Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Shake Shake Shake The Mango Tree" Song (videos, lyrics, and information)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents five East African video examples of the children's call & response song "Shake Shake Shake The Mango Tree" This song is also found as "Shake Shake Shake That Mango Tree", "Shake A Mango Tree" and similar titles. Lyrics for "Shake Shake Shake The Mango Tree" and some information about that song are also included in this post. The Addendum to this post provides some information about mango trees and fruit.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composer of "Shake Shake Shake The Mango Tree". Thanks also to all those who are featured in these videos, the producers and publishers of these videos, and all those who are quoted in this post.

"Shake Shake Shake The Mango Tree" is a call & response childrens song or chant. "Echo songs" is a relatively recent term for "call and response chants or songs. However, "echo songs" describe only one type of call & response compositions - those in which a lead vocalist chants or sings one line and the group immediately repeats the same exact words. In other call & response songs or chants, the leader sings or chants a line and the group response with a different word or words.

I'm not sure who composed the song "Shake Shake Shake The Mango Tree". The earliest date that I found for this song online was Dec 11, 2010 publication date for the video given as Example #1 below.

By far the most popular video of this song to date is the video given as Example #2 below. That video was shown on a 2011 episode of the syndicated American children's television show Sesame Street. As of August 20, 2015 at 7:09 Pm EST] that video has 1,965,729 viewer hits. All the other videos of that song have much less than 1,000 viewer hits.

It may be no coincidence that each of the videos of "Shake Shake Shake The Mango Tree" that are showcased in this post, and other videos of that song appear to be from East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda). Each of those videos feature young children who attend an American or United Kingdom NGOs' (non-profit organizations') school or community based program. It's therefore possible that the song could have come from the United States.

"Shake Shake Shake The Mango Tree" is included in a 2012 CD entitled “One for All” that was recorded by Lea (Lea Morris), a female African American singer/ songwriter from the Washington, D.C. area. Given the 2012 release date of that Cd, I'm not sure if Lea wrote that song or learned it from its inclusion on the 2011 "Sesame Street" episode.

Information about the composer of "Shake Shake Shake The Mango Tree" may be found on the Games Music Books Movies & More Anytime, Anywhere" website. That website is restricted to members who enroll by giving a credit card number. I chose not to do that.

Any information about the composition of this song would be greatly appreciated.


GIRL: [SINGING] Shake, shake, the mango tree.
CHILDREN: Shake, shake, the mango tree.
GIRL: Shake, shake, the mango tree.
CHILDREN: Shake, shake, the mango tree.
GIRL: Mango yellow, mango green.
CHILDREN: Mango yellow, mango green.
GIRL: Mango yellow, mango green.
CHILDREN: Mango yellow, mango green.
GIRL: One for you, and one for me.
CHILDREN: One for you and one for me.
GIRL: One for you, and one for me.
CHILDREN: One for you, and one for me.
GIRL: Shake, shake, the mango tree.
CHILDREN: Shake, shake, the mango tree.
GIRL: Shake, shake, the mango tree.
CHILDREN: Shake, shake, the mango tree.

These lyrics are given without the time notations that refer to the "Sesame Street" video given as Example #2 below.

Additional lines for this song could be added to reflect the fact that there there are other colors of mangos besides yellow or green. For example, the line "Mango red, mango orange" could also be sung.

Read that information about the colors of mangos in the Addendum below.

It's traditional in a number of African nations for males and females to wear their hair shaved or cut very closely as children and as adults.

Some commenters writing in the discussion thread for the Sesame Street video wondered why boys were wearing skirts or dresses. Those comments could have been made without malice because the commenters were unfamiliar with that hairstyle tradition.

Unfortunately, a number of comments in that video were racists and some commenters could have written their comments about the children's appearance because of their racism.

Example #1: Cecil Kindergarten 5th Anniversary - Shake the Mango Tree

Leo van Iersel, Uploaded on Dec 11, 2010

The children of Cecil Kindergarten in Mombasa (Kenya) sing a song about a mango tree [Kenya]

Example #2: Sesame Street: Song: Shake Shake The Mango Tree

Sesame Street Uploaded on Jan 13, 2012

Sing along and shake the mango tree!

For more fun games and videos for your preschooler in a safe, child-friendly environment, visit us at

Sesame Street is a production of Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization which also produces Pinky Dinky Doo, The Electric Company, and other programs for children around the world.
Two commenters on that video's discussion thread identified in the lead singer as "Edith". One of those commenters noted that Edith moved to North Carolina and was her classmate and friend. "Edith" is probably Edith Nyanga who wrote a comment thanking people in 2014.

For the record (no pun intended), that discussion thread also includes misinformation that this video was filmed in Nigeria. The online description for the Sesame Street 2011 episode clearly indicates that this video (whose song was listed as "Shake Shake Shake That Mango Tree" was filmed in Uganda:
"Episode 4277 Sesame Street
Plot: Falling Leaves
Air date: December 30, 2011
Season: Season 42 (2011-2012)
Kids in Uganda recite a chant - "Shake Shake That Mango Tree."
(Filmed and directed by non-profit organization Fount of Mercy in the village of Lawanda, Uganda.[1])


Example #3: SPE Mini - Shake Shake the Mango Tree

Soft Power Education Published on May 6, 2014 [Uganda]
Here's inforamtion about Soft Power Education:
"Soft Power Education is a British registered charity and Ugandan NGO working with communities in Uganda to improve quality of life through education."

Example #4: Thrive LIFE Kenya Humanitarian Trip. "Shake the Mango Tree!" My favorite song!

Rachel Chad Mano, Published on Jul 11, 2014 [Kenya]

Thrive LIFE Kenya Trip singing children

Example #5: AMAP Shake Shake a Mango Tree

MissInternational09 Published on Jul 29, 2014 [Tanzania]

AMAP (African Modern Arts Project) Nursery Students, singing at their Morning Assembly

"There are roughly 1,100 varieties of mango grown in the world, with the majority of the fruit coming from India. They're also grown in Mexico, throughout South America, and in a variety of tropical locations. Depending on the time of year and the region they come from, mangoes are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.[1] To pick a good mango, you can learn a little bit about the features of the most common varieties and learn what to look for to find the best one."...

..."Do not fixate on the color [of mangos to determine if they are ripe]. A red hue is often and indication of how much sun exposure a mango has received, not an indication of freshness.[3] Moreover, the color of a ripe mango varies based on the mango variety. You should never rely only on color to determine if a mango is ripe, but if you want to use color as a backup indicator, you must first understand how certain varieties are supposed to look once ripe.
•The Ataulfo mango turns a deep, golden color when ripe.

•The Francis mango will be a blend of green and gold when ripe. The green tint of the yellow skin fades, gradually turning more gold. Note that some green will still remain, however.

•The Haden mango turns from green to yellow once ripe. This variety is more prone to reddening, as well, but it does not need to be red in order to be ripe.

•The Keitt mango will remain green even once it becomes ripe.

•The Kent mango will remain mostly dark green, but it often has yellow undertones or yellow dots over various portions of the mango once it ripens.

•The Tommy Atkins mango provides little to no visual clues. The skin can remain yellow-green, turn golden, or develop a dark red blush.

•The Alphonse mango has a purple to yellow skin once ripe.

•The Edward mango has skin that can be pink, yellow, or some blend of the two.

•The Kesar mango can remain green once ripe, but they often take on a yellow hue.

•The Manila mango usually has an orange-yellow hue when ripe, but occasionally, the skin can also turn pink.

•The Palmer mango can vary in color, often appearing purple, red, yellow, or some mix of the three."

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