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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bahamian Ring Play Examples From "Show Me Your Motion" Documentary Produced by Ian Strachan, Part I

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part pancocojams series on text (word only) examples of contemporary Bahamian rings plays (children's singing games and children's hand clap rhymes) that are featured in the 2006 documentary "Show Me Your Motion: The Ringplay Games of The Bahamas". The YouTube video of that documentary is also included in these posts.

The ring play examples that are included in this post are divided into two pancocojams posts in order of their appearances in that documentary.

Part I of this series features examples of ring plays from 18:38 to 57:37 of that YouTube video. Prior to 18:38 no examples of ring plays were given.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/07/examples-of-show-me-your-motion_23.html for Part II of this series.

Part II features examples from 57:40 to the last ring play example that is given in that documentary.

Part I of this posts also includes my editorial comments about how I happened upon this documentary of Bahamian ring plays" and what I believe is the considerable African American influence on many of these Bahamian ring plays. Although many of these ring plays are of African American origin, it's my position that the Bahamian children and teenagers' creative word and movement adaptations make these ring plays Bahamian.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the unknown composers of these examples. Thanks also to all those who are featured in this documentary and thanks Ian Strachan, the producer of this documentary and publishers of this video.. Thanks also to all those who were involved in this documentary's production.

WARNING: The showcased documentary video features some scenes of children performing seductive dances and chanting sexualized rhymes that some people may consider to be unsuitable for children.

I added this warning because I'm hoping that this series is used as a supplemental educational resource in the United States, and my experience with United States public educational system informs me that a number of teachers and administrators in that system would have concerns about scenes of children and teenagers performing some of these singing games and rhymes.

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SHOWCASE VIDEO: Show Me Your Motion: The Ringplay Games of The Bahamas



Ian Strachan, Published on Apr 20, 2017

Show Me Your Motion explores issues of gender, national identity, globalization, class and race in The Bahamas, a prosperous Caribbean nation renowned for its tourism. Producer and Director Ian Strachan addresses these issues through candid, often humorous interviews and live recordings of the ribald children’s songs and dances that are a part of “Ringplay.” Along the way Bahamians of many walks of life weigh in on the issues: artists, politicians, scholars, teachers, and children too. The film, narrated by Strachan, opens with the statement, “I know what the world thinks of The Bahamas; what they see. I know what we sell. The fantasy, the dream of a vacation in Paradise. No rain, no worries . . . But who do we believe we are?”
-snip-
A trailer to this documentary video was published on YouTube in 2006 by Ward Minnis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pZssdkl6GE.

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PANCOCOJAMS EDITOR'S NOTES ON THE PERFORMANCES OF THESE "RING PLAYS" [Revised 7/23/2017]

These notes are given in no particular order.

I found the YouTube video of the trailer for this Bahamian documentary on ring plays on July 21, 2017 after I had happened upon the Caribbean children's rhyme "Four White Horses" on July 19, 2017 by somewhat randomly "YouTube searching" for English language children's rhymes and singing songs. That "find" lead me to search for more Caribbean children's rhymes and on July 21, 2017 I found a 2013 video example of Bahamian teenagers performing the ring play "I Went Up On The Hill" (or "Rock My Cherry") and three other videos of Bahamian ring plays that were published by Kimberley Minors.

On July 19th and July 21st, I published a two part pancocojams series on "Four White Horses"* and a pancocojams post on text (word only) and video examples "I Went Up On The Hill"**. While searching for additional examples of "I Went Up On A Hill" ("Rock My Cherry"), I lucked up and first found a YouTube video of the documentary trailer and later found the YouTube video of the Bahamian documentary of ring plays that is showcased in this pancocojams series.

*Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/07/four-white-horses-caribbean-song-hand.html "Four White Horses" Caribbean Song & Hand Clap Rhyme, Part I: Speculative Origins & Lyric Examples" for Part I of a two part pancocojams series that I published on that singing game. The link to Part II (videos of performances of that singing game) is included in that post.

**Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/07/bahamian-childrens-game-songhand-clap.html Bahamian Children's Game Song/Hand Clap Rhyme "I Went Up On The Hill" ("Rock The Cherry")

Although the YouTube video "Show Me Your Motion: The Ringplay Games of The Bahamas" was published in July 2017, that documentary was actually filmed before November 2006. A trailer of this documentary was published on YouTube on November 30, 2006 by Ward Minnis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pZssdkl6GE.

I also found this September 1, 2007 online article that refers to this documentary:
"RingPlay - From 'Naughty Johnny' to American apple pie" by Erica Well, Guardian News Editor:
"Show me your motion," the sweet refrain of the classic ringplay "Brown Girl in the Ring", brings back joyous memories for the many Bahamians who played in school yards across the country and delighted in dancing, clapping and belting out the words, "There's a Brown Girl in the ring,

tra, la, la, la, la, and she look like a sugar in a plum, plum, plum.

"Show me your motion" is also the name of a documentary, produced and directed by author and playwright — now filmmaker — Ian Strachan, that uses the popular children's game to examine race, gender and class in The Bahamas.

"I try to use ringplay as a means to talk about Bahamian identity in its various facets," Strachan told Arts&Culture, referring to his film that was released on DVD this week.

"I am trying to tell the story of ringplay, the origin, how it has changed and try to look at it from different aspects, in terms of gender, who plays, what does it mean, how it helps in the formation of the identity of boys and girls."

Strachan interviewed a wide variety of Bahamian and West Indian academics, artists and people who simply performed ringplay as children, and children who continue to carry on the tradition, for the 88 minute documentary.

He also went straight to the source. Strachan visited schools in New Providence, Andros and Grand Bahama, and he was also able to get footage of ringplay in St. Lucia and Trinidad.

And what he found out was very interesting, but not entirely surprising."....
-snip-
The story stops there and there's a link to the full story. I tried but couldn't retrieve this full story on 7/21/2017.

It seems to me that central among the themes that permeate this documentary is the need to document and celebrate the creativity of Bahamian culture in specific and Caribbean culture in general coupled with concerns that Bahamian/Caribbean cultures are being "taken over" by American (United States) culture/s. Here's one quote from that documentary that speaks to that concern:
Chanti Seymour, Linguistic Professor, College of the Bahamas (at 45:13 in the video):
"The same thing that teenagers were doing in the 50s and 60s, teenagers are doing now. Yet for some reason people are all afraid. They listened to American music. And what they wore was what was being worn in America. They list... um they watched American tv shows. The watched American movies. And I think it’s because we’re a little bit more open. The boundaries are more fluid so people are more afraid that maybe the young people today are taking too much from the American culture.

I still don’t see it as being a problem because it’s not the only way that young Bahamians tend to express themselves.

I don’t even think it’s a preferred way for most young Bahamians."
-end of quote-

Based on my experiences as an African American female, and my decades of observing, collecting, and studying contemporary English language children's rhymes (particularly from African Americans) offline and online [from the mid 1980s to date], it appears to me that one distinct difference in the formation used by Bahamian children (and, perhaps other Caribbean children) and African American children and other American (United States) children while performing hand clap games* is that a group of (mostly) girls perform hand clap rhymes while standing in two horizontal lines facing each other. While this type of formation was used by African American girls in the past*, it's rarely if ever found in the present (perhaps since at least the 1970s.)

Instead of that formation, African American (and other American) children -and teens and adults- who perform hand clap games almost always either perform them as partner games with other partners standing separately, or as a four person unit (made up of two sets of partners). I've noticed this same formation in the showcased Bahamian documentary. In addition, hand clap games are sometimes performed in the United States with three people standing in a triangle formation. That formation wasn't included in the Bahamian documentary, but that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't found in the Bahamas.

*Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2YodFqZ7nQ for a 1967 video of African American girls performing singing games that include the two horizontal lines formation. That video also includes the one person in the middle circle game formation and the criss cross sawing motion that is performed for the (Caribbean originated?) singing game "Here We Go Valerie".

*I differentiate hand clap games from hand slap games which are competitive games that are played by more than four people. People playing these games are either standing or sitting down on the ground. The game participants chant a particular rhyme in unison and -starting with a designated person-one at a time, each participants slaps the hand of the person to her or his right with each word or syllable of words to the rhyme. The person whose hand is slapped at the end of that iteration of the rhyme is out and the rhyme and the hand slapping actions begins from the beginning. This continues until there is only two people remaining in the game. At that point, a two person hand slap activity or some other method is used to determine the winner of the game.

Examples of hand slapping games are found throughout this featured Bahamian ring play documentary. Probably, the most familiar hand slapping game in the United States is "Down By The Banks Of The Hanky Panky", although versions of that singing game are also played as hand clap games. Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aas7bwcjmsi for a video of that hand slap game. Another relatively well known hand slap game is "Stella Ella Ola" (or similarly worded titles). Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYw8wqFK8CY for a video of that hand slap game.

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It appears that the ring games are usually considered girl games in the Bahamas (and in other parts of the Caribbean, the same way that they are considered in the United States. That said, sometimes boys and adult males perform those games -in both the Bahamas and in the United States. {Note the Bahamian example found
at 57:37 of this video and click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUvzIiGuKb4 for a video of the singing game "(Here We Go) Zoodio" that includes African American men.

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The circle (singing game) formation in which one person is in the middle of the circle appears to be the most often used circle formation in the Bahamas and in the United States. "Going To Kentucky" is a well known example of this singing game formation in the United States. From the documentary, it appears that Bahamian children also use the same method of selecting the next person to be the middle person- the middle person closes her (his) eyes while stretching out her (his) hands and turning around pointing at the people forming the ring. The person who is pointed to becomes the new middle person. This method of choosing the middle person wasn't always the way that that person was chosen in the United States* and it probably wasn't the way that the middle person was chosen in the past in the Caribbean.

*Click https://cocojams2.blogspot.com/2014/11/switching-places-ring-games-part-1.html Switching Places Ring Games (Part 1-Description & Other Comments), for information about methods for choosing the middle person.

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From my experiences and observations (both from directly performing some of these singing games/rhymes, from in person observations, and from watching YouTube videos), I believe that African American girls dancing while performing circle games don't "wine" and do pelvic thrusts nearly as much as Bahamian girls. That said, I believe that both populations of girls have the same intent- to show off how well they can dance, and to be "sexy" while doing so.

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The games "Little Sally Walker (Was Walking Down The Street)" and "(Here We Go{ Ride That Pony" are contemporary examples of a circle singing games that are played in the United States in which a middle person dances in front of a person who then becomes the new middle person. I'm not sure if those games came first from the Caribbean or not. Click https://cocojams2.blogspot.com/2014/11/little-sally-walker-ride-that-pony_9.html for examples of those games.

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While watching the "Show Me Your Motion" documentary, it occurred to me that many of the imitative portion of the hand clap games and singing games featured girls standing in place with one hand on their hip while wagging their pointer finger at the person standing in front of them. These assertive and taunting arms akimbo/finger wagging gestures are closely and (I believe) stereotypically associated with Black females. However, I don't think that these gestures are performed by African American girls during imitative recreational play as much as they are performed by Bahamian (and perhaps other Caribbean) girls.

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Although some of the commenters in this documentary discussed their concerns about the globalization of Bahamian culture and some commenters mentioned that they believed that Bahamians may be particularly influenced by the culture of Southern African Americans, this documentary doesn't note how Bahamaian people and other Caribbean people extensively borrowed and adapted African American children's rhymes and singing games. I note this in a lot of my commments, although I don't suggest how this borrowing occurred. However, thanks to YouTube, my guess is that since this documentary was released in 2006 even more Bahamian and other Caribbean ring plays have been influenced by or have their source in African American rhymes and singing games.

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PART I- BAHAMIAN RING PLAYS FROM
Pancocojams Editor's Note:
The words to these ring plays are either from sub-titles that are found in that documentary or from my transcriptions. Additions and corrections are welcome for my transcriptions.

Time stamps that indicate when those examples appear in that YouTube video are included with these examples. These examples also include my brief performance descriptions about these ring plays.

No written performance descriptions and very little narration about performance descriptions beyond comments about the wining [pronounced to rhyme with the English word "line"] (gyrating hip movements and pelvic thrusts) dance movements were included in this documentary.

My comments after the text (words) for these rhymes largely consists of performance descriptions and comparisons between the specific rhyme and African American/other American rhymes. My apologies as Describing game song/ hand clap performances isn't something I do well. Additions and corrections are welcome.

I've assigned numbers to these examples for references purposes only. These time stamps from that video documentary aren't hyperlinked.

EXAMPLES
1. 18:38- 19:08
Oh dis a way a bellebee
Bell bell a bellebee
All night long
So step back sassy
Step back sallassy
Step back sassy
All night long
So walkin t’rough di alley
Walkin t’rough di alley
Walkin t’rough di alley
All night long
I betcha five dollars he is big and bold
To the front to the back
to the si- si- side
To the front to the back
to the si- si- side
-snip-
This hand clapping/imitative movement games was performed by girls and boys in two horizontal lines. The singing was accompanied with drum accompaniment. The words to this rhyme were given as sub-titles in this video.

This game is very similar to "This A Way Valerie". "Bellebee" is probably a folk processed form of the name "Valerie" and "Step back sassy" is probably a folk processed form of the name "Sally". "Sallassy" is interesting because it's pronounced similarly to the former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie who was/is closely associated with the Rastafarian movement that began in the Caribbean nation of Jamaica. I don't know whether there's a connection between the word "sallassy" in this example and the name "Selassie".

On the words, "step back sassy", the children step back while clapping to the beat.
On the words "walking through the alley"- people in each line quickly walked or marched to change places,and then quickly moved back to their original location by the end of the walkin through the alley lines. Instead of doing that, in the United States, people usually dance in down the aisle made between the two lines (or rows) as was popularized in the African American television dance series "Soul Train".

With the portion of this rhyme that begins with the line "I betcha five dollars he is big and bold" the children change from singing to chanting. They place one hand on their hip, and wag the pointer finger of their other hand at the person standing in front of them, while standing in place but keeping time with the beat with one leg moving up and down to the beat.

That "I betcha five dollars...." portion of this rhyme reminds me of a verses in the American singing games "Here We Go Zoodio" or "Here Comes Sally Walking Down The Alley." However, I've never come across this particular verse in American versions of those singing games.

The lines "to the front to the back" etc. are done with corresponding imitative movements. This verse is often found in African American singing games. Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/02/front-back-side-to-side-in-childrens.html for a pancocojams post on that verse.

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2.
19:12- 19:17
"Slide Buccara [?]
Eena Meena buskareena [?]
I love you
Yes I do"
-snip-
It appears that this rhyme was used for hand clapping although it was just used as background to narration with no visuals accompanying it except a young girl smiling. I transcribed the words to this short clip. I believe the rhyme given as #3 below is probably a continuation of this clip.

The question mark in brackets means that I wasn't able to decipher what was said. "the words "eenie meenie" are quite common in a lot of American children's rhymes.

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3.
19:45: 19:57:
They made me wash the dishes
They made me sweep the floor
They made me eat the cockroach
behind the kitchen door
My mother was surprised
To see my belly rise
My father was disgusted
to see my belly button.
-snip-
This example was given the on screen title" "They made me wash the dishes". The words were given as sub-titles in this documentary. This was played as a four person hand clap game.

Versions of "They made me wash the dishes" are often found as "She [or he] made me wash the dishes" etc. in "Miss Susie Had A Steamboat" and some other American children rhymes. However, I've not come across any versions of that verse that includes any line similar to "They made me eat the cockroach" line.

From the way these girls laughed with their head down at the conclusion of that rhyme, my guess is they recognized the sexualized content in that rhyme which begins with the line "my mother was surprised to see my belly rise".
-snip-
Pancocojams Editor's comment revised July 24, 2017:
The portion of this rhyme that begins as "my mother was surprised to see my belly rise" are sometimes found in sexually explicit versions of American children's rhymes that I refer to as "We Wear Our Hair In Curls". However, some versions of this rhyme are "clean" - i.e. They don't include the "risque" verses and there are examples of children's rhymes that include the "my mother was surprised" verse that in other rhymes besides "We Wear Our Hair In Curls". Examples of those rhymes are also known in the UK, but those European examples of those children's rhymes might be of American -not necessarily African American- origin.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/07/examples-of-ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay_25.html for a pancocojams post on "sexualized" versions of this rhyme.

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4.
21:26- 21:39
Down By The River
Down by the sea
Johnny break a bottle
and blame it on me
I told Ma, Ma told Pa
Johnny got a likkin
So ha ha ha.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine [that person attempts to slap the hand of the next person to their right. If she does that person is out.]
-snip-
This game was subtitled "Down By The River" in this documentary. The words to this game were given as subtitles.

"Down By The River" as given almost exactly in this example was [and may still be] relatively well known in the United States. I'm not sure where this rhyme originated. In the United States this rhyme was chanted while jumping rope or bouncing ball, but since at least the 1970s, most rhymes that were used for jumping rope have been converted to hand clap rhymes. I'm not sure if this rhyme is used for hand clap games in the United States, but I've never come across it being used as a hand slap rhyme as found in this documentary.

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5. 25:38--25:49
Boys are rotten
Made out of cotton
Grls are handy
Made out of candy
Boys go to Jupiter
Get more stupiter.
Girls go to mars to get more candy bars...
-snip-
The title for this rhyme was given in the documentary. I transcribed the words from this video. documentary.

The girls stood in a circle and performed imitative motions and a small bit of hand clapping.

On the line "get more stupider", the children circle a finger next to their ear in the gesture for "crazy".

This rhyme is very well known in the United States among American girls who usually chant it as part of a longer hand clap rhyme.

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6.
29:41- 29:55
One leg gone up
For two leg, uh-huh!
Two leg gone up
For t’ree leg, un- hun!
T’ree leg gone up
For four leg, un-hun!
Five leg gone up
For six leg, un hun!
-snip-
The title for this game was given as "One Leg Gone Up" and its words were given as subtitles in this documentary.

I don't believe that this singing game is known in the United States, except perhaps to people from the Bahamas or other Caribbean nations.

"One leg gone up" is performed as a circle game in which the person in middle quickly moves to stand in front of another person forming the circle. I think that the middle person is supposed to do some dance in front of the person that he or she is standing in front of. The person who was stood in front of then changes places with the middle person and the singing game begins again from the beginning. This game reminds me of the American [?] game "Ride That Pony" although the dance movements in this video are much more risque than the movements that I've seen in "Ride That Pony" videos.

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7.
29:57 –30:06
Show me your motion.
tra la la la la
Show me your motion
tra la la la la
And he looks like a sugar in a plum
-snip-
The title "show me your motion" was given on the screen and the words were given as subtitles.

This is almost certainly a clip of a "Brown Girl In The Ring" circle game. The boy in the middle of the ring does what most Americans would consider to be a very sexualized dance move in front of a girl forming the ring.

The circle game "Brown Girl In The Ring" is relatively familiar in the United States, but like most non-competitive circle games, it's rarely self-initiated by girls (let along girls and boys). Usually, if these types of recreational games are played at all, they are played at an elementary music teacher's direction.

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8.
30:52 -35:36
This section is titled "Naughty Johnny"
31:01- Naughty Johnny’s composer describes the song recorded in 1976: "Johnny was one of ten songs that was recorded on this album “The Real T’ing”." Painter/composer Eddie Minnis shares how he was surprised to learn that "Naughty Johnny" was being performed as a "ring play". The ring play uses the words from his recorded song*.

The video shows a clip of girls doing hand clap while chanting “Naughty Johnny”. The hand clap rhyme is performed by a number of girls standing next to each other in two lines facing each other.

*Click http://www.metrolyrics.com/naughty-johnny-lyrics-eddie-minnis.html for the words to "Naughty Johnny". These words aren't given as subtitles in this documentary.

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9.
36:53 - 37:16
This clip shows children counting numbers up to 40.

The title "Counting numbers" is given in this clip with no sub-tiles. This circle game is very unfamiliar to me and I don't feel confident describing the game's activity.

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10.
42:54 =43:28
Welcome to McDonalds
May I take your order
Nick nack tia tia
order me a French fry
Icy cold milk shake
And don’t forget my apple pie.

[Repeat the entire verse that is given above two times]

Nick nack [stomp stomp] tia tia
order me a French fry [stomp stomp]
Icy cold milk shake [stomp stomp]
And don’t forget my apple pie. [stomp stomp]

Nick nack tia tia
order me a French fry
Icy cold milk shake
And don’t forget my apple pie.

[Chante gets faster]
Big Mac tia tia
order me a French fry
Icy cold milk shake
And don’t forget my apple pie.

Big Mac tia tia [one stomp]
order me a French fry [one stomp]
Icy cold milk shake [one stomp]
And don’t forget my apple pie. [one stomp]
-snip-
The words for a portion of this rhyme are given as subtitles. The subtitles end for at time and then reappear. I've given my transcriptions for the portion of the rhyme that doesn't have subtitles. I also included some performance instructions with this example. Those performance instructions are given in brackets and aren't chanted.

In this documentary this rhyme is performed as a hand clap game by young girls facing each other in two long lines. A second clip of this rhyme is performed by women in standing in a circle (with no one in the middle of the circle).

This rhyme is known as "Welcome To McDonalds" (also known as "Big Mac Filet Of Fish" in the United States where it is very well known. "Nick nack tia tia" are folk processed forms of the words "Big Mac filet of fish" that I've never come across in the United States. Also, I've not come across any examples of this rhyme in the United States that is performed with the added foot stomps.

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11. 45:58-46:19
Mae Sue from Alabama
Hey you, Scooby Doo
Mama’s gat the measles
Papa gat the flu
Baby gat the chicken pops
And so are you.
You better ABCDEFG
You better keep your black hands off a me.
You gotta smooth it
You gotta smooth it
You freeze with your holey panties
And you cheesie jockies
And you gat disease, so free
-snip-
The words to this hand clap game are given as subtitles on the screen. The hand clap game is performed by two long lines of mostly girls facing each other.

The word "Mae" in this rhyme is a folk processed form of the word "Miss" and "So free" is a folk processed form of "So freeze".

On the words "ABCDEFG" the game changes from hand clapping to imitative motions.

On the line "you gotta smooth it", girls press their hands down body in imitation of smoothing out clothes or in a seductive motion.

The word "You better smooth it" is found as "You gotta smooth shot" in some "Miss Sue From Alabama" rhymes. Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/11/folk-processing-childrens-rhyme-miss.html for examples of those rhymes.

The line "You betta get your black hands off of me" is said louder with a confrontational stance.

I believe that the line "get your black hands off of me" reflects negative attitudes that some Black people still have about our skin color. As such, unless this is also a problem in the Caribbean, "borrowing" this rhyme without considering the meaning of this line, encapsulates the danger of taking everything from American culture in without a filter for the negativity that is part of that culture. Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/10/get-your-black-hands-off-of-me.html for a pancocojams post on African American children's rhymes with the line "Get your black hands off of me".

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12.
47:29- 48:02
Mama Mama can’t you see
Look what Daddy’s done to me.
took away my MTV
Now I’m watchin Barney
Tick, tack, toe, three in a row
Mama got shot by GI Joe
Mama called the Doctor and the Doctor said
Whoop there it is
Whoop there it is
-snip-
Two lines of mostly girls facing each other performing hand claps.

There are many different versions of this rhyme in the United States. Instead of "look what Daddy's done to me", the words in the United States are "look what Barney's done to me"- "Barney" being the name of a fictional big purple dinosaur that stars in an American television series that is geared to very young children. Although I don't recall coming across any with the "Whoop there it is" ending, it's possible that there are such versions.. :Mama Mama Can't You See" has its origins in United States military cadences and the "Whoop There It Is" phrase is lifted from a 1993 Miami Bass dance song with that title and repeated lyrics.

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13.
48:21- 48:50
Peanut Butter Reeses Cup
You mess wit me I'll mess you up.
Bye Bye choo choo train.
Let's see :::::* do her thing.
She can't.
Why not?
She can't
Why not?
Because her head is hurtin'
Her bra too tight.
Her booty shakin' from the left to the right.
To the left, to the right
to the left, right, left, right
You too skinny, you too fat
Watch that girl break her back.
Boom chicky, Boom chicky.
Boom chicky.

*girl's name or nickname
-snip-
The words to this example are given as sub-titles. Note: The line "to the left, right, left, right" and the words "Boom chicky" aren't given in the sub-titles, but the girls chant those words. The "Boom chicky" is interesting as it is very similar to "A Boom Chikaboom", a well known American "camp song" which may have its source in a foot stomping cheer.

Performance description:
The girls form a circle with one girl in the middle. The chant begins with a foot stomping cheer* movements (foot stomps alternate with individual hand claps in a stomp stomp clap pattern performed by stomping down hard on the right foot, then stomping down hard on the left foot and then clapping your hand). On the words "She can't" (at 48:29 in the video), the foot stomping portion of this ring play ends and the children begin to perform imitative motions and dancing while continuing to chant. On the words "watch out girl break her back" the girl in the middle really starts dancing hard.

This cheer/rhyme is very well known in the United States, usually with the title "Bang Bang Choo Choo Train". Notice that the children sing a folk processed form of those words: "Bye bye choo choo train".

The clip right before this example features a professor from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana who expresses her concern that Bahamian children might begin to incorporate 'something as pernicious as gangster rap" into the lyrics of their ring plays. My research indicates that "Bang Bang Choo Choo Train" doesn't have its source in gangster Rap. Instead, its sources are United States military cadences and, before that, the risque song known as "Bang Bang Lulu".
*Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/05/an-overview-of-foot-stomping-cheers.html for information about and text examples of foot stomping cheers.

****
14.
54:52-55:09
I went up on the hill
With my bucket on my head
My road fall down
with my bucket on my head
Rocka a my cherry
One two
Rocka a my cherry
three four
Rocka a my cherry
five six
Rocka a my cherry
seven eight
Rocka a my cherry
nine ten
Rocka my cherry.
That's the end.
-snip-
The words to this example are given as sub-titles in this documentary.

This ring play is performed as a girls' circle game with one person in the middle. A boy on the outskirts of the circle accompanies the girls singing on a drum that is strapped over on of his shoulders,

The girls hold both hands near their head, as a representation of holding a bucket on their head [?] . On the words "rock my cherry", the girl in the middle dances in front of someone forming the circle, but in this portion of the video the girl barely moves her hips. The other girls forming the circle sing and clap while watching the middle girl, but don't imitate her dancing.

I don't believe this ring play is known in the United States. Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/07/bahamian-childrens-game-songhand-clap.html for two other examples of "I Went Up On The Hill" ("Rock The Cherry").

****
15.
55:33- 55:37
Sauchiss in here
An’ a walkin stick in dere
Take anudder sauchiss
An’ stick it right in dere
-snip-
These words are given as a sub-titles on the screen by a woman commenter.

****
16.
55:38 –55:49
Sauchiss in dere
So rock an twist in ‘dere
Shake dat belly sauchiss
and stick it right in dere.
You know where
right in dere
Da Devil round de corner
says stick it right in dere
-snip-
These words are given as sub-titles in this documentary.

Girls and boys perform this singing game in a circle with one girl in the middle. On each line, the middle girl moves and dances (suggestively) in front of a person forming the circle and that person stands in place but also dances along with her. On the next line of the song, the middle person moves to her right and dances in front of the next person in the circle and that person also dances with her (and so on).

This rhyme isn't known in the United States, except probably by people from the Bahamas and/or other Caribbean nations.

****
17.
55:52 -56:06
Blue Hill water dry
no where to wash my clothes
I remember the Sat’day night
fry fish and Johnny cake
Man take one and satisfy [sung a little faster]
Woman take two and make a moo
Man take one and satisfy
Woman take two and make a moo
-snip-
The words to this song are given as sub-titles on the screen. A woman sings a version of this verse that is often sung with "Brown Girl In The Ring".

****
18.
56:07- 56:38
Blue Hill water dry
no where to wash my clothes
I remember the Sat’day night
We had fry fish and Johnny cake
One take one two [children stomp when say they say "two"]
One take two take three [stomp when they say "three"]
“one take three and four [stomp when they say "four"]

[The girl in center and other children forming the circle stand sideways and alternate from one side to the next with each count]

one take four and five [stomp]
one take five and six [stomp]
one take six and seven [stomp]
One take seven and eight [stomp]
One take nine and ten [stomp]
One take ten and eleven [stomp]
twelve [stomp]

[The children continue this alternating sideways foot stomp while also doing a rocking kind of dance before they stomp hard on the ground]

thirteen
fourteen
-snip-
The words to this ring play are on the screen. The "Blue Hill water run dry" verse may be known in the United States thanks to Boney M's recording and others since that group. However, I think that the "one take one" etc verse and the sideways stomp that the children perform while chanting are probably not known in the United States.

****
19.
56:40 -57:11
Old lady old lady
[explains that people in former generations used to say “Oh, love me.”
Old lady, old lady
Old lady, old lady
Oh lady, old lady
kiss a lady bum.
-snip-
This is my transcription that this rhyme that Nicolette Bethel, Director of Culture recited in this documentary. Ms. Bethel noted that former generations said "Oh, love me" instead of "Old lady" and she indicated that "kiss a lady bum" is just the kind of joke that 6 years old love."

****
20.
57:13-57:32
????
Listen to the sound of Sesame street
We gonna rock, rock
Rock till nine o’clock
She made me wash the dishes
She made me sweep the floor....
-snip-
This is my attempted transcription of this hand clap rhyme girls performing a four person hand clap rhyme. The girls aren't sure of the words to the rhyme or how to perform the rhyme.

A verse from versions of the American hand clap rhyme "My mama short and fine" includes the line "beep beep beep on Sesame Street." The line in this Bahamian hand clap rhyme could be a folk processed form of that rhyme.

The last two lines of this rhyme are very similar to the words that are found in various American rhymes including "Miss Susie Had A Steamboat". Read the given as #3 above for a similar rhyme.

****
21.
57:37-57:40
????
He rock in the tree top all night long
huffin and a puffin....
[clip ends]
-snip-
I attempted to transcribe this example, but couldn't decipher the first line that the group chanted.
This clip shows two women and two men performing a version of the hand clap game "Twee Lee Lee" (also known as "Rockin Robin"). This hand clap game is of African American origin and is based on The Jackson Five's "Rockin Robin" record. The hand clap game is very well known in the United States and appears to usually performed by four people as shown in this documentary's video clip.
-snip-
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lpzGSpd5Z8to to find an April 17, 2013 video by published by Kimberley Minors entitled "Students from the ENG 108 class of the College of The Bahamas playing Twe Lee Lee".

*****
This concludes Part I of this two part series on Examples Of Bahamian Children's Ring Plays From The "Show Me Your Motion" Documentary

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2 comments:

  1. This compilation from the "Show Me Your Motion" documentary on Bahamian ring plays doesn't include the following song that was sung by a woman commenter at 16:29 – 16:45 of that video:

    "Miss Lucy hang herself in da mango tree
    Miss Lucy hang herself in da mango tree
    Miss Lucy hang herself in da mango tree
    Cause when she came back here lover was gone.
    Oh where ya tingalinga
    Your lover must be
    Oh where ya tingalinga
    Your lover must be
    Oh where ya tingalinga
    Your lover must be
    Right down in da mango tree."

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    Replies
    1. I didn't include this song because I didn't think it was a ring play.

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