The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #159072   Message #3766969
Posted By: GUEST
20-Jan-16 - 12:25 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Down the River of Gambia
Subject: Origins: Down the River of Gambia
"Down the River of Gambia" is a sea shanty. I'm particularly interested in the meaning of the chorus line. Here's the first verse:

Solo:Down the River of Gambia
Chorus: Oh calibah
Solo:Down the River of Gambia, boys
Chorus: Oh calibah

The Gambia River is in western Africa, rising in the Republic of Guinea and flowing westward through The Gambia into the Atlantic Ocean.

The song was collected from Captain Leighton Robinson in California (1951). No explanation was given for the meaning of "calibah."