_Break nasty_ = "jump salty"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 3 21:04:51 UTC 2010

In the book, Voodoo Fire in Haiti, by Richard A. Loederer, 1932, the
"danse kalinda" is identified as pretty much the center of the voodoo
ceremony and also states that "la meringue," possibly the same dance
now known in Spanish as "la merengue," is the national dance of Haiti.
Nowadays, the merengue regarded as the national dance of the Dominican
Republic, called "Saint-Domingue" by Loederer.

The only story that I've ever heard - don't remember where; it may
even have been in Voodoo Fire - WRT the origin of the merengue is that
a king of Haiti had a son with one leg shorter than the other and,
hence, the son was a very awkward dancer. Better dancers, not wanting
to piss off the king by making the kid look lame, no pun intended,
adapted the prince's movements to their own style of dancing, thereby
preserving his dignity and their own arses.

If you're familiar with the merengue's basic steps, this story seems
quite plausible. But that would still be the case, if the story had
merely been pulled out of somebody's ass. AFAIK, nowadays nobody
mentions any such Haitian dance as la merinqué or connects the
Dominican merengue with Haiti.

I wouldn't bet money that the story was true.

IAC, Loederer writes:

"The marimba band started a melody of strangely cloying and oppressive rhythm.
A murmur ran around the room: _'La Merinque!_'
_The national dance of Haiti!_
Against a background of ponderous vibrations, the tune sobbed through
the smoky air in a monstrous abortion of the tango. It was a strange
dance. It was more than a dance–a ritual performance, an ovation to
love, the ultimate love symbolized in the pairs of bodies, male and
female, so closely entwined as to be molten into one by the fierce
heat of their desire. They swayed over the floor, flexing this way and
that, eyes closed, mouths open, forgetting everything in the rapture
of their embrace and the subtle discords of the music."

And WRT to the dance Kalinda:

"It was the great purification. Only after a baptism of blood can the
good spirit Damballa enter the soul. A broad-shouldered, athletic
negro jumped up in front of me and shouted: 'Commencons! Danse
Calinda!' ...
A solid ring of naked, sweaty formed around the fire. They were
dancing the Calinda! More and more performers joined in, bodies
pressed close against one another, men and women, rubbing body to body
in the red glow of the flames. The irregular circle of a hundred
bodies molten into one Hydra-headed monster was carried along on
jerking bodies and stamping feet. The drums rolled faster. The black
throng revolved with ever-increasing rapidity. Around and around they
went, as the ground shook under the impact of two hundred feet!"



On Sun, May 2, 2010 at 11:22 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: _Break nasty_ = "jump salty"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Then there may well be a connection. And I shouldn't have called it "a Dr.
> John song": Dr. John (Mack Rebennack) recorded a version of it on
> "Gris-Gris" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gris-Gris), but I have no idea
> whether he wrote it.
> I found the album in the basement, and I still don't know. The song is
> credited as "By Dr. John Creaux", another form of his in-character stage
> name. But "Danse Kalinda Ba Doom" is credited "By Dr. John Creaux & Harold
> Battiste", while the jacket notes (=C2=A9 1968 Atlantic Recording Corporati=
> on)
> suggest that it's based on a trad. song:
> OUT THE OLD CHANTS... [uppercase sic].
> Maybe I'll ask the Digital Tradition / Mudcat Forum, but not tonight.
> (Whoops, I see I conflated the idioms this morning, typing "jump nasty"
> instead of "jump steady".)
> Mark Mandel
> On Sun, May 2, 2010 at 7:57 PM, George Thompson <george.thompson at nyu.edu>wr=
> ote:
>> I months or so ago I heard Louis Armstrong sing a number with the
>> expression "Jump Study" in the refrain.  Definitely "Study", not "Steady"
>> (which would make some sense) or "Sturdy"
>> Probably dated from the later 1930s or ealy 1940s.
>> GAT
>> George A. Thompson
>> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
>> Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com>
>> Date: Sunday, May 2, 2010 10:51 am
>> Subject: Re: _Break nasty_ =3D "jump salty"
>> > Interesting. I had not heard or seen either of these idioms before.
>> >
>> > "Jump nasty" immediately reminded me of a Dr. John song (N.Orleans,
>> sixties
>> > - present) with the chorus
>> >
>> > Jump Sturdy, Jump Sturdy was her name.
>> > She came out the swamp like a crazy fool.
>> >
>> > But I don't see any plausible connection. (The song, titled "Jump
>> Sturdy",
>> > is on his first LP, "*Gris-Gris"*, issued in the late sixties.)
>> >
>> > m a m
>> >
>> > On Sat, May 1, 2010 at 6:04 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > > Now in UD, with a surprising-reasonable set of definitions, from 2005=
> .
>> > >
>> > > Otherwise, as far as the Web is concerned, _break nasty_ occurs only
>> > > in the environment immediately before "... habits."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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