Dan Zanes

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Jamaica Farewell

Chords, Rhythm and Riffs

Dan Zanes Lesson >

Jamaica Farewell > Chords, Rhythm and Riffs

Greetings My Fine Guitar Playing Friends!

Here we are again deep in the land of Social Music, this time with Irving Burgie's classic Jamaica Farewell as made popular by the great Harry Belafonte. It's three chords - G, C and D - around and around and around which gives us a chance to really explore some of the various inversions up and down the neck as we take instrumental solos. This song is certainly social but because it allows for so many different melodic chordal possibilities it can also serve as a very meditative piece to play. I certainly suggest getting comfortable singing this one and inviting as many people along as you can. This was one of my early successes with harmony singing when I recorded a version of it with Angelique Kidjo and if I can harmonize you can too!! Let me know what you think of this one and have fun with it!!

Dan Zanes






Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Jamaica Farwell


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 2:25 What You Will Learn Today

Loop 5:13 Breakdown of Chords, Rhythm and Riffs

Loop 24:10 Closing Thoughts

Loop 25:34 Outro





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Jay Apr 14, 2019

Hey Dan! Good to hear from you.

I have your songbook already & the songlist on spotify and am enjoying both. If I was a teacher I'd be using the book in my class. As it is I use it with my grandkids & "train them" on social music.

My experience with you on SJ inspired me to play open mics, so I do several songs I learned from you (Don't get around much anymore, He'll have to go, Hey Good Looking, Four Strong Winds, My Girl, etc), some others I like, and even a couple I wrote myself.

So I say: thanks for the musical inspiration, amigo, and hope to see you back here soon.


Dan Zanes
Dan Zanes Jan 19, 2020

Oh man...That means a lot.

Thank you Jay and my apologies for the delay in replying. 

It sounds like you're living the dream and I'm so happy to hear that these lessons played some small part in helping you get there!

Keep up the good work, my friend!


Jay Sep 24, 2018

Another wonderful song!

Dan, sure hope you're having fun touring & making music, and sure hope you'll get back to SJ to give us another lesson or two!



Dan Zanes
Dan Zanes Jan 02, 2019

Hey there Jay! I've been on sabbatical but it's great to know that you're still digging in here. I just published a songbook called "Dan Zanes House Party: A Family Treasury of Roots Music" it's available everywhere and I think you might like it....there's my pitch! Keep up the great work, my friend!

Jay Nov 01, 2017

Hey Dan, the social music man.

this is another beautiful piece of music, with a whole lot of interesting ways to play around with it. i'll be working on this. thanks for the mention, by the way.

here's my feedback on your lessons so far: they're just great - great tunes, and really good ways to play them. i love those soulful solos. really feel like i'm learning a lot here on your site.

best regards,


Dan Zanes
Dan Zanes Nov 01, 2017

Hey There Jay!

Thanks Man, your feedback really means a lot. I appreciate hearing that this approach is connecting. In some ways I'm winging it but maybe that's because I never had a lot of formal learning along the way. I've been able to get a lot from the other teachers here at the Junction and the feedback certainly helps me stay on the right path.

Keep sending the thoughts and updates, your playing is really evolving and it's great to see it happen!! I like the way you're using these songs and lessons as a starting point for a strong style that's all your own.

Yr pal,


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