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Iko Iko

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Iko Iko

Postby Stargzer » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:08 am

So, I was surfing through the Mudcat Cafe, a very good site for information on Folk and Traditional music, and I ran across a thread on the origins of the song Iko Iko which I hope you all enjoy as much as I did. The older amongst us should remember it:

Hey now, Hey now
Iko, Iko, an day
Jockomo fee no wah na nay
Jockomo fee na nay'


It's Louisiana Creole and comes from Mardi Gras. It's a long post but a very interesting one, showing how some of the Creole words developed from French and Old French.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby Slava » Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:10 pm

Oops, I think you're dating yourself there gzer, speaking of the older amongst us and including yourself. I'll admit, I've never heard of the song to which you refer, though the "Hey now, hey now" line at the beginning does seem familiar.

Interesting thread there, anyhow. Always a treat to see how languages get warped.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Postby Stargzer » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:39 pm

The Dixie Cups had a big hit with the definitive version of Chapel of Love in 1964. Iko Iko was a surprise hit in 1965.

"Jock-a-mo" was the original version of the song "Iko Iko" recorded by The Dixie Cups in 1965. Their version came about by accident. They were in a New York City studio for a recording session when they began an impromptu version of "Iko Iko," accompanied only by drumsticks on studio ashtrays.

Said Dixie Cup member Barbara Hawkins: "We were just clowning around with it during a session using drumsticks on ashtrays. We didn't realize that Jerry and Mike had the tapes running". Session producers Leiber and Stoller added bass and drums and released it.[2]



Follow the link in the quoted text to see the original Dixie Cup lyrics.

First verse and chorus:

My grandma and your grandma, were sittin by the fire,
My grandma told your grandma, I'm going to set your flag on fire,

chorus -

Takin bout hey now, hey now
Iko! Iko! an de'
Jackomo fe no nan e' , Jackomo fe nan e'


It's sung a capella with only rhythm, drumsticks on ashtrays at the start, so you may have heard in on an oldies station.

I liked the detective work in tracing the lyrics back to Old French. I speak just enough French, badly enough, to aggravate a Frenchman or a Québecois Tongue-Trooper, but with the explanation I could see where the words came from. For instance, "wa" came from "roi" (king) in one example given. Although it wasn't explained why "deye means 'after', 'behind', or 'rear' ... ," I'm sure it came from the Old French word deriere (with no accents according to the AHD), which became the Modern French derrière (behind). I'm just not sure whether deye is pronounce "day" (dā), "day-ay (dā-ā), or "day-yay" (dā-yā). It's such an old thread at Mudcat that I wonder if it shouldn't be left alone.

Alas, I rarely dress in green ...
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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