DESCRIPTION: Tobago patois: A woman tells Diamond Cook that he has been paid for his work or goods (renta), and it's time go; you are a man but not the only one
EARLIEST DATE: 1954 (Elder-Charlotteville)
KEYWORDS: courting rejection commerce nonballad Caribbean
FOUND IN: West Indies(Tobago)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Elder-Charlotteville, p. 51, "No You One Are Man"; Elder-Charlotteville, p. 61, "Diamon Cook" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Elder-Tobago 4, "Diamond Cook" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES [342 words]: The description follows the Elder-Charlottville note on p. 61. "This Tobago banter song is a very good illustration of the power of the female in Caribbean society. She can turn a man out of doors and dispense with his services in favour of another man who brings more yams." "Whatever this word may mean in another context 'banter' for the women in this village connotates ridicule and castigation of another person -- usually another female -- in an impersonal way. There is in banter songs no name calling, i.e. the object of derision is not named but by skillful choice of words and expressions, clues are given... suppressed hostilities projected through the banter song may be waged as seriously as any international 'cold war'" (p. 28).
Women's power over a man is also apparent in Trinidadian calypso where the "sweetman" calypsonian has to guard against the power of the woman supporting him. See, for example, Lord Executor's "My Trouble With Dorothy" ("Now Dorothy you made me tame / You want the Executor to lose his name" also liner notes on "West Indian Rhythm", #22 p. 59, Bear Family Records 10CD BCD 16623 JM, 2006), The Caresser's "Madame Khan" ("I could make me living in an easier way / Than to have a woman licking me every day" also liner notes on "West Indian Rhythm", #9 p. 44), The Tiger's "Gertrude" ("And when I talk about me food / She square up to fight/ She said she wouldn't cook if I kill her dead" also liner notes on "West Indian Rhythm", #108 p. 148), and Alfred Mendes's short story, "Sweetman" (Leah Rosenberg, "Man Sweet, Woman Stronger: Calypso's War with Yard Fiction" (Journal of West Indian Literature, Vol. 9, No. 2 (April 2002), pp. 18-50 (made available online by JSTOR))).
Elder-Tobago: "... Diamond Cook has put in a stock of yams [not stated in the texts] in order to pay for his keep. He has however overstayed his time. He has 'eaten his renta done' gotten sufficient service for the value of the yams. There are other men so he must give way. He must leave at once. The lady laughs in his face...." - BS
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