You fraid de weather?

An ode to my favourite soca mondegreens

MONDEGREEN (mŏndə-grēn): A series of words that result from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or song lyric. e.g.: Find a place, make dis Bajan move for Find a place, make a stage and move (Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez’ M.A.S. or Make A Stage).

A stringband of soca mondegreens emerged out of a pow-wow at the Caribbean Beat offices last Friday. I won’t call any names, but two of our staff were of the belief that the Roy Cape All Stars & Blaxx tune, Dutty, featured the following lyrics:

Don’t fraid rain
Like you fraid de weather

The rest of us had to put them out of their misery and point out that, following with the impetus of the song about duttiness (dirtiness) and confrontational jamette mas (from the French diametre, or the line of respectability below which the jamettes existed) being the origin and lifeblood of Trinidad Carnival (and by extension West Indian-style Carnivals), the lyrics were indeed:

Doh fraid we
Like you fraid we bruddah/breddah

We had to explain that breddah was like “brother” and akin to other utterances like “breds”, perhaps derived from “brethren”, as “sis” might be derived from “sistren” and be a stand in for “sister”.

If you’d like to weigh in, you can listen to Dutty online for free on the Toronto-Lime website. But in the end, we were able to extract a Standard English translation from one of our assistant editors, which summarised the lyrics thus:

Don’t be afraid of us
For, it is as if you are afraid of us, brother!

What are your favourite soca, reggae, zouk and other Caribbean mondegreens? Caribbean Beat wants to know (and laugh)!

7 thoughts on “You fraid de weather?

  1. From: Egbert Shillingford Jr. – Dominica Having read the book “World Class Trinidad & Tobago – An Area of Abundance,” I was struck by just how many individuals in the medical science field have made stupendous discoveries that mankind has benefited from – the discoverer of the relationship between the placenta and the womb, who is known as the father of modern obstretics and gynaecology; the co-discoverer of the first oncovirus, the key cause of cancer; the pioneerig surgeon for the in-situ saphenous vein bypass; and the author of the 1931 book on abdominal surgery that is still the formeost book used in medical schools worldwide. At present two young scientists are pre-eminent in their field – Dr Stephon Alexander, the research physicist in String Theory and Cosmology; and Dr. Andre Cropper, whose OLED patent facilitated the development of flat panel displays used in laptops, flat screen TVs and ATM machines. These are things that I did not know until I read the book.


  2. LOL.. this is sooo funny. I saw a lot of people mouthing wrong lyrics all Carnival Tuesday. But the best is my son, who sings "when you wine on me I get pole step" instead of "when you wine on me I get cold sweat". But then he's two, what's other people's excuse.


  3. For an entire season, a friend of mind was convinced — even used to get into arguments about it — that Alison Hinds' "Faluma" was actually called "Kadooment", and used to sing it accordingly….None of you young 'uns will probably remember the days when you could buy typed song lyrics (transcribed, it would appear, by people with similar lyric-discerning abilities as Attillah's nephs) from vendors downtown (the early 1970s version of music piracy?). One avid patron of these vendors was a young woman who used to work with my family, and I remember particularly the lyrics to "Killing Me Softly", whose transcriber had turned the line:"I felt all flushed with fever, embarrassed by the crowd."to"I felt all flushed with fever, in there is by the fire."


  4. Snow's Informer – sung by my friend's little sister 'cane farmer'…Garnet Silk's Christ in his Kingly character, remixed by my sistren Susie Wong 'I skinny skinny character'…or an old classicI love rock and roll, indigenised by a cousin:'I love Bois Canot!'And the best one from my nephs in a while, singing along to Junior Gong's road to Zion:'John will be waiting there, we a shout, John will be waiting there!'


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