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Thursday, July 7, 2016

"Millie Gone To Brazil" (Information, lyrics, & video)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series on the Bajan (Barbados) folk song "Millie Gone To Brazil" (also known as "Poor Millie").

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/07/millie-gone-to-brazil-three-online.html for Part I of this post. Part I provides extensive quotes from three online articles about the early 20th century migration of Bajans and other West Indians to Brazil to help construct a railroad which would transport rubber out of the Amazon jungle.

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

I'm interested in helping to preserve and share the information that is found in these online articles.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks to Baragua Folk Group that is featured in this video and thanks to the publisher of this video on YouTube.

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LYRICS: MILLIE GONE TO BRAZIL (also known as "Poor Millie")
(traditional Bajan Calypso, 1920)

Version #1:
From http://www.academia.edu/14123753/MIllie_Gone_to_Brazil_Barbadian_migration_to_Brazil_in_the_early_20th_century "Millie Gone to Brazil! Barbadian migration to Brazil in the early 20th century" by Elaine P. Rocha and Frederick Alleyne

[This article was published in the Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, v. 58, December 2012, p. 1-42]

Millie gone to Brazil Oh Lawd,
poor Millie Millie gone to Brazil
Oh Lawd, poor Millie
Wid de wire wrap round she waist
And the razor cut up she face
Wid de wire wrap round she waist
And the razor cut up she face
Millie down in the well
Oh Lawd, poor Millie
Millie down in the well
Oh Lawd, poor Millie
Wid de wire wrap round she waist
And the razor cut up she face
Wid de wire wrap round she waist
And the razor cut up she face

These are the lyrics of a popular Barbadian folk songs, dated from the early 1920s. Although it tells the fate of a woman murdered by her husband, which according to the tradition is a true story, it is a lively song. The popular tale explains that Millie was about to leave her abusive husband when she was killed and her corpse hidden in a well not far from Bridgetown. To explain her sudden disappearance, the husband told everybody that Millie had gone to Brazil, until the strong odor revealed the location of her body.

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Version #2:
From http://crs-sato.tripod.com/bajanopera.html Poor Millie

Rufus: Millie gone to Brazil (Repeat 3 times)
Women: Oh Lord!
Millie gone to Brazil oh lord poor Millie. (Repeat twice)
With the wire rap round she waist and the razor cut up she face. (Repeat twice)
Together: Millie gone to Brazil oh lord poor Millie. (Repeat twice)
With the wire rap round she waist and the razor cut up she face. (Repeat twice)
Together: Millie down in the well oh lord poor Millie. (Repeat twice)
With the wire rap round she waist and the razor cut up she face. (Repeat twice)
Rufus: Millie gone to Brazil oh lord poor Millie. (Repeat twice)
With the wire rap round she waist and the razor cut up she face.
Please Mr. B don't lock up me cause Millie belong to me.
Together: Millie gone to Brazil oh lord poor Millie. (Repeat twice)
With that wire rap round she waist and the razor cut up she face.
Please Mr. B don't lock up he cause he went and kill Millie!

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THIS SONG
From http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=138570#3183428
Subject: Lyr Add: MILLIE GONE TO BRAZIL (trad Barbados)
From: Q
Date: 07 Jul [20]11
[Millie Gone To Brazil" is] "A song from the 1920s. A man called Bailey murdered his common-law wife and deposited her corpse in a well. When questioned, he claimed that she had gone to Brazil. He was tried and condemned to hang.
(At the time, Barbadians were migrating to South, as well as North America).

[Lyric Source] Marshall, McGeary and Thompson, 1981 and reprints, Folk Songs of Barbados, Ian Randle Publishers, Kingston, Jamaica."

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SHOWCASE VIDEO: Baragua Folk Group Millie Gone to Brazil



Stefan HatsMusic, Published on Nov 10, 2012
Folk group from Baragua Cuba, made up of descendants of Anglo Caribbean people singing Millie Gone to Brazil, a Barbadian folk song.
-snip-
The song begins at .26 of this video.

The introduction to this video has the following text:
"Filmed November 2, 2012

The folk group seen here has never been to Barbados or any other English speaking Caribbean country.

Its members are of Anglo-Caribbean descent. Most see Barbados as their homeland.

This song “Millie Gone To Brazil” is part of the Barabdian [sic] folk repertoire.

The melody heard here was passed down and is not the melody currently sung in Barbados."

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This concludes Part II of this two part series.

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