Lesson 2: Learning “J’ouvert Barrio”
Sing “J’ouvert Barrio”
- Listen to “J’ouvert Barrio.”
- J’ouvert, which means “daybreak” in Trinidadian Creole, is a celebration that happens at the start of Carnival. Calypso bands march and play music, and everyone dresses in costumes and sings and dances.
- The chorus to “J’ouvert Barrio” is sung in Trinidadian Creole. The verses are sung in English.
- Learn the lyrics to the chorus.
- Learn the melody to the chorus, and put the lyrics and melody together.
Experience Syncopation in “J’ouvert Barrio”
- Listen to “J’ouvert Barrio” while clapping a steady beat.
- Now, have your students try speaking the lyrics while patting the beat on their laps. Exaggerate the “vert” and the “pas” of the phrase so that your students can feel the change in rhythm from the rest of the chorus.
Which words feel different from the rest of the chorus?
Notice that your hands are up in the air when you say or sing those words.
- Explain to your students that if a word is performed when their hands are up in the air, that word is the syncopation, or off the beat.
- Have your students speak the rhythm of the melody, adding a movement such as a stomp or a hop to the two syncopated notes to help them stand out.
- Sing the melody of “J’ouvert Barrio” adding your new syncopated movements.
Explore Calypso Movement in “J’ouvert Barrio”
- Play the recording of “J’ouvert Barrio” and ask students to set the steady beat of the song through clapping.
- Explain that when people dance together during the Carnival parade, it is called a jump-up. One of the steps they do is called chipping.
- Chipping is a simple step. You walk in time to the music, stepping on every beat, shuffling your feet a little, and adding hip movement to the step.
- Play the recording of “J’ouvert Barrio.” Have students practice chipping as they move in a circle or around the room.
- Ask students to do the chipping movement during the refrain and improvise their own movements during verses.
- The limbo is a traditional dance contest from Trinidad that is sometimes considered the national dance. It was popularized in the US by Chubby Checker and continues to be a favorite party game.
- If you are in-person with your students, take a long stick or bar and have two students each hold one end at about shoulder level while playing “J’ouvert Barrio” or “Mary Ann.” If students are at home, they can do the same with a broomstick or yard stick and a family member or caregiver.
- Have the rest of the students form a line and pass under the bar leaning backwards, with their backs facing the floor, without touching the bar. Anyone who touches the bar is out.
- After all the students have passed through, lower the bar. Keep going around until the last person remains who can successfully limbo under the bar.
Musical Word Wall
Add the words chipping, jump-up, limbo, rhyme and syncopation to the Musical Word Wall.
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