LaSiren is the name of a mermaid in Haitian mythology. LaBalenn is her sister, the whale, who resides in the deepest darkest depths of the ocean. "Chapo'm tonbe nan la me"(My hat fell in the water) is a metaphor for being possessed by the mermaid. She returns people to land after 7 years (or 3 days, depending on the tale) ) possessing new magical powers.

LaSiren, LaBalenn - Haitian Children's Songs - Haiti - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

Here it is in French:

LaSiren, La Balenn,
Mon chapeau tombe à la mer!
LaSiren, La Balenn,
Mon chapeau tombe à la mer!

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Here's another version:

LaSiren, LaBalenn,
Chapo'm tonbe nan la me.
Map fe kares pou LaSiren,
Chapo'm tonbe nan la me
Map fe kares pou LaBalenn,
Chapo'm tonbe nan la me.

English Translation:

The Siren, the Whale,
My hat falls into the sea.
I caress the Siren,
My hat falls into the sea.
I caress the Whale,
My hat falls into the sea.

Comments

You can read more about the mythology behind these songs at La Siren / La Balenn: Mother of the Fishes.

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Many thanks to Helen's nurse for singing this for us!

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Gracie Gralike for sharing her whale picture!

Mèsi!

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