Blast From The Past!
Featuring noteworthy events and individuals in Spring Village’s Past
In past years, Burru has been a vital part of the culture of
According to the History of
Jamaica, the slaves brought a form of drumming from
The drummers comprised of certain key men in the village. The men involved were Albert Bryan known as Sall Cup or Moochu, Gleaner Boy, Rob Blake (Papa Rob), Wilbert and Blood Bath (Richards).
Sall cup was the main organizer, keeper of the drums and composer of lyrics. Wilbert was the main singer and was always very comical when he sang.
Burru was an event that was highly anticipated by villagers, in that one would be anxious to hear if their life stories would be part of the songs and hence become part of the annals of the village gossip column. They would breathe a sigh of relief if their story was not spilled. The songs themselves were not meant to be malicious but to bring humor and much gaiety to the community on Christmas day. This was the order of the day as the musicians moved to different locations with a small crowd behind them chiming in and tagging along to help heighten the festivities and sample the free liquor.
The event would start at about eight in the morning and end by early afternoon. It would build to a climax by the time it reached the Bailey bar and ended with a crescendo at the last bar at the end of the village.
The songs, with their lyrics being the highlight of the occasion, were sung in typical call and response fashion. They would have a general structure where it would be easy to insert names or gossip lines. An example of this is shown below.
Typical Burru song Structure
Mi know wan bwoy name < fill in name> ---Call
Him come from rown a Rockstone
One day him <fill in gossip>
Den him fine out seh <fill in gossip>
De poor bwoy <fill in gossip>
An now him hafi <fill in gossip>
Maghandeo ma ma ghandi
An now him hafi <fill in gossip>
It should be noted, that
although Burru can still be found in many parts of
generally performed in different contexts. For Rastafarians, it is used as part
of their religious chants, in other environs it is used more generally in folk
singing, in the Jonkanoo context it is used to accompany
dance. The form used in
Although Burru has not been performed in the village for many years, vestiges of it can still be seen in village life at events like nine-nights (nightly gatherings at the home of the deceased, also an African tradition). Some of the earlier Burru performers like Gleaner boy, Blood-Bath and Cuttie are sometimes present to grace the occasion not so much with drums as times past but with their voices and sometimes a didgeridoo (A hollow pipe 4-5 feet long, which is being blown into to create a deep resonant bass rhythm).
The action usually comes into full swing after a few shots of rum, where the notes get longer and longer.
Sall cup passed on in September of 2003. He has left a spirit in the community that will never be duplicated. For decades he has been the fuel behind the Spring Village Burru tradition. Mucho was a friend of most, if not all Village people. He and his contribution will certainly be missed
Read more about the origins of Burru and Parang:
Rastafarian influence in Jamaican music: http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:iqpb8f4ToQ8J:www.worldbeatcenter.org/media/Newsletter/63.pdf+Burru+jamaica&hl=en
The Story of Jamaican Music: http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/features/reggae/history_intro.shtml
Jonkunnu - Meet The Characters: http://www.jcdc.org.jm/jonkunnu_characters.htm
Jamaica Music In depth: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/jamaica/0093020358.html
Impact of Parang on Language: http://www.nalis.gov.tt/music/t&tHISTORY_Parang-SpanishHeritage.htm
Previous editions of Blast from the Past: