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Mento Video

 

Page last revised: 8/12/17

 

 

It Can Happen to You  is a 1956 production by the Jamaica Film Unit on the dangers of 'careless sexual behaviour and its consequences, specifically syphillis'. Lord Power and his band provide mento for the opening credits, and are seen playing "Linstead Market" outside of a post office at 5:40. The film will also be of interest to ska/Don Drummond fans, as it has a rare film appearance by his ill fated girlfriend, the dancer Anita 'Margarita' Mahfood.
 


   



Download the video:

MPG file format
(Large file, better quality)-
Pocomania mento 1939 (39 MB)

Real file format
(Small, low quality)-
Pocomania mento 1939 (1.8 MB)

Here is a clip of a folk/mento/Pocomania rendition of "Linstead Market" and "Sweetie Charlie". The singers and dancers are backed by acoustic guitar and a three piece drum section. It comes from an American movie originally called "Pocomania" and later re-titled "The Devil's Daughter", a name it shares with several other movies. From 1939, its the earliest video of Jamaican music I've encountered.

This scene opens the film. Colby Graham has IDed the location as Hope Botanical Gardens. Later in the movie, there is a Pocomania performance, somewhat bastardized, as its been repurposed into a scene of voodoo in service of the film's plot. Anyone curious to see it can purchase the film from Amazon very inexpensively.

This was rediscovered by Dr. Leah Rosenberg (Florida State University) and Leonardo Vidigal (Federal University 

of Minas Gerais - UFMG), Brazil, who brought this to my attention. He is the editor of a reggae Brazilian webzine called Massive Reggae. Leah's research has identified some of performers. Randolph Williams is joined by Nina Mae McKinney and Ida James. IT also shows that the picture was a produced and directed by Arthur Leonard from an original story by George Terwilllger and was to be called Pocomania.


 





Download the video:

MOV file format-
Mento (9.1 MB)

Courtesy of Peter Gittins of Reggae Films UK  (www.reggaefilms.co.uk) here is a nice clip.

First comes a series of soundless clips (from old home movies) of various mento bands performing at hotels, etc, as two people discuss the scene in the 1950s and 1960s. The fist, Peter has identified as:

Keith Scott, who used to work at Federal's pressing plant in the early '60s

The other is Dennis Syndrey.

It's followed by a clip from 2002 of Lord Tanamo getting back to his mento roots at the Legends of Ska concert (featuring said Dennis Syndrey). See here for more on this historic show.

 



Download the video:

MPG file format-
Mento Band  (13.8 MB)

Here's a very brief clip (with some
documentary-style narration interrupting
it) of an unknown mento band from the
late 1970 (?) performing "Big Bamboo".

It comes courtesy of Peter Gittins
of Reggae Films UK ,
 www.reggaefilms.co.uk  

Discussions about the 1970s popular Canadian singer Anne Murray do not typically veer towards mento or Jamaican folk music. So imagine Dan Neely's surprise when browsing a budget bin of DVDs, his eye was caught by one called, "Anne Murray in Jamaica" and discovered that it included performance footage of "Come to Jamaica" by the mento band The Joy Makers and a complete performance of "Solas Market" by The Jamaica Folk Singers. These can be seen from the links below.

The Joy Makers are not seen until the end of the clip.  

Thanks for the heads up Dan! 
 

This DVD of a 1978 television special includes other Jamaican music content. The Jamaica Folk Singers cover the Anne Murray song "Snowbird". The Jamaican National Dance Theatre Company performing "The Cumina". Jamaican calypso singer Lord Laro duets with Anne on "On and On" and performing a solo calypso called "Imagine". And a middle-of-the-road calypso medley of "Mama Look A Boo Boo", "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" and another song, is sung by Anne, Lord Laro, Valerie Harper and Ruth Buzzi. The program concludes with Anne singing "Jamaica Farewell".
 



Download the video:

Windows Media file format-

Anne Murray and The Joy Makers (high quality) (42MB)

Anne Murray and The Joy Makers (low quality)(10MB)



 

Download the video:

Windows Media file format-

The Jamaica Folk Singers
(high quality) (41MB)

The Jamaica Folk Singers
(low quality) (7MB)



Download the video:

Windows Media file format-
Early Theodore Miller (3.1 MB)

Real file format-
Early Theodore Miller (.7 MB)

Here's a very nice performance, dating perhaps from the 1960s, by a fiddle-based mento group. Although the band is unknown (as is the origin of this clip) the band-leader fiddler is recognizable as Theodore Miller. Check out the hand he gets for some fancy bow work. The video quality is not great, but the sound is clear.

The performance is of the old folk/mento standard, "Nobody's Business", perhaps best known today from the Wailers' version with Peter Tosh on lead vocals. Theodore Miller can also be seen performing in the T. Miller Band in the video described below, and on the 1993 CD "Dance Music and Working Songs From Jamaica" by The Lititz Mento Band.


There are other mento video clips on this site to see. These are listed below:



 

Video of five songs from a live 2003 performance by the late Stanley Beckford with The Blue Glaze Mento Band (featuring the late Vincent Price) have been added to the Stanley Beckford page.

Go to the video on the following page:

Stanley Beckford



 

Theodore Miller and band can be seen performing again a decade or two later at the conclusion of an 8.5 minute clip. This fine performance is preceded by interviews (primarily with Louise Bennett) and other musical performances.

Go to the video on the following page:

Edric Connor, Louise Bennett & Jamaican Folk

Or see the much shorter YouTube version below



 

The Jolly Boys performs in this video clip courtesy of The BBC from 2003. Though only 46 seconds long and blurry, the clip still doesn't fail to delight.

 

 

Go to the video on the following page:

Jolly Boys



 

Lord Flea performs two songs, dances and even speaks a line in this 7.5 minute collection of clips from the 1957 movie, "Bob Girl Goes Calypso".

Go to the video on the following page:

Lord Flea

Or see the YouTube version below



 

Sugar Belly explains the construction of his bamboo sax and gives a brief performance in this minute long clip.

Go to the video on the following page:

Sugar Belly

Or see the YouTube version below

 

Here is a round up of mento video clips found on YouTube:

Here is a nice 1970s (?) clip of The Pepper Mento Band performing a trio of songs.

 

Thanks to a heads up from Roger "Ras Rojah" Steffens, here are two songs by Gilzene & The Blue Light Mento Band:  First is "Mento Party", a song adapted from "Hog In Me Minty": 

 

Next is "Sly Mongoose" and a variation of "Matty Walla Lef":

 


Courtesy of Dan Neely,  a June of 2009 video of The Blue Glaze Mento Band performing
Toots And The Maytals' "Sweet And Dandy". For more information visit the
"More Resurgence CD Scans page" here.

 

  The trailer for the soon to be released "Reggae in the Ruff" opens with a solo rendition of "Island In The Sun" performed on rumba box and voice.

Thanks to Peter Gittins
of Reggae Films UK ,
 www.reggaefilms.co.uk
for alerting me to this.


Courtesy of Valerio Marques here are The Jolly Boys performing in Montreal, Canada in 2003:

"Requimbine Song"

(a.k.a.: "Requimbine" or "Rukumbine")

This Clip is also posted on The Jolly Boys page.

 
Courtesy of Valerio Marques here are The Jolly Boys performing in Montreal, Canada in 2003:

"Requimbine Song"

(a.k.a.: "Requimbine" or "Rukumbine")

This Clip is also posted on The Jolly Boys page.

 
Also courtesy of Valerio, The Jolly Boys from the same show performing a song whose title is unknown.

This Clip is also posted on The Jolly Boys page.

 
  The Knights of The Round Table performing "Water The Garden" at Culture Heat Wave 2005 in Oracabesa, Jamaica.
 
  A digital-camera-brief clip of a melodic mento band performing "Hol' 'Im Joe" on the beach in Negril. David Badagnani of Kent, Ohio has identified this groups as the Sunshine Band.
 
  The Jamaican Beat Box Boys performing a medley including "Stir It Up" and "Day-O", complete with audience participation at Sandals in MoBay.
 
  Same band and place and getting laughs performing "Big Bamboo".
 
  The Theodore Miller portion of the longer clip that can be downloaded above.
 
  The Lord Flea clip that can be downloaded above.
 
  The Sugar Belly clip that can be downloaded above.
  

email me at:
mike@mentomusic.com

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