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Jamaica Farewell
Harry Belafonte Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Down the way where the nights are gay
And the sun shines daily on the mountain top
I took a trip on a sailing ship
And when I reached Jamaica I made a stop

But I'm sad to say I'm on my way
Won't be back for many a day
My heart is down, my head is turning around
I had to leave a little girl in Kingston town

Down at the market you can hear
Ladies cry out while on their heads they bear
Ackee, rice, salt fish are nice
And the rum is fine any time of year

But I'm sad to say I'm on my way
Won't be back for many a day
My heart is down, my head is turning around
I had to leave a little girl in Kingston town

Sounds of laughter everywhere
And the dancing girls sway to and fro
I must declare my heart is there
Though I've been from Maine to Mexico

But I'm sad to say I'm on my way
Won't be back for many a day
My heart is down, my head is turning around
I had to leave a little girl in Kingston town

Down the way where the nights are gay
And the sun shines daily on the mountain top
I took a trip on a sailing ship
And when I reached Jamaica I made a stop

But I'm sad to say I'm on my way
Won't be back for many a day
My heart is down, my head is turning around
I had to leave a little girl in Kingston town

Sad to say I'm on my way
Won't be back for many a day
My heart is down, my head is turning around
I had to leave a little girl in Kingston town

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of Harry Belafonte's "Jamaica Farewell" tell the story of the singer's visit to Jamaica and the heartache he experiences when he has to leave a girl behind. The song is sung in a cheerful, upbeat style that belies the sadness of the lyrics. The opening line sets the tone, referring to the nights as "gay" and the sun as shining daily on the mountain top. The singer describes his trip on a sailing ship and his arrival in Jamaica where he visits the market and enjoys the local food, rum, and dancing.


However, the song's refrain emphasizes the singer's sadness and his reluctance to leave. His heart is "down," and his head is "turning around," reflecting the emotional turmoil he feels. He had to "leave a little girl in Kingston town," and the pain of this separation is palpable throughout the song. Despite the lightheartedness of the music, the lyrics express a deep sense of loss and longing.


One interpretation of the song is that it reflects the experiences of immigrants and their attachment to their homeland and loved ones left behind. The song is also sometimes considered a farewell to the Golden Age of travel, as it was written in the 1950s, just before air travel became more popular and affordable.


Line by Line Meaning

Down the way where the nights are gay
I'm reminiscing about a cheerful and lively place.


And the sun shines daily on the mountain top
The place I'm referring to is blessed with perpetual sunshine.


I took a trip on a sailing ship
I embarked on a sea voyage.


And when I reached Jamaica I made a stop
I made a visit to Jamaica.


But I'm sad to say I'm on my way
I'm unhappy that I have to leave.


Won't be back for many a day
I'll be gone for a long time.


My heart is down, my head is turning around
I am experiencing feelings of sadness and disorientation.


I had to leave a little girl in Kingston town
I had to part ways with a special someone in Kingston town.


Down at the market you can hear
At the market, you can hear.


Ladies cry out while on their heads they bear
Women shout while carrying items on their heads.


Ackee, rice, salt fish are nice
The food items Ackee, rice, and salt fish are delicious.


And the rum is fine any time of year
Rum is a great beverage all year round.


Sounds of laughter everywhere
There are happy sounds coming from all around me.


And the dancing girls sway to and fro
The girls are moving to the beat of the music.


I must declare my heart is there
I must confess that my heart is still in Jamaica.


Though I've been from Maine to Mexico
Despite traveling extensively from Maine to Mexico.




Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: Irving Burgie

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

@calvinceomondiotieno9961

Here I am in 2024...who is still listening..🎉

@user-yr7tj7pl9c

i am

@Pixle_kashwini_69

Mee too❤

@SophieMarouna

ADDED APRIL 13TH,SATURDAY 2024, 0901pm, ❤this song and memories for this amazing SINGER, SOUTH PACIFIC SEAS ON AN ISLAND SOPH

@TheMint_tz

@@SophieMarounahere 15April2024❤❤❤

@SophieMarouna

@@TheMint_tz ADDED APRIL 15TH MONDAY 2024, 0418pm, KIA ORANA MINT means greetings and KIA MANUIA means Wish you well, SOUTH PACIFIC SEAS ON AN ISLAND 🏝 still stranded, ha ha,SOPH

2 More Replies...

@debradipiazza844

Harry, farewell. Singer, actor, activist. He lived a great life, and will be missed.

@IntellectuallySuperior2U

He was a racist and talent-less. The only reason he was on telly was out of mere curiosity; sort of when people are curious to see the new primate exhibition at the zoo

@fredrickmagi9822

May his soul rest in perfect peace

@amingaedwin55

Am from Kenya.,, If you are still listening to this song in 2023...then you must have great taste of good music. Love this to eternity

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