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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Different Meanings Of "Wheel And Turn" In Two Jamaican Mento Songs & In The Wailers" "Rude Boy" Song

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides comments about the phrase "wheel and turn" in the Jamaican Mento songs "One Solja Man" and "This Long Time Gal" and contrasts that meaning with the use of that phrase in the Wailers' Ska song "Rude Boy". Video examples of "wheel and turn" as performed in Jamaican Kumina dancing are also showcased in this post. Information about Mento music is provided in the Addendum #1 to this post .Information about Ska music is also provided in Addendum #2.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to all those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/07/wheel-and-turn-phrase-in-two-jamaican.html The Wailers - "Rude Boy" (sound file & comments) for a spin off of this post :

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WHAT "WHEEL AND TURN" MEANS IN JAMAICAN MENTO
"Wheel and turn" is a referent for a Jamaican folk culture dance move in which dancers spin as fast as they can to the beat (wheel), then stop and spin in the opposite direction (turn).

Source: "Part Admin/Part Tour Guide", self-described as Jamaican, in 2010 in response to the question "Jamaicans what does "wheel and turn me" mean?", https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100707150927AA7b8ed

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A 1904 book about Jamaican music probably refers to "wheel and turn" in this note to the Jamaican song "Me Lover Gone A Colon Bay"
"Sung with a dance in which the dancers whirl around, "the wheeling becomes a giddy business..... The dancers never seem to feel it, nor do they appear to mind the heat. They simply stream with perspiration and put their handkerchiefs round their necks to save their white collars."

Walter Jekyll, 1904, Jamaican Song and Story, CXII." quoted by Q in 11 Jun 11 - 06:31 PM http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=40845#3168972.

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TWO MENTO SONGS WHICH INCLUDE THE PHRASE "WHEEL AND TURN"
Example #1: Excerpt from "One Solja Man" [Also known as "Wheel And Turn"]
A weh yuh dah weel an' tun me,
A weh yuh dah weel an' tun me,
Yuh mussa wan' me fe go fall dung,
An' lick me belly pon tambourina.
-snip-
in Standard English:
Why are you wheeling and turning me [so fast; so rough]
Why are you wheeling and turning me [so fast; so rough]
You must want me to fall down
And hit my belly on the tambourine.
-snip-
With regard to "hit my belly on the tambourine", that line may mean that the woman is concerned that she would hit her stomach against an actual band member playing a tambourine instrument because she was being spun around too fast. Or maybe that line means that the woman was concerned that she would fall down because she was being spun around so hard or so fast.
-snip-
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/07/caribbean-song-one-solja-man.html for a pancocojams post about this song.

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Example #2: Excerpt from "Long Time Gal"
Dis long time gal mi neva see you
Come let mi wheel an' tun
Dis long time gal mi neva see you
Come let mi wheel an' tun.

-From http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=2856&c=113
-snip-
The lyrics to this song are provided on that website in Jamaican Patois and in Standard English.

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TWO VIDEOS THAT INCLUDE "WHEEL AND TURN" MOVES IN JAMAICAN KUMINA DANCING
Video #1: Kumina (Cumina) Dance



Marsha Reid, Published on Jun 12, 2012

This was a dance that was shown to us during Sunset Beach's cultural night. In this instance, this dance is for the proper send off of the dead. It is a tradition taken from our African heritage.
For a better explanation, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumina

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Video #2: Traditional Jamaican Dance - Royal Carribean Allure of the Seas



Vincent Moiso, Published on Sep 2, 2012

Caught this on our way back to the ship at the port of Fallmouth. These guys were amazing! I could have watched them the whole time, this is just a few minute clip. Enjoy!
-snip-
Here's a comment from that video's discussion thread:
jahmeykan, 2013
"Hey Vincent, nice footage. The dance is actually called Kumina. It brings back memories of when I used to play drums for these and many other traditional dances. It's nice to see that this tradition is alive and well. Thanks for sharing! Walk good."

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WHAT "WHEEL AND TURN" MEANS IN THE WAILERS' SKA SONG "RUDE BOY"
Here's a transcription of that verse of the Wailers' "Rude Boy" song includes the phrase "wheel and turn":
Me want you come wheel an' turn me.
Me want you come wheel an' turn me.
Me want you come wheel an' turn me,
Fi go lick a mi head 'pon you tambourine.
I've got to keep on movin'.
I've got to keep on movin'.
I've got to keep on movin'.
I've got to keep on movin'.
I've got to keep on movin'.

Source: http://www.jah-lyrics.com/index.php?songid=1416

"Comment:
This song is the original version first released in 1965.
It was later covered by Gladiators in 1976 and by Bunny Wailer in 1981."
-snip-
HOWEVER, in a YouTube discussion thread for this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Nhgb9hC7UI, Rebelman19 in 2009 gives that line as "Now waan u come wheel an tun me (x3) Fi go lick mi head pon yuh tambourine!". And the closer I listen to that audio, the better I hear the words "mow waan u come wheel and turn me"."
-snip-
Those beginning words changes the entire interpretation of that song. Because of those changes, I now believe that those lyrics are a statement about how Babylon (the system) treats people. I therefore retract my previous idea that "wheel and turn" and the line that follows that lyric have a sexualized meaning.

I now think that the "wheel and turn, hit my head lines" in the Wailers' song is an analogy to how rude boys are moving around at a fast pace in one direction and then another only to crash into (hit one's head) against the tambourine (player). In the context of that song the tune that is being played and the tambourine player herself (or himself) symbolizes the System (Babylon).

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-wailers-rude-boy-sound-file-comments.html for a pancocojams post about the meaning of that verse in the Wailers "Rude Boy" song.

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WHAT "RUDE BOY" MEANS
"Rude boy" = "bad boy" ; "Rude boys" is a Jamaican referent for sharp dressing young men who hang out in the streets and are known for their violent, anti-social behavior.
From http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/may/24/rude-boys-jamaican-subculture-photography-exhibition "Rude boys: Shanty Town to Savile Row":
"It was towards the end of 1963 that the Wailers released their first single, Simmer Down, on the legendary Studio One label in Jamaica. The song was written and sung by an 18-year-old Bob Marley, the lyrics intended to placate his mother, Cedella, who was worried about the company her son was keeping in the Trench Town ghetto of the Jamaican capital, Kingston, where they lived. Simmer Down was aimed directly at the often sharply dressed young men locally known as "rude boys", who were making headlines in the then newly independent island with their violent and antisocial behavior/"
-snip-
Note that 'rude boy"-now often given as "rude bwoy" may be a complimentary referent. http://jamaicanpatwah.com/term/Rude-bwoy/1078#.U8apCI1OVv4

However, two commenters on that Yahoo answer website whose link is given above, shared a different meaning for those lines:
Shayne, 2010
"It means ya confuse him"

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Part Admin/Part Tour Guide, 2010
[In the song "Rude Boy"] "The artists could also have been using artistic license to say not only was his heart hurt (emotainally hurt) but he was so confused he lost physical balance, fell and hurt his head by hitting it against a tambourine. But the rest of the song does not speak to this it speaks to dancing similar to elephant man's 'pon de river' where he goes through todays pop moves"
-snip-
I believe that the singer is certain about what (or who) he wants. It's the other person who is undecided or confused. That's indicated by these lyrics from that song: "Wanti wanti cyaan get it, an' getti getti no want it./ Wanti wanti cyaan get it, an' getti getti no want it."

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ADDENDUM #1: INFORMATION ABOUT JAMAICAN MENTO
From http://worldmusic.about.com/od/genres/p/Mento.htm Jamaican Mento Music 101 By Megan Romer
"Mento music emerged as a distinct style of Jamaican music in the early part of the 1900s, although its roots run much deeper. Mento, much like other Caribbean folk music, is a blending of African rhythms, Latin rhythms, and Anglo folksongs. Mento found its greatest popularity in the 1940s and 1950s in Jamaica, before Rocksteady and Reggae became the predominant musical styles...

Mento music is often referred to as Jamaican Calypso, although the rhythms and song patterns are markedly different from those of Trinidadian Calypso.

While many mento songs are about traditional "folksong" subjects, from political commentary to simple day-to-day life, a disproportionately large number of the songs are "bawdy songs", often featuring poorly-veiled (and delightfully funny) sexual double-entendres."
-snip-
Although the Caribbean songs that were first popularized in the United States in the 1950s by Harry Belafonte were labeled "Calypso", those songs were actually Jamaican Mentos. Because of the growing popularity of Calypso music, some Jamaican Mento singers used the descriptors "Calypso" and "Calypsonian" for their music and for their groups. One example of that practice was the Jamaican group "Lord Flea and the Calypsonians" who recorded "Shake Shake Sonora", "Naughty Little Flea", "Wheel And Turn Me" and other Mento songs under the category of "Calypso" or "Jamaican Calypso".

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ADDENDUM #2: INFORMATION ABOUT SKA MUSIC
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ska
"Ska ... is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s, and was the precursor to rocksteady and reggae.[1] Ska combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the upbeat. In the early 1960s, ska was the dominant music genre of Jamaica and was popular with British mods. Later it became popular with many skinheads."
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