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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Word "Sambo" In Caribbean Folk Songs

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part III of three part series on the word "sambo". This post showcases two Caribbean Mento songs that include the word "sambo". In those songs "sambo" means "a person who is mixed racial".

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-origin-meanings-of-word-sambo-means.html for Part I of this series. Part I presents excerpts of quotes about the origins and meanings of the word (including the name) "sambo".

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/09/sambo-in-examples-of-songs-from-thomas.html for Part II of this series. Part II presents examples of the name "Sambo" in songs/rhymes that are featured in Thomas W. Talley's 1922 book Negro Folk Rhymes: Wise & Otherwise.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composers and the collectors of this song and other Caribbean songs with the same theme. Thanks also all those who are quoted in this post, thanks to the group that is showcased in this featured sound file, and thanks to the publisher of that sound file on YouTube.

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LYRICS: BIG BIG SAMBO GYAL

Verse 1
Big big Sambo gyal and she cyaan do a ting.
Big big Sambo gyal and she cyaan do a ting.

Chorus
Sen' she back to she mumma, O!
Sen' she back to she puppa, O!
Di gyal cyaan wash an di gyaal cyaan cook,
Sen she back to she mumma.

Gyal yu waa fi come kill me fi dundas,
Gyal yu waa fi come kill me O,
She tek ackee bwile soup, she tek 'natta color i'.
Gyal yu waa fi come kill mi.

2. Han' full a ring an' she cyaan do a ting.
Han' full a ring an' she cyaan do a ting.
Chorus.

(from "Mango Time: Folk Songs of Jamaica" collected by Noel Dexter and Geoffrey Taylor)
-snip-
These lyrics were posted by MorwenEdhelwen1 in http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=138244 Date: 01 Jun 11 - 01:46 AM
-snip-
My explanations of certain terms in this song:
Sambo- a person who is mixed racial
gyal = girl

cyaan = can't

ting = thing

dundas =This line uses the word "dundas" meaning "albino" to refer to the woman's mixed racial ancestry: "Gyal yu waa fi come kill me fi dundas" means "Gal, you trying to kill me, you albino".

"She tek ackee bwile soup, she tek 'natta color i'." = "She takes ackee to boil it and make soup but she takes another [?] color [ackee that wasn't ripe] Read this article about the dangers of eating unriped ackee fruit - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ackee

"Han' full a ring an' she cyaan do a ting" = "Hands full of rings and she can't do a thing
-snip-
An excerpt of a Turks & Caicos song that is obviously adapted from "Big Big Sambo Gyal" can be found in an online article about the music of that Caribbean nation: http://www.timespub.tc/2002/06/rediscovering-the-hidden-culture-folk-songs/

SEND HER HOME
Big, big sambo gal
She can’t wash, she can’t cook
Send her home to her mama gal
The gal can’t wash and the gal can’t cook
Send her home to her mama
-snip-
Here's a sound file of the song "Big Big Sambo Gal" as performed by Lord Fly + Dan Williams & his orchestra



Elenpoika Published on Jul 31, 2010

album: Mento Madness: Motta's Jamaican Mento 1951-1956
-snip-
The Jamaican song "Pack She Back To She Ma" (also known as "Jessie Mahon") has the same theme as "Big Big Sambo Gyal".

"Pack She Back to She Ma" was copyright in 1943, Massie Patterson and Lionel Belasco, copyright M. Baron Co., New York.
Massie Patterson, the singer, may have recorded the song.

Re-printed by permission in Jim Morse, Folk songs of the Caribbean, 1958, Bantam Books." posted in http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=138244 by Q: "Lyr Add: Big Big Sambo Gyal (jamaica)", Date: 11 Jun 11 - 10:37 PM
-snip-
The Jamaican Mento song "Angelique-O" written by William Attaway and Irving Burgie and sung by Harry Belafonte is also clearly patterned after "Big Big Sambo Gyal". Click http://www.metrolyrics.com/angeliqueo-lyrics-harry-belafonte.html for the complete lyrics to that song.

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SONG: SAMBO LADY
"In notes with another "Sambo" song, Walter Jekyll, 1904, remarks: "A Sambo is the child of a brown mother and a black father, being a cross between black and white. The Sambo lady, very proud of the strain of white in her blood, turns up her nose at the black man. She wants a white man for a husband. Failing to find one, she will not marry at all."

Reposted from http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=138244 by Q: "Lyr Add: Big Big Sambo Gyal (jamaica)", Date: 11 Jun 11 - 10:37 PM

LYRICS: SAMBO LADY
Digging-Sing

Sambo lady ho! Sambo, Sambo lady ho!
Sambo, Sambo no like black man,
Sambo, Sambo, want white man,
Sambo, Sambo, no get white man,
Sambo, Sambo, no want man again,
Sambo, Sambo lady, oh!
Sambo.
With musical score, LXXVI.

Walter Jekyll, 1904, Jamaican Song and Story, Dover reprints.

Reposted from http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=138244 by Q: "Lyr Add: Big Big Sambo Gyal (jamaica)", Date: 11 Jun 11 - 10:37 PM

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RELATED LINKS
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/12/more-work-for-undertaker-song-sound.html for a pancocojams post on the British music hall song "More Work For The Undertaker". That song was composed in 1895 and early versions featured a boy named “Sambo”.

Click http://testaae.greenwood.com/doc_print.aspx?fileID=GR4181&chapterID=GR4181-5570&path=encyclopedias/greenwood "The Jim Crow Encyclopedia: Racial Stereotypes" for information about the Sambo caricature.

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