Friday, September 20, 2013

Belle Layotte by the Etcetera String Band - mandolin tab and transcription

Here’s another transcription and audio posting of a tune off of the Etcetera String Band’s out-of-print Bonne Humeur album, which contained arrangements of early Caribbean dance/string band tunes.  The tune is called Belle Layotte and it’s a coonjaille from the book Slave Songs of the United States by William Allen, Charles Pickard Ware and Lucy McKim Garrison.  Belle Layotte was among seven Creole songs collected by a lady who heard them being sung before the Civil War on the Good Hope Plantation, St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.  The coonjaille dance is described as a sort of minuet. 

transcription by Nick DiSebastian

Belle Layotte a cool little tune in the key of F.  Very addictive.  You have to listen to it to really get the feel.  Note the call and response nature of the melody.  The blind mandolinist Kenny Hall said different keys make him think of different climates and F makes him think of ocean climates with the sun shining.  After playing Belle Layotte I kind of see what he means.  At first I thought I might want to transcribe it from F to G, but it’s actually a lot of fun to play in F.  I don’t have many tunes in this key but this is one that I’ve enjoyed learning.  Take a listen to it below and try to play along with it.  I’ve included a mandolin tab and sheet music transcription by Nick DiSebastian.


I hope you enjoy this tune as much as I do!






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