Linstead Market

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Linstead Market" is a Jamaican folk song of the mento type[1] that tells of a mother who goes to the market with her ackee fruit but does not sell any, with the result that her children will go hungry.[2]


Possibly the earliest publication of the tune with words occurs in Walter Jekyll's 1907 book, Jamaican Song and Story, as item 121, pages 219-220. In Jekyll, the lyrics are as follows:[verification needed]

Carry me akee go a linstead market
not a quatee wud sell
cary me akee go a linstrad market not a quatee wud sell
oh lawd! wat a night! wat a night! what a saturday night!

In Helen H. Roberts' collection of folk song variants based on field work in Jamaica, published in 1925, the version in Jekyll is reproduced, followed by twelve variants. In some of these, "Sollas market" replaces "Linstead market". (Sollas market became Jubilee Market, located on West Queen Street in Kingston.)

For example, Roberts includes a version as sung in Christiana:

Sold me akee, go to Sollas market.
Not a quatty would sell.
Sold me akee, go to Sollas market.
Not a quatty would sell.
So whole o' Saturday night,
so not a light, not a bite.
So not a quatty would sell.

In 1975, Oxford University Press published "Linstead Market" in Olive Lewin's collection of Jamaican folk-songs, with these words:

Carry me ackee go a Linstead market,
Not a quatty wut sell,
Carry me ackee go a Linstead market,
Not a quatty wut sell.
Lawd wat a night, not a bite,
Wat a Satiday night.
Lawd wat a night, not a bite,
Wat a Satiday night.

On page 14, Dr. Lewin explains that "Linstead Market still remains a picturesque small town market. The song is now often taken at a much faster pace for dancing but was originally sung slow and plaintively by a mother who couldn't sell enough at the market to feed her children. A quatty was a small copper coin of very small value."

In all the versions mentioned above except the earliest, the melody is written in 2/4 or 4/4 time, but in Jekyll, the time signature is 6/8.

The melody has been arranged for solo voice with piano. One of the earliest such publications was "Linstead Market: a Jamaican Folk-song," by Arthur Benjamin, Boosey & Hawkes, 1947 (5 pages). Among choral arrangements is one of the same title by A. H. Green, published by Oxford University Press in 1967 (8 pages). The song was included on the compact disc " The King's Singers in 1992. The song was recorded by the English folk group The Spinners, sung by their Caribbean singer Cliff Hall. The song is also published in modern collections, such as Songs of the Americas, arranged by Margery Hargest John, published by Boosey & Hawkes, London, 1993.

Hymn tune[edit]

Quite a different direction of development was the inclusion of "Linstead Market," as LINSTEAD, arranged as a hymn tune by Doreen Potter in Break Not the Circle, Hope Publishing Co., 1975. Here, the melody is found with a hymn text by Fred Kaan. This arrangement appears in at least five hymnals:

Presbyterian Hymnal (1990), no. 514
With One Voice (Lutheran, 2000), no. 754
Worship and Rejoice (2001), no. 698
Sing! A New Creation (CRC, 2002), no. 258
Singing the New Testament (2008), no. 166


External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Walter Jekyll, Jamaican Song and Story: Annancy stories, digging sings, ring tunes, and dancing tunes, London: David Nutt, 1907. Reprinted by Dover Publications, ISBN 0-486-43720-5( pbk); 9780486437200 (pbk), 2005.
  • Olive Lewin, Beeny Bud: 12 Jamaican Folk-Songs for Children, collected and arranged for schools, London: Oxford University Press, 1975.
  • Olive Lewin, Rock It Come Over: the Folk Music of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2000.
  • Helen H. Roberts, "A Study of Folk Song Variants Based on Field Work in Jamaica," The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 38, no. 148 (April–June 1925), pp. 149–216.