Monday, March 17, 2014

LaBega Carousel - St. Croix ,Virgin Islands Quelbe Song (information, example, & lyricsX

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a sound file of the St. Croix, Virgin Island Quelbe song "La Bega Carousel". This post also includes information about Quelbe music (also known as "scratch music" and Quadrille music) and information about that featured song. The lyrics to "LaBega Carousel" is also included in this post. A video of a Jazz rendition of "La Bega Carousel" is showcased in the Addendum to this post.

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

All content remain with their owners.

Thanks to all of the artists who are featured in this sound file. Thanks also to the publishers of this sound file and thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

"Quelbe, also known as Scratch Band Music or Quadrille, is an indigenous, grass-roots form of folk music which originated in the U.S. Virgin Islands and has spread to other parts of the Caribbean.
A form of oral history, its lyrics are used to immortalize significant historical events, spread “rude” gossip about one's neighbors, and relay the day to day trials and tribulations of life on a island.

Scratch bands musicians play homemade instruments one can “scratch up.” For example, one man might be blowing with all of his might through a car-muffler pipe, another scratching a hollowed-out gourd with his hair pick, and yet another picking at a banjo made from a sardine can, a piece of wood and strings. …In 2004 the Virgin Islands legislature passed a bill making Quelbe the official music of the Virgin Islands...

The way in which quelbe lyrics were used to convey historical events is evident in a song entitled LaBega Carousel . By the early 1900s slavery had long since ended on St. Croix and jobs were scarce. The economy had drastically declined and living conditions were poor. The very popular song bears witness to the resulting labor unrest. The song proposes the boycott of a popular carousel owned by a man named LaBega, who said that laborers were not worthy of a pay raise. This song is still quite popular today.

A strong Crucian spirit is apparent in the lyrics."

(traditional - St. Croix, Virgin Islands)

I rather walk and drink rum whole night
Before me go ride on LaBega Carousel
I rather walk, man, and drink rum whole night
Before me go ride on LaBega Carousel

You no hear what LaBega say
"The people no worth more than fifteen cent a day"
You no hear what LaBega say, man
"The people no worth more than half cent a day"

I am walking, I am looking, I am begging
Before me go ride on LaBega Carousel
I am walking, I am looking, I am begging
Before me go ride on LaBega Carousel

Source: [summary statement* for the video "Joe Parris and the Hotshots -LaBega Carousel"
*reformatted for this post]

SHOWCASE EXAMPLE: Joe Parris and the Hotshots - LaBega Carousel

Donald Turnbull, Uploaded on Dec 27, 2010

ADDENDUM - La Bega Carousel - The Virgin Islands Rhythm Section

modstx Uploaded on May 27, 2009

[Instrumental Jazz rendition of this song]

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