"Jamaica Farewell" is a Jamaican-style folk song (mento).[1] The lyrics for the song were written by Lord Burgess (Irving Burgie), an American-born, half-Barbadian songwriter. It is about the beauties of the West Indian Islands.

"Jamaica Farewell"
Song by Harry Belafonte
from the album Calypso
Songwriter(s)Irving Burgie

Harry Belafonte recording Edit

The song appeared on Harry Belafonte's 1956 album Calypso. It reached number 14 on the Billboard Pop chart.[2]

Background Edit

Many, including Belafonte himself, have said that the song was popular in the West Indies since long before Burgess. It is believed that Burgess compiled and modified the song from many folk pieces to make a new song. Burgess acknowledged his use of the tune of another mento, "Iron Bar".[1] The line "ackee, rice, saltfish are nice" refers to the Jamaican national dish.

Covers Edit

Artists who have covered "Jamaica Farewell" include:[3]

In other languages Edit

This song has been translated into many languages. For example, in Bengali, there exist several translations, some of which are quite well known. One Bengali version of the song became an important anthem for the Naxalite revolutionary movement in the 1970s and thus has significance for Bengali intellectuals in Kolkata society. The Bangladeshi band Souls also sang their own translated version in early 1990s, which instantly became a hit in Bangladesh.[citation needed]

The song "Iron bar" was published along with Swedish lyrics by Ulf Peder Olrog in 1947 as "Mera bruk i baljan boys" in his "Rosenblom i Västindien" sheet music album. Olrog had earlier in 1947 travelled in the West Indies and wrote down some "native songs" in Jamaica, of which 3 were published with Swedish lyrics. The song was a large record hit with singer Anders Börje. Later on, "Jamaica Farewell" was covered with lyrics in Swedish by Schytts as Jamaica farväl, scoring a 1979 Svensktoppen hit.[5] Streaplers recorded a 1967 Swedish-language version of the song, with the lyrics "Långt långt bort". Their version became a 1968 Svensktoppen hit.[6]

German translations are "Abschied von Kingston Town" ("Farewell from Kingston Town") by Bruce Low and "Weil der Sommer ein Winter war" ("For the Summer was a Winter") by Nana Mouskouri.[citation needed]
The Vietnamese translation is "Lời Yêu Thương" ("Love Words") by Đức Huy

Parodies Edit

Soundtrack appearances Edit

This song was featured in the 2009 video game, Rabbids Go Home, at numerous points in the game. It further was featured in episode 8 of season 1 of the TV series, Barry.

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Larry Birnbaum (2013). Before Elvis: The Prehistory of Rock 'n' Roll. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 2024. ISBN 978-0-8108-8638-4.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955–2012. Record Research. p. 70.
  3. ^ "Search for "Jamaica Farewell"". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Chris Denning – Jamaica Farewell". Discogs.com. 1978. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Svensktoppen 1979". Sverigesradio.se. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Svensktoppen 1968". Sverigesradio.se. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  7. ^ "Allan Sherman – Shticks and Stones". Genius.com. Retrieved 4 April 2022.

External links Edit