A Creole Wake Song

During his field study in New Roads, LA, Thomas Klingler, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Tulane University, recorded Pointe Coupéean Mabel Battley singing a Louisiana Creole wake song.

Traditionally, it was common to hold a wake (veillée) when someone died. These were typically held at the home of the deceased, where friends and relatives would gather and remain late into the night, drinking coffee and singing songs.

A Creole Wake Song  (audio link currently not available from Tulane)

 

Creole lyrics

Zadyè jadyè chèr sèr--

Zadyè jadyè chèr sèr

No senyèr m a di, ye

Il ora pitchye de nou, Moman

Mòman il e mò.

Mòman, Mòman il e mò

No senyèr m a di, ye

Il ora pitchye de noun, zadye

Zadye chèr frè.

Jadyè jadyè chèr frèr

No senyèr m a di

Il ora pitchye de noun.

(Now I am getting kind of tired)

English translation

Good-bye, good-bye dear Sister--

That's 'Good-bye, Sister'

Good-bye, good-bye dear Sister

Our Lord told me

He will have pity on us, Mother

Mother he (she?) is dead.

Mother, mother he is dead

Our Lord told me

He will have pity on us, good-bye

Good-bye dear Brother.

Good-bye, good-bye dear Bother

Our Lord told me

He will have pity on us.

(Now I'm getting kind of tired.)

transcribed and translated by Thomas Klingler, Ph.D.