Sunday, July 23, 2017

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

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II 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 II of this series features examples from 57:40 to the last ring play example that is given in that documentary. A few of these examples are from St. Lucia and Trinidad.

Click for Part I of this series.

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.

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.

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.” ...
A trailer to this documentary video was published on YouTube in 2006 by Ward Minnis

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 numbers continue from Part I.

These time stamps from that video documentary aren't hyperlinked.

57:40 – 57:52ena [no words on screen] – two girls doing hand clap routine

Eenie veena tumbaleena [said fast]
Acca pacca soda pack I love you
How do you know
I peeked through the window
Wash the dishes
This is my attempt to transcribe these words as no sub-titles were given. I'm not sure about the spelling and couldn't decipher one line.

This "Eenie Meenie" rhyme is performed in this clip by two girls as a fast paced hand clap rhyme with imitative motions. At least two other girls stand nearby ready to help the girls remember the motions and words for this rhyme. After the words "I love you", the performance activity changes to imitative motions with finger wagging representing a girl being chided because she didn't do the dishes etc. The two girls mess up the clapping routine and the chanting and the rhyme abruptly ends in that documentary clip.

This rhyme, called Eenie Meenie Sisaleenie" and other similar sounding title, is rather well known in the United States as a stand alone hand clap rhyme or as verses that are incorporated into other rhymes. Click for examples of this rhyme.

23. 58:43
woman [Nicolette Bethel, Director of Culture] commenting about the words commenting regarding the words "Achie paloochie":

"Palocha Machie
Conga got no vote

Chances are that the words started out as something that made sense in some African language. But we don’t know what it is and transmitted from person to person we’ve lost
sense of it so we’re only approximating the sound of it"...
This is my attempt to transcribe this quote. No information is given regarding the "Congo got no vote" rhyme, but my assumption is that "Congo" here refers to Black people in the Bahamas and not people from the two African nations known as the Congo.

Given that this clip was presented after the "eenie meenie" hand clap rhyme that is given as #22 above] and an "Eenie Meenie" rhyme that is given as #___ below, I assume that Ms. Bethel is suggesting that the nonsense sounding words in those Bahamian ring plays (if not in other Bahamian ring plays) are from some African language. I disagree with that conclusion, but that is discussion for another blog post.

This is a brief clip of two girls showing how a hand clap routine is done:
"it’s slide push clap
slide push clap"

I met a guy
ah risco
He’s so sweet
Ah risco
Like my cherry tree
Ah risco
I can drink coffee
I can drink ....tea.
I can meet the boy...
This is my transcription of this example. One girl is chanting this hand clap rhyme while standing in the middle of a small circle formed by other girls. No hand clapping is performed.

This example appears to be an adaptation of the African American "Nabisco" rhyme combined with the African American rhyme "I Love Coffee, I Love Tea".

In this documentary clip. when the girl in the middle says "I can drink" she forgets the word, and someone else says "Tea". When she says "I can meet the boy", someone else says a line that ends with the word "baby". At the end of this clip, the girl looks somewhat shocked by something indecipherable that someone else said. I wonder if it was the "come on, baby let's go to bed" ending for the African American rhyme "I Love Coffee, I Love Tea".

59:22 -59:42
Slide push clap
Slide push clap
[Said faster] Eena meena Josephina
Oh ah tambourrina
Akalaka booshalaka
Baby I love you; yes I do

Saw you with your boyfriend last night
How did you know
I peeked through the window; Nosey.
Go wash dem dishes; Lazy
Gimme some candy: Greedy
Jump through the window; Crazy.
What do you eat?
Pig feet.
What did you drink?
Red ink.
These words were given as sub-titles. Two girls are shown doing a fast hand clap routine, but only one girl chants the words.

Read my comments for #23 given above. There is an African American hand clap game called "Slide", but I don't believe that the words "slide, push, clap" are chanted during that hand clap game or during any other American hand clap game that I've found to date.

1:00:46 1:01:13 I went to the Chinese bakery- words on screen [girls standing in two lines facing each other [hand clap with some imitative movements- for instance hold both hands to their chest for the word “my”]
I went to the Chinese Bakery
to buy a loaf of bread, bread, bread

I went to the Chinese Bakery
And this is what they said said said
My name is King Kong Corey
I can do karate [imitating the same leaning back karate stance]
Punch em in the belly [acting like they are punching the person standing in front of them- I while maintaining space in between each other]
oops I;m sorry [holding their eyes down with one finger on each eye- imitating crying?]
Chinese, Japanese [keeps hands near their eyes, stretching the eyes?
Criss cross [rhythmically slap right hip with left hand left hip with right hand ]
Do me a favor and get lost [does the rolling, lean back a little, and hold hand out in talk to the hand AA street stances]

The verse that begins "what do you eat?/ pig feet" is a stand alone African American rhyming saying that is associated with the "What's your name/ Puddin Tane" rhyming sayings. Click for a pancocojams post on those rhyming sayings.

I suppose that it's possible that those sayings could have originated in the Caribbean.

1:00:46 1:01:13
I went to the Chinese bakery-
I went to the Chinese Bakery
to buy a loaf of bread, bread, bread

I went to the Chinese Bakery
And this is what they said said said
My name is King Kong Corey
I can do karate
Punch em in the belly
oops I'm sorry
Chinese, Japanese
Criss cross
Do me a favor and get LOST
These words are given as sub-titles. The girls stand in two line facing each other, first doing hand claps and then changing to imitative movements:

On the word "my" which is stretched out, the girls hold both hands to their chest.
On the phrase "I can do karate", the girls imitate the same karate stance
On the words "punch 'em in the belly, the girls maintain some distance but act like they are "karate" punching the person standing across from them.
On the words "oops, I'm so sorry", the girls hold their eyes down with one finger on each eye, probably in imitation of the crying
One the words, "Chinese Japanese", the girls keep their hands near their eyes, perhaps stretching their eyes*
On the word "criss cross apple sause", the girls rhythmically slap their right hip with their left hand, and their left hip with their right hand
On the word "do me a favor and get lost", the girls do the body rolling, leaning back a little, and "talk to the hand" African American street stance that means both confrontation and dismissal.

This rhyme is a version of the very well known American rhyme "I Went To The Chinese Restaurant"*. I don't think that the "King Kong Corey" referent is found in American versions of that rhyme.

*Some versions of "I Went To The Chinese Restaurant", such as the this one, have problematic anti-Asian words and actions. Click for a pancocojams post on this rhyme.

As I noted in my comments after the example given as #11 in Part I, "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.

Peas porridge hot
Peas porridge cold
Peas porridge in the pot
Nine days old.
Say what!
Some like it hot
Say what!
Some like it hot.
Some like it cold.
Some like it in the pot.
Nine days old.
The title "Some Like It Hot" is shown on the screen. Children are heard chanting and performing this rhyme as a hand clap. This is my transcription of the words. No sub-titles and no other visuals are shown.

Say boom
Say apple
Say pine
Say wine
Say boom pine apple wine
$1.50 all the time.
[the rhyme begins again from the beginning]
The words are given as sub-titles. This clip shows teenagers, women, and men standing forming a circle while one teenagers in the middle of the circle moves around to several person of the circle doing a "leg raised up" dance movement. On the words "say boom pine apple wine" the girl stands in front of the next person forming the circle and does a very seductive wining dance.

I've never come across this rhyme in my study of American children rhymes.

1:03:47- 1:03:51
Solee ‘married
Come here lemme tell ya gal
The words are given as sub-titles. Women and at least one man form a circle and one woman in the middle dances seductively in front of various people forming the ring.

I've never come across this rhyme in my study of American children's rhymes.

Here are quotes from two women who commented throughout this documentary:
"There was a sense of celebrating our female development". [Comment begins around 1:03:36]

"The competitiveness back then was who could be the most sexual and the most alluring. And at the time I didn’t know that was what it was all about, but now when I look back I realize that’s what it was all about”. [This comment begins at around 1:03:53]

Jump in the car
turn the keys
Press the gas wit' no panties
She rollin like dat
She bouncin like dat
Say mmmm, like dat
Sauchiss in dere
An rock it too in ‘dere
Take 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
Ticka ticka ticka ticka
boom dynamite
Ticka ticka ticka ticka
boom dynamite
Boom boom boom boom
boom dynamite
The words were given as sub-titles. Girls form a large circle with one girl in the middle. That girl doesn't chant along with the others. In the beginning of the rhyme the girl performs imitative motions. On the line "mmm, like that", she moves around the circle on each line of the rhyme and performs a seductive dance in front of the people forming the circle.

This example is a combination of three stand alone rymes: "Jump In The Car", "Sauchiss In Dere", and "Boom Dynamite".

There are examples of rhymes that begin with the line "jump in the car" in the United States, but they are very different from this example. There are lots of examples of American children's cheerleader cheers and other recreational rhymes that include the line "Boom dynamite". But I've not found any examples of "sauchiss in dere". Examples of that rhyme are also given in Part I of this two part pancocojams series.

1:16:02- 1:16:27
An examples of "Brown Girl In The Ring" [given without words on the screen or my transcription]

1:16:38 = 1:16:53
Example of the circle game "Blue Bird through my window": [given without words or the screen or my transcription]

1:18:03 – 1:18:20
I’m ma going to the party
going to the fair.
When I met a Cinderella with flowers in her hair
oh si si si si si si like its hot
si si si si si si like a top
Oh rumble to the bottom
rumble on the top
turn around and turn around until you make a stop
This is my transcription for this example from the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia. This is played as a circle game with one person in the middle who performs imitative motions and dances.

This circle game is known as "Going TO Kentucky" in the United States and is very well known. The words "Cinderella" probably were "senorita" early on. Through foll processing, "senorita" became "Sister Rita" for some African American children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area in the early 2000s.

Chitty Chitty bang bang
sittin on the wall
tryin to make a dollar
out of fifteen cents
she missed
she missed
she missed like this.
These words are given as sub-titles. This is another example from St. Lucia.
In this clip, women form a small circle and play a competitive hand clapping, foot crossing circle game. The same game is played among African American girls and boys (and probably other Americans). In the United States, instead of "sitting on the wall", the line is "sittin on a fence".

1:19:08 -1:19:42
An example of "Brown Girl In The Ring" [given with partial words/description, ]:
on the verse: "Go look for your lover
tra la la la la
Go look for your lover
tra la la la la
Go look for your lover
tra la la la la
Oh she looks like a sugar in a plum"

The girl in the middle selects a boy "partner" from those forming the ring and dances with him in the middle of the ring (holding crossed hands.

Another example of Brown Girl In The Ring [given with partial words and description]
On the words "so hop and take your partner", the girl in the middle chooses a partner, and both of them hop on one foot holding hands".

38. .
Little Sally Walker [circle game given without words]

Gig Gig alo alo
Gig gig alo alo
You're ready for one
You're ready for two
Put your hands in the air and go
Whoop whoop whoop!
[repeat the entire rhyme]
This is my transcription of this rhyme. This example is from Trinidad. Girls form a large circle. Several girls stand in the middle in two lines facing each other. These girls don't chant but do imitative motions. On the words, "Whoop whoop whoop", the girls scooted down close to the ground, and while maintaining their line formation, clap the hands of the person in front of them.

"Gigalo" is rather well known in the United States where it is usually performed as a two, four, or three person hand clap rhyme.

1:22:18 –1:22:49
Mama Mama Can’t You See
[repeat each line]
Look what Barney has done to me.
He took away my MTV
Now I have to watch Barney
Tic Tac Toe three in a row
Barney got shot by G.I. Joe
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
Barney should have stayed in bed
Hip Hip hooray!
Barney;s dead
Hip hip hooray
Barney's dead
This is another example from Trinidad. This is my transcription of this example.

Girls form two long lines that face each other and clap the hands of the person standing in front of them. The first time the words "Hip Hi On the words "Hip Hip Hooray", the girls form arches that the other children go under.

I wrote the word "dead" in parenthesis because I'm not certain of this transcription.

A Bahamaian example of this rhyme with slightly different words and played a different way is given in Part I of this series.

"Mama Mama Can't You See" is a very widely known rhyme in the United States. The words to this Trini example are very similar if not the same as words to Americans versions of this rhyme, the performance activity-including repeating each line, is different from the way it is performed in the United States. That said, repeating each line is actually closer to the United States military cadence that was the source of the "Mama Mama Can't You See" hand clap line rhyme.

1:23:19 -1:23:47
Oh what can you do Punchinella, Punchinella
What can you do Punchinella 42
Oh we can do it too Punchinella Punchinella
We can do it too
Punchinella 42
This is another example from Trinidad. This is my transcription. I'm not sure if the number after the name "Punchinella" is correct.

The a group of girls form a circle with one person in the middle. The girls forming the circle stand in place and clap while they sing this song. On the words "What can you do?", the middle girl (or middle person) does some motion, and the people forming the circle try to do the exact same motion.

This game is very widely known in the United States. After the line "We can do it too", the next line is "Who do you choose". That may also be the next line in this example from Trinidad.

This concludes Part II of this two part series on Bahamian (and other Caribbean) ring games.

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