25 October 2010

no woman, no cry

My dear younger sister who is much more endowed than I gave me and Lakay this wonderful gift certificate for the itunes store! (mwah! mwah! thank you heaps!) Lakay and I have been into some downloading galore this weekend. First thing on my list was this song by Bob Marley, "No Woman, No Cry," which got me curious ever since my sis-in-law J shared it in Facebook. I liked the melancholic genre of the song. There's something so sad, yet hopeful, in it. I then looked it up and found these facts here.

One important detail that I got is this:
The original line of the song is "No, Woman, Nuh cry." Nuh is Jamacian for "don't," so what is meant by the lyric is No, Woman, Don't cry... He's leaving and reassuring her that the slum they live in won't get her down, that everything will be alright and "don't shed no tear."

"Her" refers to Marley's wife, with whom he lived in the slums in Jamaica. This song powerfully captures how husband and wife struggle with despair about their poverty. I am particularly annoyed by some imbeciles online who interpret this song as Marley's way of saying women should not cry. It's not that the husband was detached from the situation, but that he was there with the wife, giving her the very words she needed to hear:

"Little darling, don't she'd no tears, no woman no cry
Say, say, said I remember when we used to sit
In the government yard in Trenchtown
And then Georgie would make the fire light
As it was, love would burn on through the night
Then we would cook cornmeal porridge
Of which I'll share with you
My feet is my only carriage
So I've got to push on thru
Oh, while I'm gone
Everything 's gonna be alright, everything 's gonna be alright
Oh, my little sister
Don't she'd no tears
No woman no cry"
(lyrics copied and edited from here)

This poignant picture of a husband and wife is not uncommon, not just in tv dramas, but also in real life. But no matter how it is portrayed, the part that I find most moving is how husband and wife face it together, as a team, as partners. That very fact is enough to give one a sense of hope.

Take it away, bob marley!

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