann's occupation:
All day, all night, Miss Mary Ann
Down by the seaside, she sifting sand.”
This means that Mary Ann who worked "all day and all night" as a protitute.


ThePanamanianSpot, Published on Nov 6, 2012

Great old pictures of Colon back in the days. Directed by Mauro Esteban Martinez.


Lead: Get ready everybody, get ready
Get ready for the baptism.
Get ready everybody get ready
Get ready for the baptism.

Me and the melody man
Lord, we went to a baptism
They ducked me first in the water
I donned* me robe and shout Hallelujah
Lord, I done and shout the band
“One and all, come and join me in this song”

And we shouting
Group: Jordan river
Lead: Jordan River
Group: So chilly and cold
Lead: So chilly and cold
Group: It chills my body
Lead: Oh Lord!
Group & Lead: But not my soul

[repeat this verse]

Lead: They prolong the baptism
The preacher with the good book in his hand
And when he baptize Mary Ann
She said “Yeah Lord, I am a pure woman
She was an expletive
I can not believe she’s converted

Then she shouted
Group & Lead: Born, born, born, born
You must be born again
Lead: Lord
Group & lead :
You must be born again
Born, born, born, born
You must be born again

Lead: Born of the water, the spirit, and the blood
Group & Lead: You must be born again.
Lead: Born of the water, the spirit, and the blood
Group & Lead: You must be born again.

Lead: Hallelujah
Group: Hallelujah
Group & Lead: We be yearning
Hallelujah I pray
Lead: Hallelujah
Hallelujah, I be yearning
Group & Lead: We be yearning till that wake up day.

Lead begins and group joins in: The things I used to do
Lead & Group: I do them no more.
Lead begins and group joins in: The things I used to say
Lead & Group: I say them no more.
Lead begins and group joins in: The things I used to do
Lead & Group: I do them no more.
Lead & Group: It’s a great day since I was born.

Lead: We are coming to an ending
Yes, Lord, what a glorious morning.
Now that we ____, everybody’s going to sing Amen
And we shouting

Group: Amen
Lead: Hallelujah!
Group: A-men, Amen, Amen, Amen
Lead- Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, Lord
Group & Lead: A-men, Amen, Amen, Amen
I'm not sure if this is the correct name for this song.

Transcription by Azizi Powell from the sound file. I'm not sure of most of the words to the verse that begins with the word "Hallelujah. "___" means that I don't know what word was sung.

Additions & corrections of this transcription are very welcome. Also, I'd love to add information about this song's composer & the name of group that sang this song.
donned = put on

born = born again [accepted Jesus as Lord & Savior/been baptized]

Click for a video of Colon, Panama (2009)

Several Jamaican Mento songs refer to the Panamanian town of Colon, to Colon Bay, or to Colon men. Click for lyrics to three of those songs: "Me Lover Gone A Colon Bay", "Isaac Park gone a Colon" ,and "One, Two, Three, Four, Colon Man A Come".

This comment was posted after the lyrics to the song "Isaac Park gone a Colon":
"Colon was the port of disembarkation for labourers on the Panama Canal.

In 1888, the French De Lesseps company began with 20,000 laborers, most of them Afro-Caribbean. Over 22,000 died in the 1880s. The United States took over in 1904, the year Jekyll's book was published.

The deaths took place because of yellow fever, and the work of assassination squads who murdered any 'wooly-haired man" in the camps. "Straight-haired Coolies, that is to say East Indians, were allowed to go unharmed."
Walter Jekyll, 1904, Jamaican Song and Story, CXII"
[This quote is reformatted with the source credited at the end.]

This comment was posted after the lyrics to the song "One, Two, Three, Four, Colon Man A Come":
"Colon is another name for Panama. Many Jamaicans who went there to help build the Panama canal were therefore called Colon Men"...
Click for a pancocojams post about the song "One, Two, Three, Four, Colon Man A Come".

Thanks to the vocalists who are featured in this video. Thanks to those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the producer of this showcased video.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. I had never seen the lyrics nor did I ever heard the complete song before. I am not an Afro Panamanian but when I isten to this song and calypsos in general I really feel that this is my kind of music specially if they are played with the ukulele or the banjo. I wish i could see more calypso lyrics like Rum, Negro heart, Down by the river or Mon cherrie. Thanks Mr. Powel!

    1. Thanks, tavo5549.

      You have reminded me to look for more Afro Panamanian music to feature on this blog.

      Best wishes!

    2. I remember Old Colon...and was fortunate to have had a Jamaican housekeeper while growing up. As an old Zonian, the West Indian culture is dear to me.
      I sure wish I could find out who was singing that and whether there may be something on Amazon that would allow me to get the album.
      Bob Sprague

    3. Greetings, Bob Sprague.

      Thanks for taking the time to write about growing up in Old Colon.

      This post was the first time I had heard of Old Zionist music. I'll continue to be on the alert for more online examples of this music so that I might share some here.

      Best wishes!

  2. The name of the Calipsonian singer is Lord Cobra, come from Panama. It's a very popular Calipso melody that we can hear nowadays interpreted by newers Calipsonians

    1. Thanks for that information, Luis Carlos Carrera.

      I appreciate it.