Music and Lyrics

Rastamouse and Scratchy and Zuma
Also known as da easy crew
Crime fighters and very special agents
Playing reggae when the work is through


Rastamouse is one of the children’s frequently watched cartoons; the soundtrack is one of my favourites. Yeah, I know. I can’t believe it too. But it wasn’t always like this.

I had my suspicions when I first clapped eyes on it. The name told me it was Jamaican-themed and I should expect all the characteristics of the reggae- playing, patois – speaking, dreadlock – wearing island country. Fair enough but I wasn’t prepared to read this sentence in the synopsis of an episode: Someone has teefed all the cheese in the mouseland… What were they trying to teach children? To further my chagrin was the mice characters sounding off words or phrases I wasn’t sure I wanted T and her brother to repeat. Laters. Likkle ones. Man, that is dread. Whatta gwan? Irie man. Me love that. Maybe after they have displayed a firm grasp of the English, Yoruba, Urhobo, Spanish and French Languages. Blame it on my training and proper English Language trait. Then there was Bagga T, a character, who looked and sounded like a bouncer (but has deft rhymes especially when saying his name). On the flip side, I found a few things fascinating: da easy crew using a skateboard and roller skates to aid movement as well as playing musical instruments; an orphanage thrown into the plot; and a mice president who almost doubles up as a handyman. Then I discovered, beneath all the peculiarities of the Jamaican culture, there was always a story to tell, entertainment and a moral to teach (or how to make a bad thing good, like Rastamouse would always say).

I learnt the entire lyrics of the soundtrack in one episode. Found out when it was going tobe on, made out time to be available and blacked out every distraction while I listened attentively to the soundtrack. After that, I basically listened to it to make sure I got the words right and it has been happy singing ever since. With a rather silly and somewhat accomplished smile on my face, I’d belt out the words when the cartoon came on and off. It was one of such happy times I caught my beau staring at karaoke-me and shaking his head with a lopsided grin…Aargghh! What a damp to my cartoon character spirit.

Now I am not sure what he was shaking his head at: my off- key singing or me watching the cartoon. No, he’s a fan of Garfield and cartoons are not meant for children only, by the way. Some created for children also have adult following. And I’m one of those adults. I have fond, fond childhood memories of full length movie – like cartoons (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, the Return of Jafar, the Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, etc) and the shorter versions (Winnie the Pooh, Danger mouse, SuperTed…). Some with sound tracks I liked and knew by heart.

It was his turn to raise eyebrows a couple of weeks after. Dastardly and Muttley are two of a four – man team trying, all the tricks of the military trade, to stop a pigeon mid – air from delivering important messages to wherever. There might be more to this cartoon’s soundtrack but the bulk of what I hear is stop the pigeon, stop the pigeon, stop the pigeon, stop the pigeon…stop that pigeon now! This was the refrain, after his brain had been bombarded relentlessly with it, on my beau’s lips when he walked into the office one sunny afternoon. The awkward silence that descended didn’t register immediately. It was when he felt several pairs of eyes staring at him that he knew something was wrong. Then he finally heard what was spewing out of his mouth. I can’t even begin to describe what happened next or what words he strung together by way of explanation.

I grew up in a house of many older siblings who were neck – deep into music; they knew loads of songs and reeled out their lyrics like well – seasoned acrobats. It was second nature to them. This trait was, inevitably, passed on to their younger ones. Thus giving me a large repertoire of music (and lyrics) knowledge. But I never thought I’d expand it to include this kind of music and the love for it.

I know having children is almost always guaranteed to change one’s life forever…for good. Apparently, lingo and music choices are inclusive. Or how else will I be known as a parent?


Sing with me now…

Give it up, give it up *hands in the air*
Give it up for da easy crew
Solving mysteries in the neighbourhood
Always there to make a bad ting good.

rastamouse_fig 1

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