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Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)

Gibb Sahib 22 Jun 09 - 06:45 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Jun 09 - 08:53 PM
Marc Bernier 23 Jun 09 - 08:47 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jun 09 - 01:58 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Jun 09 - 06:24 PM
Marc Bernier 24 Jun 09 - 10:07 AM
Barry Finn 24 Jun 09 - 11:37 PM
Gibb Sahib 24 Jun 09 - 11:49 PM
Gibb Sahib 24 Jun 09 - 11:55 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Jan 10 - 12:45 AM
Gibb Sahib 30 Jun 13 - 03:42 AM
GUEST 30 Jun 13 - 03:55 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Jun 13 - 12:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Jun 13 - 12:26 PM
Gibb Sahib 30 Jun 13 - 02:11 PM
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Subject: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 06:45 PM

What's the story of this chantey, as something performed nowadays? I know only of Hugill's SHANTIES FROM THE SEVEN SEAS as a printed source. He collected it from the Barbadian chanteyman, Harding.

Abraham's DEEP THE WATER... has the chantey "Dan Dan Oh" (lyrics in the DT). It was sang by the whalers of Barouallie. It can be heard HERE.. The note on Dan Lanier's site says it is a ring-play song, which sounds about right. Abrahams' notes on the whalers' remarks say that they used it when hauling a whale up onto the beach, but it is unclear to me whether it is one pull, two pulls, or what (and where exactly they come). ....In any case, this is a different chantey (though clearly related in a few respects) from the one Hugill collected from Harding.

So back to Hugill/Harding's. The only recording I've heard is of the Mystic Seaport Chanteymen (1997), led by Marc Bernier. (Well, I've also heard that terrible "cover version" on the Johnny Depp pirate album thingey)

My question is one of the more recent trajectory and life of the song. Today's performances are way off from what Hugill notated. To be far, Hugill's notation is surely transcribed poorly -- it just doesn't make sense. Anyone wishing to perform it, with only that source as a reference, would have to make many guesses as to what was supposed to be notated.

I assume the Mystic group's rendition is one response to that challenge. Incidentally, I think it succeeds very well as a chantey. In fact, one of the Seaport's younger chanteymen (not apart of said recording) whipped it out at the recent festival during a halyards demonstration when a few stiff pulls were needed in an "emergency" situation, and it was perfect.

Still, I'm interested in getting at what Harding's version might have really been like.

It would be nice to know if the version that goes around now was based at all in Hugill's performance of it (he never recorded it, to my knowledge, but may have sung it for people)...in which case his book version can just be thrown out the window.... OR if it's worth my while to sleuth out a possible alternate "decoding" of the printed version.

As for other possible printed sources for comparison, I don't imagine chantey-based texts would be very helpful sources for this song historically. Texts on Caribbean song are more likely.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 08:53 PM

huh! Here's a shantykoor's literal rendition of Hugill's text:

De Headammers


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 08:47 AM

What I sing is rhythmically not what Stan sang. Geoff Kauffman and Tim Reilly both do something closer to what I remember Stan singing but I don't know if either one of them has recorded it though. Another great recording of this shanty is by Pat Sheridan with the Polish group Brazy on their new release Rolling Home. Pats interpretation is based on mine however.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 01:58 PM

David Thomas sings it on "Rogues Gallery." mp3 available at Amazon.com. Not heard.

There is a Japanese song by that name.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 06:24 PM

Marc, thanks for the tip -- maybe I'll get a chance to ask those guys some time. Just the fact that you say "what I remember Stan singing" is encouraging, i.e. that an oral link to this exists, however thin.   Perhaps you'll agree that the text version of Stan-- which is matched quite faithfully melodically-rhythmically (though without "umph") by the Dutch shantykoor-- sounds "off" from what (I'd imagine) the actual chantey would sound like? (Yours is different from his version, yet it sounds like a chantey; this doesn't sound like a chantey to me, too irregular.)

I also wonder if it is just difficult to write this down in the old one-staff format of Hugill and older collectors, and even more difficult to sing as one person-- being that the solos and chorus may overlap., This is probably the case for lots and lots of chanteys. Even the "authentic recordings" of retired seamen from the early 20th century are mostly solo, making it impossible to know from that source alone whether there was a certain kind of overlapping rhythm on a given, lesser known chantey.

Q,
yep, that's the "Johnny Depp recording" I was obliquely referring to. It is probably, I think, not so much a "rendition" of the chantey (which I'm sure David Thomas & Co. know little to nothing about) as a "cover version" of Marc's recording. I stated as much to the author of this blog, where you can also hear the David Thomas version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 10:07 AM

Thanks for Saying that Gibb. There's never been much question in my mind that Mr. Thomas had heard me sing it somewhere. You however are the first person other than myself I'v heard say it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Barry Finn
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:37 PM

Hi Gibb
Any chance of fixing that link in your last post, it's either closed or not working for me, maybe it's been deep sixed to the Depps, where it should stay?

Thanks

Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:49 PM

Barry, try this

If that doesnt work, try this alternate


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:55 PM

Weird, the link works when I did preview, but not now??
Well, go to the second link (Youtube), then if you want there is a link from there to the blog


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 12:45 AM

Well, I finally got around to recording my interpretation of Hugill's text of this...with the help of some good sports.

Dan Dan


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 03:42 AM

A while back I "discovered" this recording of a performance of a song that must surely be a close relative to the "Dan Dan" presented by Hugill in SfSS. Thought I'd post it here.

It was recorded in Grenada by Alan Lomax in 1962. Because it is labeled "Jean Jean-o," it is not found on searches for "Dan Dan." However, I had been going through listening to the Caribbean recordings of Lomax and noticed the similarity.

Sounds like they are saying "John John."

http://research.culturalequity.org/get-audio-detailed-recording.do?recordingId=2

And here is a clip that might shed some light on who is meant by "John John"/"Dan Dan"—at least as conceived by these singers.
http://research.culturalequity.org/get-audio-detailed-recording.do?recordingId=2

Perhaps this gets us a closer to what Harding of Barbados sang to Hugill, before Hugill processed it in his mind, Harold tried to write it down, and we readers tried to envision our renditions from the little black dots in SfSS!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 03:55 AM

I did not listen to your link, (I will later). But I seem to vaguely recall a discussion with someone a while back as to John, John being a version of Dan, Dan. Maybe the Barrouallie Whalers sang it while they were at the seaport a while back. But I'v discussed this with someone while drinking beer. Maybe listening later will jog my memory.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 12:17 PM

"Another we does sing when we have de whale on de sea, in de water, want 'e bring it up on land, everybody haul on de rope and sing that shanty."

Lyr. Add: DAN-DAN-OH

Whe'fore, wet me, Dan-Dan-oh
Dan-Dan, whip me, Dan-Dan

Oh, dem girl, der take me shillings all
Dan-Dan, whip me, Dan-Dan

Whe'fore, wet me, Dan-Dan
Dan-Dan-oh, whip me, Dan-Dan

Whip, whip me moon a show
Dan-Dan-oh, whip me, Dan-Dan

All dem girl they take my money gone
Dan-Dan-oh, whip me, Dan-Dan

Whip, whip, whip me, Dan-Dan-oh
Dan-Dan-oh, whip me, Dan-Dan

All dem girl, dey take all me shillings gone
Dan-Dan-oh, whip me, Dan-Dan

Whip, whip, whip me Dan-Dan
Dan-Dan-oh, whip me, Dan-Dan

All dem girl come an' take me money gone
Dan-Dan-oh, whip me, Dan-Dan

Whip, whip, you whip me, Dan-Dan
Dan-Dan-oh, whip me, Dan-Dan

Whip, oh whip, oh whip me, Dan-Dan-oh
Dan-Dan-oh, whip me, Dan-Dan
High Whale!

"When we say "High Whale" we reach up, close on de san'.
After a hard hand bringing a whale in, the whole town is up and helping. The owner of the boat brings some grog, and there is much drinking and rejoicing. Sometimes when the moon is bright the cheerfulness will lead to playing singing games."

Pp. 86-87. The above follows the shanty, "Yard Away, Yard Away."

Roger D. Abrahams, 1974, "Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore," American Folklore Society by the University of Texas Press.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 12:26 PM

"Dan-Dan-oh" is provided with a musical score; ""Ad libitum, with changes of key."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Dan Dan (chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Jun 13 - 02:11 PM

To provide some more context and discussion to the lyrics/info Q just posted:

That "Dan Dan" is the Barouallie one I mentioned in the OP. I gave a link to a Barouallie Whalers rendition (audio) of it in that post, and here is another rendition from their performance at Mystic a few years back.
Live performance

The "issue" (as I see it!) is that although both Hugill/Harding's chanty and Abrahams/Barouallie Whalers' chanty invoke a "Dan Dan", they are different songs. This has left "us" without help in interpreting Hugill.

Hugill's "Dan Dan," as it appears in SfSS, is not in a great state. It's difficult to put together, from that, what the song might have really sounded like. Which may be why no one, really, *has* (that I have seen).

This "Jean Jean-o" from Grenada, however, does seem to be the same song (i.e. in variation) as Hugill/Harding's.


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