The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #92938 Message #1782321
Posted By: Azizi
12-Jul-06 - 11:23 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Forbidden Fruit (Oscar Brown Jr)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oscar Brown's 'Forbidden Fruit'
Somewhat off topic:
See this excerpt on the signifying monkey:
"African Americans trace the origin of signifying back to the African tale of the Signifying Monkey. According to Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (head of Harvard's African American Studies program), the Signifying Monkey is a trickster figure of Yoruba mythology (Esu-Elegbara in Nigeria and Legaba among the Fon in Dahomey), who became Exu in Brazil, Echu-Elegua in Cuba, Papa Legba in the pantheon of the loa of Vaudou in Haiti, and Papa La Bas in the loa of Hoodoo in the United States).
"In the narrative poems, the Signifying Monkey invariably repeats to his friend, the Lion, some insult purportedly generated by their mutual friend, the Elephant. The Lion, indignant and outraged, demands an apology of the Elephant, who refuses and then trounces the Lion. The Lion, realizing that his mistake was to take the monkey literally, returns to trounce the monkey."
"There are thousands of "toasts" of the Signifying Monkey, Gates continues, "most of which commence with a variant of the following formulaic lines:
"Monkey," said the Lion, Beat to his unbooted knees, "You and your signifying children Better stay up in the trees." Which is why today Monkey does his signifying A-way-up out of the way.
Endings, too, tend toward the formulaic, as in the following:
Deep down in the jungle so they say There's a signifying monkey down the way There hadn't been no disturbin' in the jungle for quite a bit, For up jumped the monkey in the tree one day and laughed, "I guess I'll start some shit."
Also see this Mudcat thread about the "Signifying Monkey":
RE: Lyr Req: monkeys more humane than humans