Portland Jamaica’s Marvelous Mento Songs!

What on Earth is Mento?

To start with, a shorter mento lesson (with a very little assistance from wikipedia.com): Mento is a style of Jamaican folk audio that predates and has considerably motivated ska and reggae songs. Mento normally attributes acoustic devices, these as acoustic guitar, banjo, hand drums, and the rumba box – a huge mbira, or thumb piano, in the condition of a box that can be sat on when performed. The rumba box carries the bass portion of the new music.

Mento draws on musical traditions brought to Jamaica by African slaves. The lyrics of mento tracks frequently deal with features of each day lifestyle in a light-weight-hearted and humorous way. It has also been explained that “Mento is utilised to ridicule members of the social team or censure them for some misdeed”. Some of my favourite track titles are “Bitter Cassava Killed Joe Brown“, “Donkey Want Water“, “Love in the Cemetary“, and of system, “Massive Bamboo“.

Mento is typically perplexed with calypso, a kind of songs that originated in Trinidad & Tobago. Though the two share quite a few similarities, they are different and distinctive musical sorts. In section, the distinctions stem from the differing colonial histories of the two West Indian Islands, as Jamaican new music does not have the Spanish influences located in other Caribbean musical designs. In actuality, some of singer Harry Belafonte’s substantial hit documents in the 1950s – like “Man Smart, Girl Smarter” – were being definitely mento tracks but were being promoted as calypso mainly because visitors could not distinguish among mento & calypso.

If you enjoy Jamaican reggae new music but imagine you’ve got hardly ever read mento in advance of, get another hear to “Whatcha Gonna Do” by Peter Tosh (the mento tune “Charley’s Cow” but with new lyrics). You will also find threads of mento as a result of many music by Bob Marley and The Wailers, Bunny Wailer, and other perfectly-regarded reggae artists. It was not unusual for ska and reggae artists to blend in mento melodies to their much more modern tunes. After you know what mento is, you will hear it often.

Most-Identified Mento Band Right now?

The Jolly Boys from Port Antonio, Jamaica, are the most-recognized mento band in the entire world currently. Since their development a lot more than 56 yrs back in 1955, they have done all through Jamaica at all the renowned accommodations. Most usually they carried out along with a dance troupe. Just one of these troupes was led by Albert Minott, at that time an occasional Jolly Boys member and now its recent lead singer. Envision travellers in the British colonial ’40s and ’50s swaying to this exciting & laid-again Jamaican folk tunes and Minott’s trademark fireplace-having and hand-going for walks antics – sweet.

The Jolly Boys (identified at the time as Navy Island Swamp Boys) ended up also favorites of Errol Flynn and performed frequently at private house events in his Port Antonio residence on Port Antonio’s Navy Island (owned by Flynn). I visualize mento’s saucy lyrics, which boasted about sexual escapades, consuming and fantastic instances, would have been ideal up Errol Flynn’s alley. In simple fact, legend has it that Errol Flynn named the team The Jolly Boys simply because they gave him a “jolly” feeling when he listened to them enjoy.

Although artists have arrive in and out of the group more than the many years, the latest Jolly Boys are: Albert Minott (guide vocals and guitar), Joseph “Powda” Bennett (vocals and maracas), Derrick “Johnny” Henry (vocals and rumba box), Allan Swymmer (percussion), Egbert Watson (banjo), Donald Waugh (banjo), Lenford “Brutus” Richards (guitar), and Dale Virgo (percussion).

The best aspect of it all is that the Jolly Boys are even now accomplishing soon after 50+ decades so, if you want to master much more about mento tunes, you can nonetheless take pleasure in this aged-time songs type in particular person. They are the household band at GeeJam resort in Portland, Jamaica. If you won’t be able to see them execute are living, you can pay attention to their mento songs on the net or capture a glimpse of them in Denzel Washington’s motion picture, “The Mighty Quinn”.

Do not pass up an prospect to get pleasure from this uniquely Jamaican tunes. You won’t regret it!

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