Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Two Videos of the Belizean Christmas Song "Good Mawnin' Miss Lady"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides information about Christmas in Belize, Central America. This post also showcases two examples of the Belizean song "Good Mawnin'*, Miss Lady".

*"Mawnin' (morning) is also given as "maanin'".

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composer/s of this song. Thanks also to all those who are featured in these videos and those who are quoted in this post. And thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
Click for the Belizean song "Good Mawnin' Belize". That song may be related to the song "Good Mawnin', Miss Lady". From the comments that I've read, I know that "Good Mawnin' (morning) Belize" and not "Good Mawnin' Miss Lady" was the song that was played every morning on a Belizean radio station. However, I don't know which song came first.
Updated 12/24/2016
If it's correct as I have read that "Good Morning, Lady" was a song that was traditionally sung by Belizean Christmas carolers, than that song is older than "Good Morning, Belize".

From Christmas in Belize by Karla Heusner, posted by Marty 12/07/07
"More than any other holiday, Christmas is a truly multicultural celebration in Belize. It has to be, with over 10 ethnic groups in a population of around 250,000 people. Christmas traditions are freely shared and borrowed.

So while Belizeans share the European or North American rituals of decorating Christmas trees, hanging lights outside their homes, exchanging greeting cards and baking fruitcakes, they also look forward to homegrown festivities. For what is a Belizean Christmas without a sip or two of country wines, picking up a fork and grater and singing traditional "Brukdown" songs like "Good Morning Miss Lady," and other favorites from the Ole Time Creole Christmas "Bram"? Belizeans still wait to greet the Garifuna Jonkunu dancers on Christmas day, are enthralled by a performance of the Maya "Deer Dance" or a re-enactment of Mary and Joseph looking for an inn as part of "Las Posadas."

Whatever ethnic group, or combination thereof, a Belizean may consider himself or herself to be, one commonality is that Christmas is traditionally a time to visit family and friends. To prepare for all these people making the rounds, weeks go into making everything like "new." Everyone pitches in to clean the house from top to bottom, hang new curtains and lay fresh "marley" (linoleum).

There is a frenzy of baking, searching for fresh ingredients for holiday meals, stocking up of rum and flagging down the coca-cola trucks circling the neighborhoods to load up on cases of soft drinks.

The typical Creole "kriol" Sunday dinner of rice and beans and potato salad is spiced up at Christmas with the addition of turkey, stuffing AND ham in place of stewed chicken followed by rich black fruit cake laced with rum or brandy. The Mestizo specialty is white relleno, a delicious soup with pork stuffed chicken or mechado olives, raisins, saffron, or pebre roast pork with gravy all served with hot corn tortillas. Christmas dinner for the majority of Mayans might be tamales with chicken while families who raise pigs or turkey might use this as a substitute for chicken on this special occasion.

Spirits are an important part of the Christmas season, which in Belize lasts for two weeks, longer than in some countries, yet considerably shorter than the Belizean Christmases of the old mahogany cutting days. Back then, African slaves, free laborers and more recently, in our grandparents' time, the Waikas, an Amerindian group from Nicaragua, used to end their season in the forests with a month-long "spree" in Belize Town, now Belize City.

Although the settlement's men no longer find themselves separated from the womenfolk for months at a time, the festive atmosphere and the free flow of money and rum, remain.

So does the pilgrimage to Belize City, specifically to downtown Albert Street to buy their fancy curtain material, toys for the children or Christmas candies. The buses are packed, and the streets are elbow-to-elbow as shoppers squeeze their way past street vendors selling special imports of apples, grapes and pears.

Central American immigrants sell all manner of glassware, hammocks and Christmas ornaments on the street-side while the more permanent merchants, the descendants of colonial families, or recent arrivals from India or Taiwan do a brisk trade in everything imaginable, from clothing and shoes to porcelain figurines, television sets and cd players.

Of course it is not just about food, or shopping. With over 70% of Belizeans considering themselves Christians, the celebration of the nacimiento (birth of Christ) is well established throughout the country and across the various cultures. Most celebrations from the Las Posadas to the Deer Dance include prayers, vigils and a midnight Mass or "Misa de Gallo" on Christmas eve.

So as you can see, Belizeans still love their Christmas, and the various cultures all contribute something unique to the holiday mix. It is a great time of year to share in these traditions that have been handed down for generations. Join us in Belize this Christmas.
That same website has a lengthy post about how Garifuna people in Belize celebrate Christmas.

Example #1: Good Maaning Miss Lady

Sarteneja Cruz Uploaded on Dec 31, 2010

Belizean Christmas Carol Dec 25th 2010

Familia Cruz
Unfortunately, I haven't found any lyrics for this song online and I'm unable to transcribe this song except for the words "Good mawning, Miss lady... and how are you this mawning, ???? on a merry Christmas mawning."

Information about this song and lyrics for this song would be greatly appreciated.

Example #2: Good Mawning Miss Lady - Our Lady of Gudalupe Infant 1 Class Christmas Dance

openlearningtv Uploaded on Apr 22, 2009

Our Lady of Guadalupe Primary School Christmas Concert. Infant 1 Class presentation
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  1. On a website called Loud Loud World there's a page that gives the first verse of this song as:

    Good Morning Miss Lady / (“Hadey”?)
    How are you this morning?
    I come to make a complaint
    On this merry Christmas morning

    The blogger seems to think it's part of a sort of carolling tradition. It's the carollers' usual introductory song.

    The next verse seems to be about someone hiding in the long grass?

    1. Thanks for finding and sharing information about that website, slam2011. In the interest of the folkloric record, here's a longer excerpt from that site Village on the End of a Spit
      Posted on October 20, 2012 by loudloudworld
      "....There is, in fact, another extant form of Kriol music which more closely resembles the old bottle and stick brukdown than does the hand drums of Gales Point. This is the music played by participants in the Christmas season tradition known as bram. Bram is essentially door-to-door caroling, Caribbean style. Throughout Kriol towns and villages in Belize, groups of musicians roam their neighborhoods, playing and singing at every door in hopes of some small change and a little rum. Instrumentation is not regimented and the players will use whatever is at hand: Accordions, guitars, banjos, washboards, scrapers, a kitchen fork and grater, donkey jawbones with teeth intact (a surprisingly common instrument down south), maracas, and bottles and sticks. I even heard of one man who had made an art out of playing a glass Fanta bottle by taking advantage of the raised rings on the lower half of the bottle (which is absolutely ubiquitous in Belize incidentally). The rings provides a percussive surface on par with any washboard, and his friends were enthusiastic about the fellow’s abilities … “Man, he can make sounds with that thing you would not believe … he can make it sing … I tell you he can play melodies!”

      Incidentally, the first song always sung by a bram group upon entering a neighbor’s home is always the same, Good Morning Miss Lady / (“Hadey”?), and the lyrics seem an obvious reflection upon how the tradition may have actually started … as a petition, by the commoners of England–and later by the slaves of Belize–to their lords or overseers, to partake in a little of the Christmas cheer.

      Good Morning Miss Lady / (“Hadey”?)
      How are you this morning?
      I come to make a complaint
      On this merry Christmas morning"....

  2. My mom used to sing this song this way:

    Good morning miss lady
    How are you this morning
    Come to lodge a complaint on this fine Christmas Morning
    (Someone) has a baby and put it in the slop pan
    Busy bee was passing and stung him on the bottom.

    The song above sound similar but I don’t think they are saying slop pan.