Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Halloween Mix 2007 Track 2 - Dillinger's Duppy Boasty

This wacky picture that I found on the web on a Japanese blog, that I couldn't decipher, does a good job at visually illustrating to those who are unfamiliar with the duppy... a fairly common reoccuring theme in a bunch of these spooky tunes from the little island in the Caribbean.

To quote from my post in October of 2005...

"Jamaican society has long been steeped in superstition by way of its aural folklore rooted in ancestral Africa. The concept of the “duppy” or ghost comes from a West African belief that each human holds 2 souls. Upon departure from the living, the first soul goes to heaven for judgment; the second remains here among the living. In order to summon a duppy someone would have to perform an “obeah” or voodoo ritual that involves tossing rum and coins onto a grave. The spirit would then rise from its grave and go out causing mayhem. In Jamaican folklore the breath of a duppy is said to cause disease and its touch causes fits. The duppy is “considered the personification of all the evil found in men.”

In "Duppy Boasty," taken from a 1988 7" on the Romantic label, DJ legend Dillinger (born Lester Bullocks in 1953) disagrees that the duppy is the personificaton of all evil and argues that in fact being a duppy isn't really as bad as its cracked up to be and that there are some things attainable being dead that the common person in Jamaica would never be able to aquire in life. First, Dillinger reasons that the duppy has reason to boast because he owns his own "home" in the cemetery that no living person would ever be able to rent or steal from him; a snide comment on the antiquated housing/land ownership system in JA. He then goes on to explain that because a duppy is technically dead he can look as rank, nasty, fat or slim as he wants and he has to answer to no one; a crack at vanity amongst the living. The other points Dillinger raises in the song are not as satirical so I won't go any further with my explanation of the content.

Towards the end of the song the duppy gets to speak his mind and his ghostly reasoning that a living man claiming to be fresh (or clean) when the duppy is a ghost and therefore wears no flesh makes complete sense... at least around Halloween.

Track 2

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