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Origins: Down the River of Gambia

GUEST 20 Jan 16 - 12:25 PM
GUEST 20 Jan 16 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 21 Jan 16 - 08:29 AM
GUEST 21 Jan 16 - 11:21 AM
radriano 21 Jan 16 - 12:13 PM
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Subject: Origins: Down the River of Gambia
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 12:25 PM

"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."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down the River of Gambia
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 16 - 12:33 PM

Hello everyone. I'm trying to retrieve my password.

Thread started by radriano.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down the River of Gambia
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 21 Jan 16 - 08:29 AM

Can I suggest Calabar, a seaport on the Cross River, near the mouth of the River Niger.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down the River of Gambia
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jan 16 - 11:21 AM

Hello Ewan,

Thanks! That just might be it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Down the River of Gambia
From: radriano
Date: 21 Jan 16 - 12:13 PM

It's looking like Calabar is correct.

The Port of Calabar has been known to European sailors as far back as the 15th century. It has an international sea port known to the world from the 16th century. Calabar was a major slave trade port from the late 17th to 19th century. About thirty percent of slaves taken from Africa to the new world passed through the Calabar sea port.


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Mudcat time: 22 May 12:33 AM EDT

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