JAMAICAN MEDLEY was written in 1983 for a special concert to mark the 21st Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence. Jamaican folk songs form the back-bone of the piece, and in fact there are very few moments when some folk melody is not being heard.
The section which sounds like “Cockles and Mussels alive alive –o” is actually a Jamaican song about a river flooding its banks and how the people in that area coped with the situation. The last melody’s lyrics describe the moon shining on a coastal village called Annotto Bay.
Eleanor Alberga 2002