Mudcat Café message #3380243 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #102165   Message #3380243
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
23-Jul-12 - 05:33 AM
Thread Name: Origin: John Cherokee
Subject: RE: Origin: John Cherokee
Both this grunt business (and the development of grunts over the years) along with syncopation issues reminds me of something that happened at Mystic this last festival. We were participating in one of the halyard demos and the chantyman -- I forget who -- was leading "Essequibo River." I consider the song to be similar is style to "John Cherokee" -- cut from the same cloth -- so it was to my further surprise when the chantyman was singing it with an odd syncopation in it, that I've never heard before. For the second pull of each response, they delayed half a beat on the word "some-". And we were instructed to pull on that "rest", the silent delay before the word "some."

This was weird for me. How does one pull in silence? Do any halyard chanties have a pull on silence? (Not that I've ever seen, and I think I've seen them "all"). So I felt we needed something to pull on, and started filling that space, each time, with a grunt. I felt like I got some looks as if I were trying to be "cute." But I also felt like some people might think I was adding the grunt to give it that "Now we dung sweatin in de Islands, mon" feel that seems to be projected on "John Cherokee" and "Bully in the Alley"...and I felt embarrassed! Almost worried that it would catch on inadvertently! Yet it was one of those moments were you can see how changes might spontaneously get made. Almost like sound shifts in language, really. The Caribbean nature of the chanty (ot rheir own inclination to jazz-up) inspired the chantyman to syncopate, which caused a chain reaction of me needing to grunt!