Dec 7, 2011

Bonjour Mr Lundi
Comment ça va Mardi
Et Mr Mercredi
Et La famille Jeudi
Si tu vois Vendredi
Tu lui diras pour moi
Samedi que je que je l’attends
Au salon de Dimanche

Sur l’air du tra la la
Sur l’air du tra la la
Sur l’air de tra de ri de ra tra la la

Good morning Monday
How are you Tuesday
And you sir Wednesday
How’s the family. Thursday
If you see Saturday
Tell her I’ll be waiting for her
In Sunday’s living room

On the beat of  tra la la
On the beat of tra la la
On the beat of tra, and re and la tra la la

Dec 4, 2011

Ti Kabrit pechè Pwason (Goat went fishing)

Once upon time, a Goat decided to go fishing in the sea. Before he got in his little sailboat, he gathered up some sweet potatoes, a large tin can and some spices.  He looked the sky to check if it was going to rain. 
He winkled his nose and said to himself, “We’re going to have a nice day; clear skies and not a trace of a rain cloud.”  He then checked his bag one last time to make sure he wasn’t missing anything: 
     Bait? Check
     Food? Check
     Fishing Pole? check
     Sailboat? Double check
Goat then boarded his skiff and shoved off. 

He paddled along for a while, studying the wave patterns and navigating his way through the troughs between the swells.  Once he was a way out from shore, the seas calmed and he soon found a spot suitable to cast his line.  But the morning sun was hot and the fish appeared to be lingering in the cool of the cobalt depths, as the line never tugged.  Around noon, Goat picked up his bamboo pole, gave it a yank, and reeled in his line.  Nothing… but the worms were gone.

Goat’s tummy reminded him that, catch or no catch, it was time for lunch.  He paddled back to shore, pulled his skiff up on the sand and set up camp under a coconut tree.  He then proceeded to forage through his basket for vittles he would use in making himself a tasty lunch. He gathered up some firewood and lit a fire.  Just then a stealthy auburn Fox crept up and panted menacingly, “Goat what are you doing in my territory?”

“I was about to make lunch, Sir Fox.  Delectable boiled sweet potatoes with legumes.”
“Yuck!  Legumes and vegetable gives me indigestion, I would love some meat, real tasty meat if you have some. Wait a minute…  I’ll tell you what, Goat, finish making your lunch, eat it, and then I will eat you.   Hurry up, I am starving!

“I never hurry when I make lunch,” Goat replied. “I need to cook my sweet potatoes thoroughly.  If I don’t, it is I who will have indigestion.”
  “Okay, don’t take too long!”
Goat blew on the fire ardently; he was so engrossed in his task he did not notice the rustling from a nearby bush.  This time a hulking Wolf emerged.  He sniffed the air impatiently and growled, “What is going on here?”
Goat replied, “I was making lunch when Sir Fox showed up.  He asked me to eat my lunch, so I can be his lunch. And he said to do it fast.”
“Is that right?” huffed Wolf.  “Well, in that case, Goat, hurry up and finish making lunch, then eat it so Fox can eat you and then I can eat Fox”
The potatoes were already over- cooked, but Goat refused to eat.  He knew that the moment he reported the food was prepared the real feasting would begin, with his own tender hide as the second course on the menu.  

Just as Goat began to feel he could delay the banquet no longer, a monstrous Tiger with cruel sapphire eyes sprang out from the long grass bordering the clearing.  He curled back his upper lip in a long toothed snarl and demanded to know the purpose of the little gathering.  Goat explained that he was making lunch and that Fox was going to eat him and then Wolf was going to eat Fox.  The Tiger chuckled and gave his blessing with the condition that Wolf would become his dinner at the culmination of the feast.  

Increasingly uneasy with the direction the events were taking, both Fox and Wolf curled up into a corner.  They wanted to run away, but feared they would they make it far as Tiger is so much faster than they were, so they waited their fate. They were both calculating how they would get out alive of this conundrum.

“I wish I was kinder to Goat… Fox sighted.”
“Why did I have to fallow you Fox, I would be in this pickle right now. Tiger drooled wolf noticed, “I bit he is thinking of how tasty I am.”

Goat too was thinking of a way to get out of the mess Fox created when he suddenly got an idea. So he got up and told the predators “I am going to get more firewood.” Then he left. Tiger squinted his eye and was about to bounce on Goat if he tried to escape.  But he got distracted by the sound of Goat hooves was making.

“Goat, why are your feet making  funny  sounds?”
“I am wearing my shoes… Goat replied hesitantly.”
“Shoes huh, show them to me? Goat swallowed hard then showed Tiger his hooves.
“Nice shoes you got there Goat, can you make me a few pairs?”
“I would love too but I do not have any material.”
“What do you need?
“Well…. Goat replied with a sly grin, “Fox skin makes the shoe’s quarter vamp and tongues so strong and ductile.  But really Wolves skin make a sturdy sole and toecaps, when sewn together and dried in the sun, the quarter, vamp and tongue remained malleable, while the  sole and toecap became rigid and make that cool noise when you walk on them. 

When Fox and Wolf heard this, they run away as fast as their legs could carry them. Tiger tore after them to take their hide for the new shoes he now coveted. In the chaos, no one notice that Goat slipping back to his boat and quietly shoving off into the safety of the sea.  

While he was leaving, Goat called back to the frenzied chase on shore “Piman bon nan tet tako li pa bon nan tet ti poul!”  This Haitian adage means be kind to other and the world will be kind to you.  Since that day when Goat life is in peril he always run for the rocky mountain as he know few other animals are able to climb on rocks as he can as they do not have equate rock climbing shoes. Phew thank goodness I was able to think on my feet!

Nov 16, 2011

Alon bel Ti rob

Alon bèl ti rob!
"Wi, sè!"
"Kiyès ki fè'l?"
"Madan Armand!"
"Ak ki machin?"
"Machin a koud!"
"Ki fil?"
"Fil blan!"
"Ki sizo?"
"Sizo Dore."
" Men mwen"
"Tounen'l "
"Men mwen"
Kase fil la

"Zèk ti machin nan, zèk ti machin nan, Kè'w"
Rebise'l ankò
"Zèk ti machin nan, zèk ti machin nan, Kè'w.

"What a beautiful little dress!"
"Yes sister"
"Who made it"
"Mrs. Armand"
"With what machine?"
"Sewing Machines"
"What scissors"
"Golden scissors"
"What thread"
"White thread"
“Turn it over “
“Here it is”
"Turn around"
"Here I am"
"Cut the thread"
Zek little machine, Zek little machine, zek

Oct 26, 2011

Ti Zwazo Kote Ou Prale

 Ti zwazo, kote ou prale?
Mwen prale kay Fiyèt Lalo.
Fiyèt Lalo konn manje timoun.
Si w ale l'ap manje ou tou.
Bri kolobrik. Bri kolobrik.
Rossignol manje corossol

Woul-o woul-o
Lè m soti lavil Aux Cayes
Tout bèt tombe nan bwa
Mademoiselle, voulez-vous danser?
Non, Monsier, je suis fatigueé.


Little bird, "where are you going?"
I am going to Fiyèt Lalo"
"Fiyèt Lalo eat baby birds,
If yo you go there he will eat yo too!"
Make noise  Nightingale, Make noise nightingale
Nightingale ate sysop.

Roll, roll...
When I left Caye city all the bird fell off the tree!
"My lady would you like to dance?"
"No sir , I am too tired."


Dodo Ti Pitit Manman

Dodo ti pitit manman
do-o-do ti pitit manman
Si ou pa dodo krab la va mange'w
Si ou pa dodo krab la va mange'w

Manman ou pala lalé nan maché
papa ou pala lalé la rivié
Si ou pa dodo krab la va mange’w
Si ou pa dodo krab la va mange’w

Dodo titit krab nan kalalou (allegro)
dodo titit krab nan Kalalou (allegro)


Sleep tight sweet little baby
Sleep tight sweet little baby
 If you don't sleep  Crabs  will eat you
if you don't sleep crabs will eat you

Your mother is absent she went to the market
Your father is absent; he went to the river
I you don't go to sleep. The crabs will eat you.
I you don't go to sleep. The crabs will eat you

Oct 20, 2011

Ti lekòl mwen

Ti Lekol Mwen by Fedia Bean. Uploaded with VoiceJam

Ti lekòl mwen
Bèl lekòl mwen
Mwen renmen'w anpil anpil
Se lekòl mwen
Nan lekòl mwen
Yo montre'm fè toutbèl bagay
Tout timoun, tout timoun
Si nou vle vin eklere
pa chita lakay, pa chita lakay
Ann al lekòl toulèjou


My pretty school,
Beautiful school
I love you so very much
This is my school
In my school, I learned a tone of beautiful things
Children! Children!
If you want to be well educated  
Do not stay at home, do not skip school
Let us go to school every day!

Ah C'est Dieu Qui Vous Envoie!

Ah C'est Dieu Qui Vous Envoie by Fedia Bean. Uploaded with VoiceJam

Ha!  C’est Dieu…
Ha, c’est Dieu,qui vous envoie
Ha-a c’est Dieu qui vous envoie 

La Reine mettez-vous à genoux

La Reine levez- vous genoux!

La Reine embrassez qui vous  plaira!


Ha! God sent you...

Ha,   it is God who  sent you to tous

Ha- a, it is God who sent you to us!

My Queen please kneel

My Queen, please rise!

My Queen, kiss whoever pleases you!

Sep 24, 2011

The Magic Orange Tree

Once upon a time a little girl lived in a small village in Haiti.  She lost her mother and then her father when she was seven years old.  Not having any family living close by, she was sent to live with her godmother, who did not have any children. 

The godmother was bitter and cruel because she did not have kids of her own; so she became enraged when she learned she was to take care of her newly orphaned goddaughter.  As soon as the child began living with her, the godmother decided the child was burden and she would get rid of her.

The little girl was very “chetif” (small) for her age for her age.  Still her godmother made her fetch water from a source located three miles away from the village.   She made her cook, clean, and fetch firewood too. The godmother was so mean she only fed the child the leftover scraps from what everyone else had eaten.   When the little girl made “sòs pwa” (bean soup) the godmother only let her lick the pan.  When she made rice with beans, the little girl was only given the “graten” (charred rice at the bottom of the pan).  The child was malnourished, physically abused and neglected. 

The little girl’s situation was deplorable yet she never complained, never rebelled or acted out.  She knew she was an indentured servant; as such, she did as she was told, she kept her mouth shut, and never looked her elders in the eye. The villagers knew of the child’s misfortune so they gave her the name of “Ti Soufri” or Lil’ Martyr; as only a martyr could endure the cruelty the child was subjected to on a daily basis without complaints. But the child submissiveness drove the godmother crazy thus made her even crueler. 

One morning the godmother got up and got dressed.  As soon as the child heard her moving, Lil’ Martyr scrambled up from her “nat jon” (grass mat) where she slept on the floor.  She brought water for godmother to wash her face, and then waited in a corner until needed. When godmother was ready to leave she said to the girl

“Ti fi (little girl) I am going to the market today.  I will be back when I can.  While I am gone I want you to mop the main house, sweep the kitchen and fetch some water for tonight’s cooking.”
“Wi marenn (yes godmother),” The child responded shyly then she disappeared into a dark corner of the kitchen.

Lil’ Martyr’s tummy rumbled but she was too shy and too afraid of her godmother to ask for food.  She had not slept well the previous night as she went to bed with a nearly empty stomach. Then she remembered the trick Haitians often use of sucking on a piece of sea salt to suppress hunger.   Once godmother left, she ran to the kitchen in search of some sea salt to eat.   Alas, her godmother had placed the gourde of salt on a high shelf where she could not reach it.  A single tear escaped the corner of Lil’ Martyr’s eye. Then she quickly wiped it away with the back of her hand then went back to work.  

She began washing dishes; then she cleaned the kitchen, then she fetched water. By midday her godmother was not back and she was not able to find anything to eat. So she tied a piece of rag around her waist.  Lil’ Martyr grimaced a smile twisted with serious hunger pain.
“If I do not eat something soon, I will break an half or pass out!” Lil Martyr said out

Lil’ Martyr dragged her feet as she walked toward the main house.  As soon as she set foot on the stoop, she noticed a basket filled with ripe oranges on her godmother’s dining room table; her mouth watered at the sight.
 If I take one, she thought, will my godmother be mad at me? Perhaps, she meant to give me an orange before she left but forgot, she argued with herself.   I’ll eat one, she finally decided. 

Lil’ Martyr closed the gap between her and the oranges; she took an orange ate it slowly, slice by slice.  She savored every little bit, and if the peel had not been too sour she would have eaten it too.  When she was done eating, she saved the orange seeds in a braid of hair.  Then she drank a lot of water, hoping to stay fuller longer.  She sat down on a rock in the kitchen and waited for her godmother to come back.

When her godmother got back later on that night the first thing she noticed was the missing orange. Her temperament changed; she looked at Lil’ Martyr then said
             “I had three oranges here before I left, and now one is missing. Do you know what             happened to it?”
“I… ” Began Lil’ Martyr
“You took it ‘ti dwèt long’ (little thief).”
“I am so sorry.  I took it because I was so hungry. I thought you meant to give me one but forgot…” she said in a small voice while gazing at her dusty little bare feet.
“That’s your excuse for taking what does not belong to you.  I did not mean to give you anything you little thief. Why would I give you one when you are worthless to me.  You talk as if I should be thinking of your needs. Who do you take me for - your mother?  I am your godmother, child, not your mother!”

Mercilessly, the godmother grabbed a “rigwas” (leather riding crop) and whipped the child until her back bled.  Then she kicked her out of the house.  

  “I fed, clothed and gave you a place to stay and now you steal from me!  I can’t tolerate a child that steals from me.  Go and don’t ever come back.  Scratch that, bring me back my orange and I’ll let you stay here again.”  On that note the godmother went inside and locked the door behind her.
            “I am doomed!” Lil’ Martyr thought.
Lil’ Martyr left her godmother’s house and roamed the moon lit streets blinded by tears.  Filled with despair she took a trail leading to the village cemetery.  She looked for her parents’ tomb; when she found it, she fell on her knees and began crying “Why did you leave me? I am just a child, mama; I can’t survive in this world on my own.  I”, she sniffed, “need you right now…please help me!” Exhausted she fell asleep in the tear-moistened dirt in front of her mother’s tomb.  

The next morning she got up disoriented, dirty and hungrier than ever before. The sun was high in the sky and blinded her. Then she remembered that she needed to produce an orange for her godmother or she would never be able to go back “home” again. Her heart sank in her chest.  She sat up, hugged her knees, and began crying again.  While surveying her surroundings she noticed a small orange tree was growing where she had rested her head in the tear-moistened earth before her mother’s tomb.  Lil’ Martyr frowned, then she said “Hey little orange tree, I do not remember seeing you here last night.  You looked lost and afraid like me. I am going to take care of you. But, you can’t stay here people might step on you. I am going to transplant you to a safer place.”  

Lil’ Martyr grabbed a stick, dug out the little orange tree, and transplanted it to a far corner of the cemetery.  She looked at the tree and said, “You will be safe here, but if you were stronger and taller you would have a better chance to survive. I am going to sing to you because Mama used to sing to me when I was a baby; she said it made me grow.   You are a baby now so I am going to sing to you maybe you will grow big and strong too.”  So Lil’ Martyr put her heart in soul in this little song. 

Ti pey zoranj,
Pouse, pouse, tip ye zoranj
Ti pey zoranj,
pouse pouse , tip pye zoranj
Belmè pa manman!
Ti pye Zoranj grandi, Bopè pa papa
ti pye zoranj grandi.

(Little Orange tree,
Grow, grow and grow.
Sweet Orange tree, orange tree
Grow and grow and grow,
Orange tree.
Godmother is not mother
Orange tree.)

As the little girl sang the tree began growing.  It grew and grew; it practically shot out of the ground. Lil’ Martyr grew big she could not believe her eye.  “So it is true when you sing to tree and people they grow!” The girl stopped singing when the tree was about her height. Then she switched to a different verse.
Ti pye zoranj
 Fleri, fleri tip ye zoranj (2 fwa)
Belmè pa manman! Ti pye zoranj
Ti pye zoranj
 Fleri fleri tip ye zoranj.

(Orange tree,
bloom and bloom
Orange tree, orange tree,
bloom and boom
Orange tree.
Godmother is not real mother,
Orange tree.)

Fast as lightning the tree was covered with white sweet smelling blossoms.  As soon as the child saw the flowers she smiled. She sang fervently and frantically this time. She guessed that maybe the tree was following the instruction from her song.

Ti pye zoranj
Donnen tip ye zoranj donnen (2 fwa)
Belmè Pa manman
 ti pye zoranj
donnen tip pye zoranj

(Bare fruit  and bare fruit .
Orange tree, orange tree,
Barefruit  and bare fruit  
Orange tree.
Godmother is not real mother.
Orange tree)

 Within minute the tree was covered with plump ripe oranges. This time Lil’s Martyr clapped her hands while she sang.  She was now convinced the tree, her tree was listening.

Bèlmè ti zoranj
dousi, ti zoranj dousi(2 fwa)
Bèlmè Pa manman
ti zoranj
Dousi,  dousi
Bèl ti zoranj dousi.

(Ripen and ripen and ripen.
Orange tree, orange tree,
Ripen and ripen and ripen,
Orange tree.
Godmother is not real mother.
Orange tree”

The oranges turned bright yellow like saffron, and each of the branches bowed under their burgeoning weight. 

Lil’ Martyr stopped her singing, “I am so happy you are going to be okay.  I will leave but I will came back to see you every day. Now I need to go search for an orange to repay my godmother.”  She was about to step away when a branch of the orange tree lightly brushed her cheek.  Seven beautiful oranges dropped at her feet. She picked them up then said “Thanks!  One for mama, one for papa one for me and three for godmother!” 

Happy, she skipped over to her parents’ tomb.  She placed an orange over each tomb, said a little thanksgiving prayer and then left. She practically ran to her godmother’s house.  But she had barely reached the stoup when her godmother suddenly emerged from the house and started to scream at her:

“You’re such a terrible child!  Ha! You ran away just to make me go out in the dark and cold to come looking for you last night!” the godmother wailed, waving her hands toward the sky.
“But…” the little girl began, “you said I could come back only when I had the orange. See I got oranges for you!” She raised the oranges toward her godmother.
“Did you steal them?” she retorted. “You must have stolen them; you do not have any money to buy them, and people would never have given a wretch like you such good looking oranges.”

But Lil’ Martyr did not feel fear in her godmother’s presence anymore. She looked her godmother straight in the eye, and explained: 

            “These oranges are mine. A beautiful tree grew out of the ground where my
            tears hit the dirt next to my parents’ tomb.   When I sang the tree grew taller, and then bloomed. I sang some more, and it bore fruit.”

 Lil’ Martyr talked with such confidence her godmother felt provoked. She lunged at the girl; but her flailing claws dug into the oranges in the girl’s outstretched hand instead.  A shock wave bolted through her body as soon as she touched them.  She lost her balance and the oranges flew in the air.  She swerved and convulsed then tumbled from the edge of the stoup and broke her neck. 

Lil’ Martyr was freed of horrible godmother and she inherited all of the woman’s belongings – including her house. She never sold a single orange from her orange tree; however, she always gave them away to whoever was in need.

Mar 21, 2011

"Sansa Kroma" The Legend Behind the Game

This song is based on “Akan” folklore from the tribes of Ghana.  Some say that the song made its way to Haitian villages during the slave trade period.  It recounts the story of an imaginary eagle, or “Sansa Kroma”.
One day Sansa Kroma was soaring high in the sky when she noticed a flock of orphaned eagle chicks.  She hovered above them, then snatched them up and carried them back to her nest where she raised them as if they were her own. 

 The moral of the song is, in African villages when a child is orphaned someone in the village, if not the whole village will provide for the child.

 During the apartheid period in South Africa, people used to flee their homes; some were forced to leave their children behind. These exiled sang Sansa Kroma because they held to the belief that their children would be cared for.

see "Sansa Kroma" the song

Sansa Kroma

Sansa Kroma
Nena yo keke kokomba
Sansa Kroma
Nena yo keke kokomba


Once a flock of chicks’ mother died;
Another came along, 
Snatched the little orphan chicks,
And provided for them…

Haitian kids play this pick-up and-pass game with a shoe. They would gather in a circle, either seating or squatting. One player would take off her shoe and would tie a ribbon to it.

They game would start when the kids began singing “Sansa Kroma…” The players will pass the shoe along to the next person around the circle.

 When the song stops, whoever gets caught with the ribbon-adorned with a colorful ribbon shoe must leave the game. The players will continue to play until everyone is eliminated. The last person standing wins.

Also see "Sansa Kroma"The Legend Behind the Game

Mar 15, 2011

Tant Yaya

Te gen yon ti gramoun yo te rele tant Yaya
Li te gen’w bèl lakou. Li te gen’w bèl lakou.
Tout timoun nan lari yo renmen tant Yaya
Depi yo wè’l pase yo di bonjou tant Yaya.

yo di bonjou tant Yaya.
yo di bonjou tant Yaya.
Yo di, yo di  bonjou tant yaya.

There was an old lady named aunt Yaya.
She had a lovely backyard,
She had a lovely backyard.
All the neighborhood kids really loved aunt Yaya.
Every time they meet her they say “Hello Aunt Yaya”.

They say “hello Aunt Yaya”.
They say “hello Aunt Yaya".
They say hello, they say “hello aunt Yaya”.
They say hello, they say “hello aunt Yaya”

Toi si Bonne

Toi si bonne, toi si parfaite, Qui nous aime avec tant d'amour, Maman c'est aujourd'hui ta fête. Pour tes enfants, quel he...