Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Auld Lang Syne in Jamaican style

Published:Sunday | January 3, 2016 | 1:00 AMMel Cooke
Scottish poet and lyricist, Robert Burns
John Holt is one Jamaican who has done a version of Auld Lang Syne.
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In 1786, the Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns almost came to Jamaica to live and work on a slave plantation. However, even as he prepared to come to work as an overseer/bookkeeper, Burns finally got a deal to publish his first book: Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect.

The book was successful and Burns did not come to Jamaica, going on to become a world-renowned poet and Scotland's treasure. However, a few days ago, many Jamaicans would have sung a Robert Burns piece, probably without knowing that they were.

Auld Lang Syne, the standard New Year's celebratory song, given chorale treatment on the cusp of midnight, was written by Burns as a poem in 1788:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my jo,

For auld lang syne,

We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,

For auld lang syne,

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp!

And surely I'll be mine!

And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

Chorus

We twa hae run about the braes

And pu'd the gowans fine;

But we've wander'd mony a weary foot

Sin auld lang syne

Chorus

We twa hae paidl'd i' the burn,

Frae mornin' sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar'd

Sin auld lang syne

Chorus

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!

And gie's a hand o' thine!

And we'll tak a right guid willy waught,

For auld lang syne.

Chorus

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And long, long ago.

Chorus

And for long, long ago, my dear

For long, long ago,

We'll take a cup of kindness yet,

For long, long ago

And surely you'll buy your pint-jug!

And surely I'll buy mine!

And we'll take a cup of kindness yet,

For long, long ago.

Chorus

We two have run about the hills

And pulled the daisies fine;

But we've wandered manys the weary foot

Since long, long ago.

Chorus

We two have paddled in the stream,

From morning sun till dine;

But seas between us broad have roared

Since long, long ago.

Chorus

And there's a hand, my trusty friend!

And give us a hand of yours!

And we'll take a deep draught of goodwill

For long, long ago.

Chorus

There are two melodies to Auld Lang Syne. The more popular version is not the one Burns used, but his preferred tune is still performed by traditional singers. It is also the one used by the Jamaicans who have done Auld Lang Syne. Among them are John Holt and Carlene Davis.

Holt did Auld Lang Syne on his 1986 album, The Reggae Christmas Hits, while Davis did it on the 1992 Christmas Reggae Rock. In both cases, Auld Lang Syne closed the album.

Deejay Dillinger, who will perform at Startime on Saturday at Mas Camp, also has a version of Auld Lang Syne, as does Dobby Dobson.

 

* Information on Robert Burns and Auld Lang Syne taken from www.scotland.org, www.scotsman.com and www.robertburns.org.