Panama’m Tonbe

from by Lakou Mizik

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about

One of the most famous songs in the Haitian traditional repertoire. This song is based on an old proverb that stems from the story of Haitian president Florvill Hyppolite, who in the late 1890s, as legend has it, was en route to Jacmel in southern Haiti to put down a rebellion. On the way, his panama hat fell, and soon after he had a heart attack and died. Now in Haiti, whenever someone’s hat falls on the ground it means trouble is coming. The songs’ chorus says “My panama hat has fallen, please pick it up for me” which is a call for help against the impending trouble. This version takes the traditional story and expands the idea into the larger concept of troubles that Haiti has faced, referencing as far back as the revolution of 1804, and asking the ancestors and elders to help Haiti pick up it’s metaphorical “Panama hat” so that it can move forward.

lyrics

Verse
I am coming from Jacmel’s city, heading to Lavallee
Arriving at Bainet Station, my Panama hat falls down (x2)

Chorus
My Panama hat has fallen, my hat Panama has fallen
My hat Panama has fallen, those who are behind me pick it up (x2)

(Verse)
(Chorus)

It has fallen, pick it up for me, what shall I say to the elders
It has fallen, pick it up for me, what shall I say to my ancestors
It has fallen, pick it up for me, what shall I tell to the elders
It has fallen, pick it up for me, what shall I say to Lakou

It has fallen, since 1804 they said that we’re free
It has fallen, chains left our feet but stayed in our mind
It has fallen, that’s why our country can’t develop
Time is passing, we are getting older
I say it has fallen

It has fallen, since 1804 they said that we are free
It has fallen, chains left our feet but stayed in our mind
It has fallen, that’s why our country can’t develop, time flies
Lakou

It has fallen, pick it up for me, what shall I say to my mother
It has fallen, pick it up for me, what shall I say to my country
It has fallen, pick it up for me, what shall I say to my elders
It has fallen, pick it up for me, what shall I say to Lakou
It has fallen, pick it up for me

credits

from Wa Di Yo, released March 26, 2016

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Lakou Mizik Haiti

The Lakou Mizik project is a multi-media celebration of Haitian music and culture.

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