Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"Pop See Koo" Children's Song And Dance & Its Predecessor Games "Jigalow" ("Gigalo")

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents information about and lyrics & videos of the children's game/dance song "Pop See Koo" (also given as "Popsicle"). Lyrics and videos of the much earlier American children's game "Jigalow" (also given as "Jigalo" and "Gigalo") are also included in this post for comparison purposes.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos and all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

"Pop See Koo" is a song/dance that is part of the Koo Koo Kanga Roo repertoire. Here's information about Koo Koo Kanga Roo:
"Koo Koo Kanga Roo is an American comedic dance-pop duo from Minneapolis, Minnesota, consisting of vocalists Bryan (Bryan Atchison) and Neil (Neil Olstad).

Billed as an "interactive dance party duo" and described as "the Beastie Boys meet Sesame Street",[1] Koo Koo Kanga Roo showcase a colorful live show which relies heavily on audience participation, featuring overtly silly sing-along songs which are typically accompanied by their own individual dance move.[2]...

Koo Koo Kanga Roo have defined themselves foremost as a live band, with their performances and audience interaction being the pure core of the group, even more so than their recorded music.[4][5] Bryan and Neil are the only members of Koo Koo Kanga Roo, and thus perform all of their songs against pre-recorded backing tracks played from their iPods over the venue's PA system.[2]...

Appearance on GoNoodle
Koo Koo Kanga Roo partners with GoNoodle, a brain break website for teachers, to produce short and fun videos that encourage kids to get up and dance in the classroom. These videos are available on GoNoodle for free."...

"Brain Breaks with GoNoodle
"GoNoodle is a free website where teachers can find the brain breaks they need to motivate students and help channel energy throughout the day!

With increasingly demanding lessons and testing preparations, many teachers employ the use of “brain breaks”. Brain Breaks are short bursts of physical activity that can be practiced throughout the day to improve student focus, engagement, and happiness! Educators have learned that regularly incorporating short movement activities into the instructional day not only allows children to get their ‘wiggles’ out, but energizes them and increases their ability to focus on the next learning activity as well. In addition, brain breaks are a great way to manage the stresses that come with rainy or cold weather indoor recess days."...

"Pop See Koo" is one of Koo Koo Kanga Roo/GoNoodles video offerings. The following quote from the Wikipedia page for Koo Koo Kanga Roo whose link is given above provides an apt description of the "Pop See Koo" song:
The duo's songs are written explicitly for the purposes of audience participation, featuring sing-along verses and/or choruses often utilizing a call and response technique, and almost always including a simple dance move unique to each song which Bryan and Neil encourage the audience to follow along with.[2]
Both Koo Koo Kanga Roo "Pop See Koo" videos that I've found on YouTube are led by the middle aged Anglo-American duo known as "Koo Koo Kanga Roo". The informally dressed men are shown outside of a log cabin in the woods. In one of the videos one of the Koo Koo Kanga Roo duo wears a "fanny pack", probably for comedic effect. These "Pop See Koo" videos include animation and also feature other adults (and in one video, also a group of children) who sing the call & response song and do their own dance when the lyrics call for the person or animated character to make up a dance or a movement. Toward the end of the videos, the duo encourages viewers to chant and perform their own made up motions to this song/dance.

Judging from the comments in the discussion threads for the two Koo Koo Kanga Roo/GoNoodles "Pop See Koo" videos*, these videos are shown in classrooms of United States schools to a very wide range of students- from pre-kindergarten to eight grade, and possibly older. Some students and adult commenters really love these videos and this song while others really dislike either the videos or the song or both. Given that one of the videos** features a Black man wearing a long platinum blond wig with bangs, a hair style that is usually reserved for females, I can see how some commenters considered that video to be "weird". That said, the other characters in that video also are dressed a little bit weird. Another man wears a probably purposely unstyled wig, and one woman is dressed up in a hot dog and bun costume.
*WARNING - As is the case with many YouTube video discussion threads- even those videos that ostensible are geared to children, there is a considerable amount of profanity and sexually explicit language in the Koo Koo Kanga Roo/GoNoodle "Pop See Koo" viewer comment threads.

Note that as of May 31, 2016 12:02 AM there were a total of 7,451,947 views for this Pop See Koo video which was published on YouTube on Mar 30, 2015. This is the earliest date for "Pop See Koo" that I've found thus far.

That 2015 date is contrasted to the late 1980s when I first collected an example of the game song "Gigalo", whose words and performance style is almost exactly the same as "Pop See Koo". [see below]

Hey ______________
Hey what?
Are you ready?
For what?
To pop
Pop what?
Pop See Ko!

My hands are high
My feet are low
And this is how I pop see ko
His hands are high
His feet are low
And this is how I pop see ko
Pop see ko
Pop-pop see ko
Pop see ko
Pop-pop see ko
from Pop See Ko, released May 7, 2015

Koo Koo Kanga Roo are the "composers" of "Pop See Koo".

Several comments in "Pop See Koo" video discussion threads and at least one video that I've come across [video given below] "mistakes?" the words "Pop See Koo" for the English word "Popsicle". "Popsicle" is a registered brand name for a frozen fruit flavored snack. That brand name is widely used (at least in the United States) for similar frozen treats that aren't marketed by the company that owns that brand name.

My guess is that "Pop See Koo" is just a cutsy way of saying "Popsicle" while alluding to the "Koo Koo Kanga Roo" name.

With the exception of the words "Pop See Koo" and the word "Pop","Pop See Koo" is an exact replica of the American game song "Jigalow" ("Jigalo", "Gigalo"). "Gigalo" begins
Hey ______________
Hey what?
Are you ready?
For what?
To gig
Gig what?
Gig a lo!
The rest of the words that are given for "Pop See Koo" are the same for the remainder of the "Gigalo"/"Jigalow" song. And, just like the participants for "Pop See Koo" dance/game, each "soloist" for the Gigalo/ Jigalow game is encouraged to make up their own movement that the rest of the group then mimics.

Here's an excerpt from an earlier pancocojams post on "Gigalo" -*:
"The earliest example of "Gigalo" that I've found is the example that I collected from my daughter & her friends in the mid to late 1980s (see text example #1 above). Of course, earlier examples of that cheer may exist in other persons' memories or in written form.

Given its textual structure and performance activity, I believe that the Gigalo rhyme is of African American origin. However, it's clear from reading online examples of "Gigalo" that this cheer/rhyme is also known and performed by non-African Americans (mostly girls)...

The textual structure of "Gigalo" (the way the words are structured) fits my definition for "foot stomping cheers".

Gigalo has a group/consecutive soloists structure which is the signature structure for foot stomping cheers. By "group/consecutive soloist" I mean that the group's voice is heard first, and then a soloist's voice is heard. This pattern of alternating voices continues until a soloist's slightly longer portion occurs...

At the end of that rendition of the cheer, the complete cheer immediately starts again from the beginning with a new soloist. The order of soloists is selected before the cheer activity begins. That pattern of consecutive soloists continues until everyone in the group has had one turn as the soloist.

That said, the body (including the foot movements) of people chanting "Gigalo" may not be the same as the synchronized, coordinated movements that are performed by "steppers" doing [other] foot stomping cheers."
-end of quotes-
In addition to categorizing the textual structure "Gigalo" (and "Pop See Koo") as a foot stomping cheer, the movements of these songs can be considered as part of the "show me your motion" category of children's game songs. Children and other participants playing these types of (usually circle) games are encouraged to perform individualized movements that are different than those which may have preceded them. And the rest of the group is encouraged to try to exactly replicate the movements that each "soloist" does.

*That post includes multiple examples of "Gigalo" rhymes as well as examples of the United Kingdom hand clap rhymes "High Low Jack A Low" which I think may have been the inspiration for "Gigalo"/"Jigalow".

Example #1: Pop see koo 2.0 (Go noodle)

Burger King The Angry Whopper Gaming

Published on Apr 18, 2015
Go to and sign up for free

Example #2: Pop See Koo 3.0

Carmi Scheller, Published on Apr 28, 2015

4th Grade Version of Pop See Ko

Example #3: Popsicle Song | The Ciera and Olivia Show

Ciera and Olivia Show Published on Jul 15, 2015

Example #1: shows us how you gigolo!

michelle barros, Uploaded on Sep 9, 2008

Yfc camp september 5-7 2008.

Example #2: Travis learned the jigalow!

caitlingilson, Uploaded on Oct 21, 2008

travis and the volleyball team (JV) get down at the camarillo tournament!

Example #3: playing gigalo at cheer camp

,Uploaded on Aug 3, 2010

this was my first time playing it was fun :)

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