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Origins: John Kanaka

DigiTrad:
JOHN KANAKAa


Related thread:
Lyr Req: Parody of John Kanakanaka for Ben Kenobi (4)


GUEST,rockney@erols.com 14 May 00 - 06:32 PM
Stewie 14 May 00 - 06:40 PM
Chanteyranger 14 May 00 - 11:00 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 14 May 00 - 11:13 PM
paddyc 15 May 00 - 12:33 AM
The Shambles 15 May 00 - 05:48 AM
GUEST,Wolfgang 15 May 00 - 06:04 AM
Joe Offer 11 Jul 15 - 03:59 AM
GUEST,Anon 11 Jul 15 - 09:06 PM
Les in Chorlton 12 Jul 15 - 05:07 AM
Lighter 12 Jul 15 - 07:15 AM
Lighter 12 Jul 15 - 07:30 AM
FreddyHeadey 12 Jul 15 - 08:32 AM
Joe_F 12 Jul 15 - 02:10 PM
Richard Mellish 12 Jul 15 - 02:56 PM
Lighter 12 Jul 15 - 03:31 PM
BrooklynJay 12 Jul 15 - 11:48 PM
bubblyrat 13 Jul 15 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Chanteyranger 15 Jul 20 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Gerry 15 Jul 20 - 11:58 PM
Dave Hanson 16 Jul 20 - 01:53 AM
Gibb Sahib 16 Jul 20 - 08:31 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Jul 20 - 10:50 AM
Lighter 16 Jul 20 - 11:56 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Jul 20 - 02:41 PM
Lighter 16 Jul 20 - 03:43 PM
EBarnacle 16 Jul 20 - 07:29 PM
Gibb Sahib 16 Jul 20 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 17 Jul 20 - 09:07 AM
Lighter 17 Jul 20 - 09:52 AM
Gibb Sahib 18 Jul 20 - 04:30 AM
Murpholly 20 Jul 20 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,Geoff Convery 20 Jul 20 - 08:06 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Jul 20 - 10:26 AM
Mrrzy 25 Jul 20 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 25 Jul 20 - 03:06 PM
Gibb Sahib 25 Jul 20 - 05:17 PM
Lighter 25 Jul 20 - 06:00 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Jul 20 - 06:14 PM
Jack Campin 28 Jul 20 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Gerry 28 Jul 20 - 08:31 AM
Sandra in Sydney 28 Jul 20 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Jul 20 - 11:14 AM
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Subject: 'john Kanaka'
From: GUEST,rockney@erols.com
Date: 14 May 00 - 06:32 PM

Can anyone help me with lyrics to 'john kanaka' ?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'john Kanaka'
From: Stewie
Date: 14 May 00 - 06:40 PM

There is a set in the DT. Just put John Kanaka in the Digitrad and Forum search box on the main forum page.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'john Kanaka'
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 14 May 00 - 11:00 PM

Also, if you forget any lyrics while singing it, you can always borrow lyrics from other chanteys that rhyme in a similar manner. "Around Cape Horn we all must go. Around cape horn through frost and snow" is a real standby. If you're singing it with kids, there is an opportunity to make up verses using kid's names, or borrowing verses from the Cape Cod chantey, such as: "Cape Cod kids don't use no combs, they comb their hair with codfish bones." Check out that chantey. John Kanaka is a great chantey to be creative with. If you want to e mail me a personal message through this site, I would be glad to send you some verses I do with kids.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'john Kanaka'
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 14 May 00 - 11:13 PM

Funny, I couldn't call it up in the Database.

I did get this error message

An error has occurred while processing the expression:
URLEncodedFormat(Title)

The error occurred on (or near) line 13 of the template file
C:\webserver\mudcat\htdocs\@displaysong.cfm.

But I did find the song here:

http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~andrew/shanty/kanaka.html

It's a Shanty Database at Memorial University in Newfoundland.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'john Kanaka'
From: paddyc
Date: 15 May 00 - 12:33 AM

Check out Liam Clancy's website. They got lyrics to all his shantys and songs. Click HERE.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'john Kanaka'
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 May 00 - 05:48 AM

Andy G kindly posted the words on this thread, Narrowboat Songs


Thread #11090   Message #228125
Posted By: AndyG
15-May-00 - 05:09 AM
Thread Name: Narrowboat songs
Subject: Lyr Add: JOHN KANAKA-NAKA^^^

Hi,
I don't see a narrowboat connection, but here y'go:

JOHN KANAKA-NAKA

I heard, I heard the Old Man say,
John kanaka-naka too-ri-ay.
Today, today's an holiday,
John kanaka-naka too-ri-ay.
Too-ri-ay, O - oh, too-ri-ay,
John kanaka-naka too-ri-ay.

We'll work tomorrer but not today,
We'll work tomorrer but not today,

We're bound away for Friso Bay,
We're bound away at the break of day,

We're bound away around Cape Horn,
We wished to God we'd never been born,

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'john Kanaka'
From: GUEST,Wolfgang
Date: 15 May 00 - 06:04 AM

George,
I could repeat your error easily. However, it is in the DT and you get it via the alphabetic list. Funny thing a database. Even funnier: Both entering 'John Kanaka' and entering 'Kanaka' in the search find me the song title in the database, but only the first search leads to the error described by George. The second search finds the song.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jul 15 - 03:59 AM

Not much on this song in the Traditional Ballad Index, but a bit:

    John Kanaka

    DESCRIPTION: Shanty. Characteristic line: "John Kanaka-naka, too-li-ay." The sailors describe how they will "work tomorrow but no work today!" Some details of their trip around the horn on a Yankee ship are given
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1977
    KEYWORDS: sailor shanty work
    FOUND IN: Barbados
    REFERENCES (3 citations):
    Hugill, pp. 288-289, "John Kanaka" (1 text, 1 tune) [AbEd, p.212]
    Fahey-Eureka, pp. 50-51, "John Kanaka" (1 text, 1 tune)
    DT, JONKANAK*

    Roud #8238
    NOTES: "Kanaka" was a term applied to Hawaiian men. Whether this song is referring to that or to "Canucks" (French-Canadians) is obscure. - PJS
    The term is used in Australia for Polynesians in general, especially those who worked in the Queensland sugar plantations. (It is said to mean simply "man.") I have to suspect that the song originally referred to the Polynesians, though of course northern sailors might have thought it meant Canucks. - RBW
    File: FaE050

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Song List

    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Here are the Digital Tradition lyrics that we have:
JOHN KANAKAa

I heard, I heard, the old man say,
John Kanaka-naka tu-lai-ay!
Today, today is a holiday,
John Kanaka-naka tu-lai-ay!

Tu-lai-ay, Oh! Tu-lai-ay!
John Kanaka-naka tu-lai-ay!

We'll work tomorrow, but no work today,
We'll work tomorrow, but no work today.

We're bound away for 'Frisco Bay,
We're bound away at the break of day.

We're bound away around Cape Horn,
We wish to Christ we'd never been born!

Oh haul, oh haul, oh haul away,
Oh haul away, an' make yer pay!

@sailor
filename[ JONKANAK
TUNE FILE: JONKANAK
CLICK TO PLAY
BR




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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: GUEST,Anon
Date: 11 Jul 15 - 09:06 PM

Pleased you have found the shanty I wrote in a previous existance.

Joe lists the earliest date as 1977 but I know my alter ego was singing it in 1968 and it was not new then by any means.

Perhaps Shanty Jack or Steve Gardham can be more forthcoming.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 05:07 AM

Stan Higill, Shanties ffrom the Severn Seas page 288


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 07:15 AM

Eckstorm & Smyth, Minstrelsy of Maine (1927), a short version titled "Jan Kanaganaga," coll. from Capt. James A Creighton, at sea in the 1850s and later. No tune is given.

James Revell Carr discusses some aspects of the chantey (inconclusively, IMO) in Hawaiian Music in Motion (2014), pp. 73-74.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 07:30 AM

More info and a copy of Creighton's text is here:

http://www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/john-kanaka.html

I don't have a copy of Minstrelsy of Maine handy, so I can't absolutely confirm the website's information, but of special interest is that Creighton "said that the song never failed 'to bring down the house when sung by a few old salts that know how to get the funny yodel-like notes that were common in the good old times of the down-east square-rigger.'"

Those "funny yodel-like notes" must have been what Hugill called "hitches."

Apparently Eckstorm and Smyth's source was not the elder Creighton but one of his sons, born after 1850. According to the website, E & S collected the song in 1925


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 08:32 AM

Gibb Schreffler writes some more about the song and Stan Hugill on his "HultonClint" YouTube page :
"HultonClint" John Kanakanaka 
where he is also recording all the other '7 Seas' shanties : go to 'Playlists' 

(Also see -The Old Salt Blog- )


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Joe_F
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 02:10 PM

Oddly, both the version in the DigiTrad and those reproduced here are missing a commonly encountered verse that happens to be my favorite:

I'm New York born and New York bred....
I'm thick in the arm and thick in the head....


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 02:56 PM

Joe -- HOW did you include that music notation in a posting? Can any of us do it?
    You have to have a Magic Edit Button, Richard. And even then, I used notation that was already at another location at Mudcat, not just any old stuff.
    -Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 03:31 PM

An unknown folkie simply adapted it from one of Hugill's other chanteys, where it's Liverpool, not New York.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 12 Jul 15 - 11:48 PM

In the 1973 album The X-Seamen's Institute Sings at the South Street Seaport, the late Bernie Klay did these lyrics:

I thought I heard the Old Man say
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
Tomorrow is our sailing day
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
Turai-ay, oh, turai-ay
John Kanaka-naka, turai-ay

I thought I heard the bos'n say
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
There's work tomorrow, but no work today
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
Turai-ay, oh, turai-ay
John Kanaka-naka, turai-ay

The bos'n says before I'm through
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
You'll curse your mother for having you
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
Turai-ay, oh, turai-ay
John Kanaka-naka, turai-ay

There's rotten meat and weevily bread
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
It's pump or drown, the Old Man said
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
Turai-ay, oh, turai-ay
John Kanaka-naka, tulai-ay

She would not steer and she would not stay
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
She shipped the water night and day
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
Turai-ay, oh, turai-ay
John Kanaka-naka, turai-ay

It's one more pull and then we'll do
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
And we're the bullies to pull her through
John Kanaka-naka turai-ay
Turai-ay, oh, turai-ay
John Kanaka-naka, turai-ay

John Kanaka by the X-Seamen's Institute


Jay


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: bubblyrat
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:50 AM

An amalgam of "John Kanaka" , "Whip Jamboree" and "Leave Her Johnny, Leave Her" , Jay !!


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: GUEST,Chanteyranger
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 06:37 PM

Our park received an instagram message asking what came first, John Kanaka or Cape Cod Girls, given similarities in some of the verses. This could be a chicken and egg question. Any information on that? My guess is that they are typical of "floating verses," going from chantey to chantey.
-Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 15 Jul 20 - 11:58 PM

The Wikipedia entry on Kanaka says (among other things),

"Kanaka", originally referred only to native Hawaiians, from their own name for themselves, kanaka ?oiwi or kanaka maoli, in the Hawai?ian language. In the Americas in particular, native Hawaiians were the majority; but Kanakas in Australia were almost entirely Melanesian. In Australian English "kanaka" is now avoided outside of its historical context, as it has been used as an offensive term.

Wikipedia goes on to say,

According to the Macquarie Dictionary, the word "kanaka", which was once widely used in Australia, is now regarded in Australian English as an offensive term for a Pacific Islander. Most "Kanakas" in Australia were people from Melanesia, rather than Polynesia. The descendants of 19th century immigrants to Australia from the Pacific Islands now generally refer to themselves as "South Sea Islanders", and this is also the term used in formal and official situations.

I note that I've never heard anyone in Australia sing it as "John South Sea Islander". About the use of the word "immigrants" in the preceding paragraph, Wikipedia clarifies:

Most of the original labourers were recruited from the Solomon Islands, the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), and New Caledonia, though others were taken from the Loyalty Islands. Some were kidnapped ("blackbirded") or otherwise induced into long-term slavery or unfree labour.

I think this lets the "recruiters" off lightly, but I claim no expertise on this.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 01:53 AM

Stan Hugill used to get annoyed at people singing ' tooryai ' which is Irish, it's ' too lai ay ' Hawaian.

It's an Hawaian song.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 08:31 AM

Chanteyranger,

The scanty amount of info *directly* about both these songs, *combined* with inferences I would make, inadequate as it may be, suggest to me that both songs came about in the second half of the 19th century in America —without being any more specific.

If we want to go strictly by direct sources, we can say that Eckstorm/Smyth (1927) is the earliest for something really confirmed as what we call "John Kanaka." But that's not really helpful. To my mind, these are not static songs as we know best from folk revival performances but must be connected to other similar songs to see their evolution. For "Cape Cod Girls," I'm honestly not even sure what that is. How are we to actually distinguish it from "Bound for [South] Australia" songs? I have to include the latter songs if I'm trying to "date" "Cape Cod Girls" because the distinction between the two is, I think, only the construct or happenstance of some popular publication.

But yes, floating verses. I'm not even convinced they are floating verses -- which suggests something even more fixed than I think they are. I didn't even think to compare these songs so, again, I have to think the person asking the question might have been exposed to some rendition based in some publication that happened to have incidental verses of one and incidental verses of the other these happened to share the same tropes.

I'm not suggesting that verses we encounter in chanties never have any connection to the songs, but I'd say maybe less than 50% did until the folk revival froze book versions in Carbonite.

My theory on "John Kanaka" is that it is based in the minstrel song "Ol' Aunt Jemima" OR ELSE both are based in the same prototype. There's nothing remotely Hawaiian about its core. There isn't even enough evidence to confirm it said "Kanaka" at all, never mind that the "kanaka" is a Hawaiian one. Yet even allowing that a surface trait in this development of the song was that it had Kanaka, that's very peripheral to what makes up the song.

People won't be surprised now to hear me say I strongly suspect "South Australia/Cape Cod Girls" is also based in a minstrel song. (Think "Alabama" or "South Virginia" rather than "Australia", and rhyme "born" with "corn," rather than Cape Horn. "Bound for South Australia" is in the style of an American popular song [minstrel] is I've ever heard one.)   

Sorry to shoot in various directions, but it's my way of saying that these two songs are two dishes coming from the same kitchen, for all intents and purposes, about the same time. One is the pork chop with corn, mashed potatoes and gravy and the other is the steak with corn, mashed potatoes, and gravy—though sometimes the cooks substitute broccoli or French fries.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 10:50 AM

Good to have you back on board, Gibb.

What some folks don't appear to understand is that chanties, although definitely folk songs, do not conform in many ways to other types of folk song characteristics. Only tunes and choruses can be relied on to have some sort of stability. They often defy attempts to categorise and relate to others in the canon. Many of the verses set to them in print appear to have been bowdlerised by the editors or borrowed from other sources.

Whilst some of them have their own origins as chanties, many are adaptations of shore songs, and arguably the largest source, as Gibb suggests here, Minstrel songs; and slave songs.

All of the historians at least agree that chanty texts were often fluid and in many cases extemporised, so treating them as stable texts is pretty pointless.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 11:56 AM

Simply to fine-tune the discussion, it appears to me that some chanteys are far more likely than others to stick to a standard development (and sometimes even standard words).

I'm thinking, of course, of Ranzo, Boney, Blow the Man Down, milkmaid versions of Rio Grande, and perhaps a few others. The impression comes from jotting down framentary chanteys given in 19th and early 20th century newspaper and magazine stories that are just different enough from the book versions to suggest independent collection.

This isn't to dispute the improvisational nature of much (or most) chantey singing. It's to suggest that some singers were more likely than others to memorize texts (and "floating stanzas") and repeat them more or less verbatim.

Anyway, I think that's what we should suspect, given the thousands of chanteymen of varying skill and disposition, along with a natural tendency to repeat a good song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 02:41 PM

Hi Jon
Of those listed here, and you might add Hanging Johnny, I would suggest Reuben Ranzo definitely follows that description, having a strong story relating to one individual. I would suggest though that the others having a stable text is more down to repeated copying of the same version by editors. I am highly suspicious of any chanty that uses the 'milkmaid' text in any genuine capacity. To me it is the default text when an editor couldn't print the real sung text because of its bawdy nature.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 03:43 PM

No matter what you might do to make "The Milkmaid" bawdy, the formulaic dialogue would - except for a few key words - run pretty much the same way.

I believe that Carpenter recorded one or two innocent versions - from seamen unlikely to have been influenced by print.

Maybe everybody was laughing while they sang them - to the enjoyment of the passengers,


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: EBarnacle
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 07:29 PM

Bernie Klay and the X-Seamen seem to be the ones who perpetrated the Too-Rye-Ay version. They were in contact with a lot of singers and many of them seem to have considered the X authoritative on a lot of issues. This, despite the fact that Stan was a friend of Bernie's.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Jul 20 - 07:45 PM

"some chanteys are far more likely than others to stick to a standard development."

Agreed.

And I can see items that may have developed semi-standard forms (i.e. before revival) -- but my emphasis would be that they developed as such, among certain groups of singers, after a point. So, if the question is of of dating the items, I wouldn't know where to draw the line between when the item was sung in more open-ended fashion and when some "closed" form became popular with some people.

I think Reuben Ranzo was a "cultural trope" or whatever, like Sally Brown and Shenandoah. Evoke the Name, and your mind typically goes to singing verses related to the theme of this legend.

I think "Hanging Johnny" suggests the technique of creating verses related to hanging. "Cape Cod Girls" is a "technique," too, more so than a song. You can pull out the "technique" of creating a bunch of verses related to "girls of this and that place." I suppose someone did that while in the midst of singing the "South Australia" item, and then it got "locked in" as an item in itself, through the collecting/publishing process.

I suspect "Blow the Man Down" didn't originate with any/strong theme, but that it was popularized with narratives texts.

So, I'm thinking of a few different phenomena for creating verse lyrics.

1. Verses with no fixity whatsoever and no attempt to relate them to the base-form (chorus). These may, in the moment, develop into #3 below.

2. Verses that one sings, not exactly, but with some consistency due to being inspired by a general field evoked by the chorus subject (the legend of Sally Brown) or some tasty word (e.g. "blow", "hang").

3. Verses that cohere with each other -- but not necessarily with the base-form -- because they follow a technique. The mind of the improvisor goes to a formula like "X girls are ABC" or "Was you ever in XYZ", and then s/he decides to spin out subsequent verses on that formula.

4. Narrative texts that, perhaps out of boredom with a much-used base form, perhaps to satisfy the aesthetic preferences of a particular culturally-oriented group of singers, are "spliced" (Hugill's idea) onto the framework of the base-form.

What is relevant about "John Kanaka," with what little little information we have, is that aside from the chorus phrase of "Kanaka" -- if it really is the Polynesian word -- there is nothing to suggest Polynesian stuff. And the verses we have from Hugill don't strike *me* as forming any particular theme. They'd be just as at home in any other performance of the majority of chanties without standardized themes. (#1, though possibly #2 if we had more info.) So, reading the Hugill verses against a background of imagining the song as a Polynesian-themed thing is, in my thinking, a big mistake.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 17 Jul 20 - 09:07 AM

I know someone who has written some much better words to this tune, based on Thomas Schafernaker.... I'll ask her for the words when this Covid is over....

(for US readers, he's a well known BBC weatherman)


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Jul 20 - 09:52 AM

I concur.

As for "John Kanaka," Hugill may have thought the tune (and certainly the Kanakanaka business) sounded Hawaiian or Polynesian.

As mentioned above, the "Tu-lye-ee [or 'ay']" doesn't sound quite natural in English.

Thus the pop change to "Tu-rye...." (Like "Toora loora loora.")


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Jul 20 - 04:30 AM

Not sure if I've posted this on Mudcat before. Thinking of writing a paper some day, maybe for Mystic Sea Symposium. The topic: "Ole Aunt Jemima" possibly being a source for what would become "John Kanaka."

"Old Aunt Jemima" dates, it seems, from the early-mid-1870s, popularized by Joe Lang.

Here's one printing of a version.

https://books.google.com/books?id=LhVLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA15&dq=%22garden+siftin+sand% (Scroll up one page.)

The verses are common ones from the minstrel and/or Black American repertoire, many of which will be recognized as "floating verses" in chanties.

My ole Missus a-promised me
    Ole Aunt Jemima, oh I oh
That when she died she'd a-sot me free
      Ole Aunt Jemima, oh I oh
Ole Aunt Jemima....
    Ole Aunt Jemima
[it then adds a coda, that doesn't make it into John Kanaka's form]

For me, the "slave" theme -- the talk about the missus/master in control -- parallels the dialogue with the ship's master (captain), who grants "holiday" from work. (This would be Christmas day for enslaved people.)

One can see the "character" of "Aunt Jemima" filling the "slot" (paradigm) of another character, John Kanaka. (There's some harmony, I think, between "Jemima" and "Kanaka.") Perhaps, "John Kanaka" is grafted in as another stock ethnic-stereotype. Or, perhaps, there was the chanty based on this tune, "John, come tell us as we haul away" (documented by Hugill), wherein "John Kome-tell-us-as-we" morphs into "John kanaganaga" (Eckstorm/Smyth) / "John kanakanaka".

And of course, the "oh i oh" are the nonsense syllables occupying the same place as "tu lay ey."

But the tune shape and form are the distinctive thing here.

First, the tune shape is like "John Kanaka."

But the really distinctive thing is the way, after the first four lines (couplet part 1, refrain, couplet part 2, refrain) we get an unusual break into an "ad libbed" falsetto section, with a fermata (pause) -- the equivalent to the "wild," improvised "tu lay ey oh!... tu lay ey!" Footnote: "The soloist at this point in each verse should break into falsetto."


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Murpholly
Date: 20 Jul 20 - 06:59 AM

And here are the words sof Tomasz Schahfenaker by Geoff Convery

I thought I heard Peter Levy say,
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay
Give us the weather for the holiday
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay
Earn your pay oh earn you pay
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay

It'll rain tomorrow it'll rain today
Tomasz Schafenaker earn yhour pay
And chuck it down if you go away
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay
Earn your pay Oh earn your pay
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay

Though Keely Donovan says blue sky
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay
It won't be enough to keep Cleethorpes dry
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay
Earn your pay Oh earn your Pay
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay

And don'#t you take lthat Darren Bett
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay
Cos it's a dead cert that it's gonna be wet
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay
Earn your pay oh earn your p[ay
Tomazy Schafenaker earn your pay

No matter what Paul Hudson may say
Tomaz Schafenaker earn your pay
The clouds are goona be a dark orrible grey
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay
Eearn your pay oh earn your pay
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay

Whether he wears a tie or not
Tomasz Scafenaker earn your pay
The weekend's never gonna be hot
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay
Earn your pay oh earn your paaaaaaaaaaaay
Tomasz Schafenaker earn your pay


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: GUEST,Geoff Convery
Date: 20 Jul 20 - 08:06 PM

This just goes to show that, as Steve Gardham said, the words of shanties are fluid. OK my verses are a parody but I don't believe that the sailors on windjammers treated the songs with any huge respect. If there was a way to make a joke with one I'm sure they would have done it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Jul 20 - 10:26 AM

I posted the entire text to this article in the Are racist, but traditional, songs OK? thread (this link goes directly to that story). I'll post the link to the National Public Radio Weekend Edition Saturday story here also:

Breaking Down The Legacy Of Race In Traditional Music In America. The audio of the July 25, 2020 story will probably be available by July 26. The long story posted is probably the transcription. The term "Kanaka" is featured in the discussion.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Jul 20 - 02:30 PM

Beat me to it *again*, Stilly!


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 25 Jul 20 - 03:06 PM

Mutual admiration society notwithstanding. The problem with using the U.S. federal government's state media is the history of planet Earth isn't GI issue.

In the Caribbean kanaka is "human being" (just like in Little Big Man btw) and "Kanaka" is "Hawaiian" proper. Sing it all you like, no problemo. Do mind the caps when writing it out.

PS: We don't accuse Harriet Beecher Stowe of being a flaming racist or micro-aggressive even; and Paul Whiteman's last name was never a problem for West Coast jazz.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 25 Jul 20 - 05:17 PM

I have absolutely no objection to posting/linking the NPR article here, so please don't think I'm insuating anything about etiquette! I also shared it in one of my networks, and the "Kanaka" part is as relevant here as anywhere.

What I mention it to say is what it made me think about—which is that these kids (my ageism is showing?) have NOTHING to tell us about this music. (Or do they? I'll still listen, but I don't hear it yet.)

We're having a discussion about the intricate history of song origins. We use knowledge of several genres, of how performers put together them, of historical linguistics, of textual and musical analysis. And all the kids have to tell us is that, according to something they heard yesterday, "Kanaka" is a racist word. Hey, maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I'm not likely to trust their assertion of it though being as I don't have much faith that the 13 year old that piped up to say it *really* had conversations with Hawaiians about they feel, or analyzed any historical texts for usage, etc. But sure, maybe it is.... and now here we end up, stuck on a word (the one Word... it always comes back to that with religious types)... and what happened to all the other thinking?

I mean, thinking could be, say, about aesthetics—it's not limited to discussion of origin. These kids could be talking about how to make their singing sound GOOD. Like, "What's our vision of what we'd like to sound like when we sing a chanty?" Lots of stuff to contemplate. Do they get into any of the "flavor"... any way of trying to understand the ethos of the songs? Etc.

Taking out "Kanaka" is NOT going to make that very ethnocentric scene of which they're a part any less ethnocentric. It's not going to become more inclusive, sorry. Other kinds of people are not going to flock to this sort of gathering of "traditional"/baby boomer revival music, because *all they're doing is recreating what appeals to their own ethnos*. They're taking what they could be learning from the music to become less ethnocentric or more broad minded or more passionate--living with life's paradoxes, within the struggles of love and hate-- and bringing it in accord with the vision of their own narrow ethnos and only cloning themselves.

I know they were talking about "Old Maui," but let's say it was "John Kanaka." I can picture a Black American/Caribbean seaman, maybe he's got a Hawaiian buddy on his ship whom he really admires. Out of affection, he calls his buddy John Kanaka. He tweaks the words to a popular song, inserting "John Kanaka" in the place of "Aunt Jemima." Maybe that didn't happen, but who knows? That door into the interaction between people is closed if we simply think "Kanaka" was a "bad word" that "bad people" said, and now we "good people" know the good word.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Jul 20 - 06:00 PM

You're absolutely right, Gibb.

But don't get me started.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Jul 20 - 06:14 PM

Phil, your observation about the U.S. federal government's state media is entirely incorrect. The amount of federal money that goes to the public broadcasting networks is very low, like under 3%. It is PUBLIC TV and Radio, supported by viewers and listeners and well-heeled foundations.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Jul 20 - 07:55 AM

I presume "kanaka" (given Polynesian consonant shifts) is cognate with Maori "tangata", which just means "man" or "human being" and has never had any racist usage in any language that I've heard of.

You get "fellow" used in Australian English, mainly in the context "blackfella". What do Aborigines think about that? I don't think it's anywhere near as oppressive as American "boy", but I don't really know.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 28 Jul 20 - 08:31 AM

According to the Macquarie dictionary, "blackfella" is "chiefly Aboriginal English".


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 28 Jul 20 - 09:08 AM

blackfellas call themselves blackfellas -

Billy the Blackfella from Bourke transcribed from Billy's tapes by my friend Chris Woodland, folklorist, oral historian
This is the story of Billy Gray, who called himself a blackfella from Bourke. It is the authentic speaking voice of the man.

Transcribed from tapes made by his friend of 52 years, Chris Woodland, he tells of life working as a stockman, drover, fencer, taxi driver, factory labourer, water and oil driller, in Australia and South America and Indonesia.

His travels and experiences gave him a deep understanding of the cultures of different peoples. In South America he found for the first time in his life that he could move freely without experiencing that feeling of being an outcast; he just blended in.

Music was always an important part of Billys life, from playing and singing round the campfire to performing with a band.

Many people may find some of the terms used by Billy to be politically incorrect. Those expressions are still very much in use today among the Aboriginal people. Billy was proud to be a blackfella and he knew me as a whitefella, writes Chris. 'They were, and are, accepted lingo. The couple of times he called me a white Murri (white blackfella) made me feel honoured. On several occasions over many years, when Billy was happy with some achievement he would say, Not bad for an old blackfella from Bourke, eh?'

For the last few years of his life Billy lived at Tamworth. Two of his boys were living and working with him at Bourke and he thought that Tamworth would offer them better opportunities and, he thought, less disturbing influences on lads of their impressionable years. Of course Bourke was always Billys spiritual home, but he welcomed the new life at Tamworth, particularly as he was now living at the centre of his beloved country music.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Kanaka
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Jul 20 - 11:14 AM

SRS: The funding of all Yank politics is just plain nasty. 'Nuff said.

Federal “Government Issue” as in production & distribution. The national level Corporation for Public Broadcasting and American state/local government (public) schools are joined at the hip.

Amy Goodman is not exactly an American centrist now is she? History isn't collateral damage in a culture war. It's the target of choice.

RE Kanaka etymology: very similar to Sub-Saharan African and Native American cultures, before the Westerners invented a Hawaiian alphabet and written language c.1820s all Kanaka Maoli life was spoken word only.

A decade either way and you'd be singing about John Tanata or Ranara or heaven only knows.

Hiram Bingham I
Hiram Bingham II


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