No Bacchanal
Mighty Sparrow Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Oh let them fight if they want
I am a non-participant
Year after year they rioting
When they go start uniting?
To go to a nightclub or a dance
Or any kind of fĂȘte is a big chance
You ain't sure to walk out from the place
Unless a dagger stick in your waist

I ain't have no band, I ain't in no gang
I ain't want no confusion with no hooligan
My friends are sociable, very very respectable
And we ain't want no bacchanal for this carnival

Aye aye aye!

So many people are afraid
To join in the carnival parade
Although they ain't looking for nuttin'
Something terrible might happen
And then you can't depend on the police
Instead of making arrest they making peace
So before you end up in casualty
Ah think you better play your mas like me

I ain't have no band, I ain't in no gang
Who the hell want confusion with them hooligan?
My friends are sociable, very very respectable people
And we ain't want no bacchanal for this carnival

The word is "mas", according to him!
Play mas!

Useless fighting don't make sense
I believe in non-violence
Don't lick down people just because
You want to show them you could break the laws
Have some regard for human life
Don't be too quick to pull your knife
"Live and let live" that's what I say
Try as you want, you know crime doesn't pay

I ain't have no band, I ain't in no gang
And meh ain't want no confusion with them hooligan
My friends are sociable and very respectable
And we ain't want no bacchanal for this carnival

Woh yo yo!
Sing it if you swing it, aye aye aye!

Too many gang what's too much clash
You many daggers and cutlaash
Too many reach the hospital
Too many people end up in funeral
What is the reason for all this?
Cut out this blinking foolishness
Jump in the crowd and play your mas
But don't bring no razor and cutlaash

Look, I ain't have no band, I ain't in no gang
Who the hell want confusion with them hooligan?
My friends are sociable, very very respectable
And we ain't want no bacchanal for this carnival





Woh yo yo!

Overall Meaning

Mighty Sparrow's song "No Bacchanal" is a commentary on the culture of violence and gang conflict present during the Carnival season in Trinidad and Tobago. The lyrics express a desire to distance oneself from the dangerous activities associated with the festival and instead promote a message of non-violence and respect for human life. The song critiques the prevalence of gang violence and the widespread use of knives and daggers during Carnival celebrations, highlighting the risk of injury or death for those who participate in these activities. Sparrow implores his listeners to embrace a spirit of unity and reject the use of violence as a means of resolving conflict.


The song contains several cultural references unique to Trinidad and Tobago, such as the use of the term "mas" to refer to the Carnival festivities and references to the police, who are notoriously ineffective at controlling violence during the season. Sparrow also emphasizes the importance of playing mas with a group of like-minded individuals who share a commitment to non-violence and respectability.


Line by Line Meaning

Oh let them fight if they want
I'm not interested in getting involved in their fights.


I am a non-participant
I won't take sides in their conflicts.


Year after year they rioting
They keep causing trouble every year.


When they go start uniting?
When will they start working together?


To go to a nightclub or a dance
Going to social events such as clubs or dances.


Or any kind of fĂȘte is a big chance
Such events are risky business.


You ain't sure to walk out from the place
There's no guarantee you'll leave unharmed.


Unless a dagger stick in your waist
Unless someone stabs you with a knife.


I ain't have no band, I ain't in no gang
I don't belong to any music or criminal groups.


I ain't want no confusion with no hooligan
I don't want any trouble with violent people.


My friends are sociable, very very respectable
My friends are friendly and law-abiding citizens.


And we ain't want no bacchanal for this carnival
We don't want any chaos during the festival.


So many people are afraid
Many are too frightened to participate.


To join in the carnival parade
To join the festival's main parade.


Although they ain't looking for nuttin'
Even though they're not seeking trouble.


Something terrible might happen
There's a possibility of something bad occurring.


And then you can't depend on the police
And you can't always rely on the law enforcement.


Instead of making arrest they making peace
Instead of arresting offenders, they try to settle the dispute.


So before you end up in casualty
So before you become a victim or get hurt.


Ah think you better play your mas like me
I believe you should enjoy the festival safely like I do.


Useless fighting don't make sense
Violence is meaningless.


I believe in non-violence
I adhere to the principles of non-violence.


Don't lick down people just because
Don't attack individuals for no reason.


You want to show them you could break the laws
If you want to prove your point through disobedience.


Have some regard for human life
Show some respect for other people's lives.


Don't be too quick to pull your knife
Don't resort to violence too hastily.


"Live and let live" that's what I say
Let's coexist peacefully.


Try as you want, you know crime doesn't pay
No matter how you justify it, you'll pay for your crimes.


Too many gang what's too much clash
Too many gangs equal too much conflict.


You many daggers and cutlaash
Too many knives and machetes.


Too many reach the hospital
Too many end up in the hospital.


Too many people end up in funeral
Too many die as a result.


What is the reason for all this?
What could be the cause of this?


Cut out this blinking foolishness
Stop this foolish behavior.


Jump in the crowd and play your mas
Join the crowd and enjoy the festival.


But don't bring no razor and cutlaash
But don't bring any weapons.


Woh yo yo!
A celebratory expression.


Sing it if you swing it, aye aye aye!
Sing joyfully and dance enthusiastically.




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