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Jacomo finane? What does that mean?

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Yo 11 Jul 00 - 01:25 PM
Jacob B 11 Jul 00 - 01:58 PM
Joe Offer 11 Jul 00 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,guitarist 11 Jul 00 - 02:59 PM
Kim C 11 Jul 00 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,guitarist 11 Jul 00 - 03:10 PM
Mbo 11 Jul 00 - 03:13 PM
Yo 11 Jul 00 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,guitarist 11 Jul 00 - 04:18 PM
WillH 11 Jul 00 - 04:19 PM
Yo 11 Jul 00 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,guitarist 11 Jul 00 - 06:12 PM
JenEllen 11 Jul 00 - 08:18 PM
Noreen 11 Jul 00 - 08:59 PM
Joe Offer 12 Jul 00 - 04:27 AM
Yo 12 Jul 00 - 09:23 AM
Callie 12 Jul 00 - 09:41 AM
WillH 12 Jul 00 - 10:36 AM
JenEllen 12 Jul 00 - 12:31 PM
Mark Cohen 12 Jul 00 - 06:30 PM
Stewie 12 Jul 00 - 06:53 PM
Yo 13 Jul 00 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,guitarist 13 Jul 00 - 12:15 PM
Yo 13 Jul 00 - 02:38 PM
Sean Belt 13 Jul 00 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,guitarist 13 Jul 00 - 06:09 PM
Callie 13 Jul 00 - 07:01 PM
Mark Cohen 14 Jul 00 - 12:37 AM
Yo 14 Jul 00 - 06:43 AM
Stewie 14 Jul 00 - 09:39 PM
GUEST,Barry Finn 14 Jul 00 - 10:13 PM
Callie 15 Jul 00 - 12:49 AM
Helen 15 Jul 00 - 03:13 AM
Mark Cohen 15 Jul 00 - 03:47 AM
Callie 31 Jul 00 - 01:20 AM
Margo 31 Jul 00 - 02:13 AM
Yo 31 Jul 00 - 03:22 AM
Callie 31 Jul 00 - 03:41 AM
Callie 31 Jul 00 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,GMT 31 Jul 00 - 04:11 AM
Yo 31 Jul 00 - 04:14 AM
Yo 31 Jul 00 - 04:27 AM
Bud Savoie 31 Jul 00 - 07:20 AM
Callie 31 Jul 00 - 08:34 AM
Callie 31 Jul 00 - 08:55 AM
Gary T 31 Jul 00 - 09:11 AM
Giac 31 Jul 00 - 10:00 AM
Callie 31 Jul 00 - 10:03 AM
Gary T 31 Jul 00 - 10:12 AM
Yo 31 Jul 00 - 04:56 PM
Gary T 31 Jul 00 - 06:13 PM
Yo 31 Jul 00 - 06:15 PM
Gary T 31 Jul 00 - 07:38 PM
Callie 02 Aug 00 - 05:00 AM
Yo 06 Aug 00 - 11:23 AM
Callie 06 Aug 00 - 11:28 AM
Giac 06 Aug 00 - 12:48 PM
Yo 06 Aug 00 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,Jamesthegirl21 28 Jan 01 - 07:42 PM
Callie at work 28 Jan 01 - 08:31 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 28 Jan 01 - 09:30 PM
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LR Mole 29 Jan 01 - 12:16 PM
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jeanenepratt 13 Aug 01 - 07:59 PM
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Genie 15 Aug 01 - 07:45 PM
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Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Oct 07 - 10:38 PM
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Mr Red 25 Mar 08 - 08:47 AM
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Subject: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 01:25 PM

That's the question; What does Jacomo finane mean? I do sing it myself in a song (Brother John) but I don't even know what it means...


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Jacob B
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 01:58 PM

As someone with no firsthand knowledge whatever, I'll be glad to throw some hearsay into the discussion. I heard some interview (or maybe, I read some article) in which a musician who had grown up on the streets of New Orleans said that his gang used to say "Jacomo finane" a lot, and that he had always understood it to mean, "get out of our way, 'cause here we come!"


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 02:10 PM

Hi, Yo - I KNOW I've heard that song, and it's going to bug me until I can figure out the rest of the song. Could you please post the lyrics here in this thread, and let us know where you learned it? Thanks.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,guitarist
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 02:59 PM

heheh -- when you find out let me know. I spent hours online one time trying to track it down, and came away knowing exactly as much as I did when I started.

It's in "Brother John" but I think the first recorded appearance of it is in "Iko Iko", mid 50's New Orleans band (ahh, I don't want to go through looking all that stuff up again, but a search on "Iko Iko" will turn up more hits than you can wade through in the rest of your life).

It's Creole patois, a slang admixture of French, Swahili, and possibly rhythmic nonsense syllables -- if you find out anything, post back -- there may be an answer out there, I just couldn't find it.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Kim C
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 03:00 PM

Maybe it's Creole for Help, I've fallen and I can't get up?


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,guitarist
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 03:10 PM

lessee -- "help, I've fallen, and I can't get up -- Iko Iko onday"

or "help, I've fallen, and I can't get up -- Brother John is gone"

yeah, that works!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Mbo
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 03:13 PM

Jacomo is obviously a variation of Giacomo, which means "John" in Italian (I'm Italian I should know), and as far as I know, "Finane" is a common Italian surname. I could be wrong of course.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 03:54 PM

So an Italian name eh? Could it mean John Do than? I agree with you guitarist; help i've fallen and can't get up doesn't realy work. I saw the words in another discussion in a French cajunlike song too. Still want the lyrics of Brother John, Joe Offer? I think I have them somewhere... Guitarist, do you know any more Mr.Dave songs, and lyrics?!! YO.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,guitarist
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 04:18 PM

nah, there's more to it than "John Doe" -- Jockomo/Giacomo derives somehow from the medieval jester character, but how it all ends up in the Mardi Gras "Indian" mythology is more than I was able to pursue. You could probably make a doctoral dissertation out of it, it's really pretty interesting how that culture comes together, but it'd be an insane amount of research, and I don't know that you'd ever really sort it out -- for example, one of the things I turned up was an interview with an old Mardi Gras "Indian", who was complaining that the culture was being lost because the young "Indians" didn't know the meaning of the songs. Well, if _they_ don't know, who does?

I really think to figure it out, you'd have to go to New Orleans and hang out with the "tribes", and even then maybe never really learn conclusively where all the stuff comes from.

But hey, if you find out, lemme know!!!

(oh yeah, the only Dave stuff I have is the first El Rayo X, love that album but that's all I've got). You might want to check out Dr. John, Professor Longhair, The Wild Tchoupitoulas (that spelling is probably way off), the Meters, etc if you like that stuff, that's where Dave got it.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: WillH
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 04:19 PM

Brother John is on the "Wild Tchoupitoulas" eponymous album.It is also in a Les Blank film called, "Always for Pleasure" about the Wild Tchoupitoulas and other Mardi Gras bands and they discuss the meaning of the words that they sing and other things, you can buy it from Elderly Instrments, or rent it if from some of the more funky video stores.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 04:51 PM

I might be dumb, but what's Mardi Gras?? You might wanna check out Mr.Dave's work with Wally Ingram. I think it's awsome! (Listen to my English, almost no accent!!) Thanks for the hints Guitarist, I'll try and check out those bands. You realy think David got it from them? I mean, he's a musician all his live......


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,guitarist
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 06:12 PM

Yo, Mardi Gras is a street festival in New Orleans at the beginning of the christian observation of Lent. Lent is supposed to be a period of self-denial, so Mardis Gras (Fat Tuesday) is a monstrous party of self-indulgence. The culture surrounding Mardi Gras extends far beyond the festival itself, though, there's a whole tradition of music derived from the bands that march in the parade, which is where the song "Brother John" comes from. Dave didn't "steal" it or anything, but he didn't write it.

WillH, thanks for the tip on the film -- I'll see if the library can track it down for me, I'd love to see it.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: JenEllen
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 08:18 PM

I'd heard the the Jacomo finanais....as Jacomo being a FranglasianCajun version of John, and the finanais being the end..Brother John is Gone/Dead.

In the Mardi Gras, various "bands" get together, dress in the similar "colours" of their group, and have a sort of singing contest. This is MUCH evolved from the times when the families/groups used to get together and duke it our for glory. The Brother John song is a great song to get the troops ready to go into battle.

I'll have a look in the record cupboard, I have a terrific version of this type of thing and I can't quite remember the name of it, but the Neville Brothers are on it and they actually go out and sing/fight for Mardi Gras.

Hope this helps, ~Elle


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Noreen
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 08:59 PM

When they're not playing football................


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Subject: Brother John & Iko Iko - Neville Brothers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 04:27 AM

Hi, Yo - I found the "Brother John" lyrics on a terrific Smithsonian Folkways CD called "Crossroads: Southern Routes." It's an enhanced CD and it displays the lyrics as the song plays - but it moves too fast for me to be able to transcribe them.

MardiGras (Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday), is known as Carnival or Karneval in much of Europe. I found an interesting article about the Mardi Gras Indians (click).
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 09:23 AM

Who are these Neville Brothers youguys keep telling me about?? I found them on the web, and listen to some samples. But it's nothing like I thought it would be... Way of from the Brother John song I know. Tell me more people, meanwhile I'll be surfing the web for some more Mardi Gras info..I love this stuff! Yo!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 09:41 AM

The Neville Brothers are a bunch of BIG American guys (brothers) who sing like angels. I was on an airplane with them once (that's just my 'brush with fame' for the evening). They've made plenty of recordings but apprently are MUCH MUCH better live.

I imagine a lot of the Mardi Gras stuff you'll find on the web is about the Gay Mardi Gras which happens annually in Sydney and is one of Australia's biggest tourist events. It's never held on Shrove Tuesday, or indeed any Tuesday.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: WillH
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 10:36 AM

I believe that Aaron Neville produced the Wild Tchoupitoulas album, and that the music was played by the Neville Brothers, with Dr. John and others.

Guitarist mentioned Mardi Gras being associated with the tradition of Mummer's pagents, which makes me think of Philadephia's Mummer's parade. The costumes are so much like the Indian Tribes, but the routines are way more elaborate, and for some reason, they celebrate on New Year's Day (Which is known as Mummer's Day in Philadelphia)

The music that the Philadelphia String Bands play is nothing like indian tribe music though. For that matter, the Morris Music and Carneval music are nothing like the others either, and the pagents are all closely related, at least in terms of tradition..


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: JenEllen
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 12:31 PM

Yo:
For one of the best interpretations of this music, try and get ahold of that Wild Tchoupitoulas (pronounced 'chap-a-tool-uh') album.
~Elle


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 06:30 PM

Will, the Mummers Parade grew out of the Shooters, a Philadelphia New Year's celebration where people marched through the streets shooting guns in the air. I believe they adopted the English Mumming tradition and incorporated it into the festivities. But now it's taken on a life of its own. I don't know if there's anything quite like the String Bands, Fancies, and Comics anywhere else in the world. But I hear they no longer march down Broad Street???? That would be sad.

As I recall the lyrics of "Iko Iko", the words go, "Jacomo fino ah nah nay, Jacomo fina nay," or something close. The "Jacomo fino" part would give credence to the "Giacomo is dead" interpretation. Unless it was all made up by a seventh grader. I think we have the makings of a doctoral thesis in folklore here.

Aloha,
Mark (ex-Philly kid)


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Stewie
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 06:53 PM

A relatively old, but fascinating, book about the folklore associated with Louisiana mardi gras, kings, baby dolls, zulus, queens, creoles, cajuns etc is Lyle Saxon, Edward Dreyer and Robert Tallant (Eds and compilers) 'A Collection of Louisiana Folk Tales: Gumbo Ya-Ya' Louisiana Writers Project Publications. The edition that I have was published by Bonanza Books and copyrighted by the Louisiana Library Commission.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 11:18 AM

So,.....the music Lindley makes (today) would that have anything to do with Mardi Gras, or is it just his El Rayo-x period? And if it's not, how would one describe his music? Not that it REALY matters to me, I like it anyway, but still..... I'll try and find that Wild Tchoupitoulas album, if I can here in Europe! I guess my anitial question: What does Jacomo finane mean? would be : (Brother) John is gone. Right/ Yo


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,guitarist
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 12:15 PM

Lindley's music is influenced by a huge range of American folk and popular music, the New Orleans thing is only part of the picture. And it's not just American, either, he draws on all sorts of stuff.

It's not just Lindley, the foundation of that New Orleans "second line" sound is the rhythm ONEandtwoANDthreeandFOURand, which turns up everywhere from bossa nova to voodoo ceremonial music to Nigerian patty-cake games to -- you name it. Apparently it was introduced to the New World through the slave trade, it seems to originate in West Africa.

heh, it's a big subject -- people make careers out of question less complicated than this. It's interesting to follow the trail, but don't get hung up on absolute answers, you won't find many.

Jockomo fi na ne / Brother John is gone, that's one hypothesis, there are many others -- just pick one you like. :)


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 02:38 PM

I'll pick "Brother John is Gone"... K? I guess you're right guitarist, and I don't realy want one answer I guess. If I say here that I like David Lindley people say: Oh, and what kinda music does he play?

I wonder, do you know what Lindley is doing with Wally Ingram now? If you do, who else plays that kinda music? Or did I allready ask you that? Did you read my other thread about him? I saw them a couple of weeks ago playing in a bar here in Holland! Awsome! Well youguys gave me lots to do, and than to think that I was just getting into Cajun....uuch.... Yo.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Sean Belt
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 03:12 PM

I've heard, though I can't recall the source or point you in the way of a verification, that the phrase "Jakomo fi na nay" fits in with the bragging/boasting/challenging nature of the song "Brother John" as sung by the Indian gangs/tribes during Mardi Gras. The phrase is reputed to be a made up string of words which means loosely, "And if you don't like it, you can kiss my butt!"

I'm just sayin' is all....

- Sean


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,guitarist
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 06:09 PM

Yo, my guess is like Sean's -- if you listen to a lot of this Mardis Gras stuff you'll hear the phrase "Jockomo fee nah nay" or "Jockomo ah na fi na ne" over and over in different songs, and from context it always seems to mean what Sean described. If you judge just by the song "Brother John" the "John is dead" idea seems to make sense, but I think maybe that's just coincidence.

I hadn't heard the Wally Ingram stuff before your posts -- just listened to some clips at www.davidlindley.com, and it sounds like the New Orleans thing is still a big part of his style judging by "Cat Food Sandwiches". The archetype of that drumming style is Ziggy Modeliste of the Meters, so you'll probably find something to like in the Meters, Wild Tchoupitoulas, etc.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 07:01 PM

This is a bit creepy. I had a dream last night where I was in some kind of street parade. People had masks and face paint and colourful costumes and there was a lot of noise, but underneath it all everyone knew something terrible had happened. The phrase I kept hearing over and over again, underneath the din, and in slow motion, was "Jacomo Finane". Gave me the utter creeps. I hadn't heard the phrase before reading this thread. That'll teach me to stay up reading Mudcat threads before going to sleep.

Thanks for the nightmares, all.

Callie


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 14 Jul 00 - 12:37 AM

Next thing you know, Callie, you'll be dreaming about Spaw. And wouldn't he love that! Better try warm milk instead.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 14 Jul 00 - 06:43 AM

K, I'll see if I can find the Meters too then. All this changes my whole vieuw to music, this kind of music I mean. I just knew Lindley from Jackson Browne and El Rayo-X, now a whole new light starts to shine. I like his work even better, so now try and find the same stuff from other people. Living in the States makes it so much easier I guess. Here in Europe we don't know that culture, maybe the French do, but each country is so to itsself overhere. Yo.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Stewie
Date: 14 Jul 00 - 09:39 PM

Yo, you might like also to check out Huey 'Piano' Smith and The Clowns who were an influence on Dr John, among others. They had fine hits in the late 50s such as 'High blood pressure', 'Don't you just know it', 'Rockin' pneumonia' etc. There used to be reissues on labels like Ace and Charly.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Barry Finn
Date: 14 Jul 00 - 10:13 PM

John Dead, Grey goose gone home
And the fox in the way (run away oh?) oh

This is part of a west indian rowing shanty, any connections? Grey goose is a sailor/fisherman who goes home before the he's finished out his job. Don't know who or what John Dead is. Barry


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 15 Jul 00 - 12:49 AM

You're an evil man Mark Cohen!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Helen
Date: 15 Jul 00 - 03:13 AM

Just a thought - I wonder if the John is Dead idea has anything to do with John Barleycorn is Dead which, as I understand it, relates to the celebration of the seasons in relation to the harvests. Planting the seed (burying John), the seed sprouting (John is alive), the crop being harvested (John is killed), and then the cycle starting agian. That all relates to a lot of primitive/ancient crop-farming cultures including the Celtic cultures, I think. The Celtic reference is to The Green Man, I think.

That opens up a whole new connection to the idea of pre-Christian celebrations and rituals being incorporated into the Christian year of celebrations etc. John Barleycorn can be related to Christ's death, burial, rebirth too.

This is just a thought that occurred to me and could be way, way off beam

Helen


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 15 Jul 00 - 03:47 AM

Not!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 01:20 AM

Well, I couldn't resist. I ordered David Linley's CD with "Brother John" on it through Amazon and it arrived today. I'm having my first listen, and think it's just great! Thanks to all the folks who aroused my curiosity in the first place.

With regards to the Mardi Gras "sing offs", can anyone recommend a good recording of these?

Callie


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Margo
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 02:13 AM

I sure would like to see the lyrics to see how the phrase might fit into the song. I remember hearing that song at the beginning of a movie with Tom Cruise in it. Could it be "Rainman"?

Margo


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 03:22 AM

GOOD FOR YOU Callie !! I think that album was my first one to. I never could find it on cd first, cause I didn't think that "Win this record" would be the title. Now I have lots of Lindley, and I like him better every day. There is one album I can't seem to find; "Mr.Dave" I don't even know if it's on cd or not. btw what do you think of the rest of the songs?

About those lyrics Margo, that's just the one little part I don't realy understand.

"He sang Jacomo fina, finane (brother John is gone) and if you ever wasn't ready, better get out the way (brother John is gone)

I don't know if that second sentence is right, but that's what I hear... Yo!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 03:41 AM

The rest of the songs are pretty good, but I haven't had a close listen, coz I've got Brother J on "repeat". hope the neighbours like it ...


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 03:53 AM

Oh I forgot. Yo: If you love "Win This Record", you'd love a a recording called "True Stories" by an Australian group called The Revelators (usually go by the name The Black Sorrows, and have recorded entire albums of Zydeco). "True Stories" is a covers album of Gram Parsons and the like. The style of "Win ..." reminds me of it a lot.

Ahh - Just listening to "Rock It With I" - fantastic!!!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,GMT
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 04:11 AM

A group called "Marley's Ghost" did a great version of IKO-IKO,and those cajun words were in the chorus


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 04:14 AM

This is realy great Callie, I'm sitting here 1000 miles away and smiling from ear to ear 'cause somebody is listening to "my" music. I realy think it's awsome that you like it, and you'll like it more and more.. I had tapes of Lindley to play in my car, I played them for months in a row and never got board (Is that English?)

Thanks for telling me about The Revelators! That's just what I need. So,what I need to look for is True Stories by The Relevators?

If you like Win This Record so much, you just HAVE to listen to more of his albums (got money enough?!) ;-] Yo.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 04:27 AM

GMT "Iko-Iko" is in the chorus of Brother John? Or do you mean "Jacomo finane" ? And is Marley's Ghost the same kind of music as Lindley's? I mean, would you recommend it? Lots of questions eh? Yo.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 07:20 AM

Creole French is something the I just can't understand. It's further away from standard French than you might think. But in French "Jacques" means "James" (not John) and the word "fit," pronounced "fee", means "said" or "did." So the enigmatic phrase might mean "James said/did nane." I hope this clears things up.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 08:34 AM

Now I'm intrigued and can't rest til I find the answer.

I found a sound byte from the Wild Thcou... album of the Neville Bros doing "Brother John" - it was great!

I'll keep hunting for "Jacomo".

Yo: if you can't find "True Stories" through Amazon, send me a message on the personal pages and I'll send you a tape.

Callie


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 08:55 AM

Error: It's called "AMAZING Stories", and it's not for sale through Amazon.

A previous incarnation of the band, called The Black Sorrows, recorded 2 albums of zydeco music. One is called "Sonola". I don't remmeber the name of the other. The musical brains behind the band is Joe Camilleri, an inspiring musician, songwriter, teacher, etc etc. The band has changed direction a dozen times and is now doing jazz/groove stuff.

Anyway, I'm off to search for Jacomo!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Gary T
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 09:11 AM

Bud, this is from a post JenEllen made earlier in this thread: "I'd heard the the Jacomo finanais....as Jacomo being a FranglasianCajun version of John, and the finanais being the end..Brother John is Gone/Dead."There doesn't seem to be any indication that it's simply "fit", but rather that it's "finanais" (spelled finane), sometimes preceded by part of "finanais". In another fairly recent thread on the song "Iko-Iko" it was pointed out that "Jacomo" was a phonetic rendition of "Giacomo", which is a French version of the name "John".

Yo, I'm sure GMT was referring to "Jacomo finane" as the Cajun words in the chorus of "Iko-Iko". I've heard Marley's Ghost at the annual music festival in Winfield, Kansas. They have a rather eclectic repertoire, and I'm not familiar with David Lindley, so I don't know how they would compare. They did a crowd-rousing version of "Iko-Iko" which I loved listening to.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Giac
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 10:00 AM

Weeel, see if this clouds or helps clear it. My last name (where Giac comes from) is a gift from Italian ancestors, and I was told it means Jacob.

Just looked up Giacomo in my outrageously heavy Collins Sansoni dictionary:

giacomo (pop) - fare ~ (tremare) to tremble, to shake; Giacomo N.pr.m. 1 James. 2 (Bibl) Jacob.

Alrighty, then.

BTW, I don't speak Italian, I just thought the huge dictionary was cool, and have actually used it a lot.

Giacfinanebutnotdead


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 10:03 AM

ok - I looked through all the Mardi Gras sites I could find and none of them mentioned "Jacomo". So I am prepared to accept "John is Dead" and call it a night!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Gary T
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 10:12 AM

That makes sense to me, Giac, as I've always heard that "Jean" was the French equivalent of "John". I was repeating what I understood someone else to have said on another thread. That explanation may still be correct, but I don't know personally.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 04:56 PM

I settle for "John is dead". It's sad but... Still, it doesn't sound right in Lindley's version of "Brother John is gone". Because.....if I understand the lyrics right, it's Brother John himself who sings Jacomo fina finane. So how can a man who's gone (he died on the battlefield) sing these words?¿ I'm still not sure.... Yo.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Gary T
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 06:13 PM

Well, Yo, it's not unprecedented for a song to be obviously narrated by the deceased. Compare "The Long Black Veil" (Lefty Frizzell), "The Highwayman" (The Highwaymen), and "El Paso" (Marty Robbins).


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 06:15 PM

And writing that, I think that maybe the first respond to this thread (by Jacob B) wasn't so bad at all. That would fit perfectly in that context. The next line in the song is "and if you ever wasn't ready better get out the way" . So "Get out of our way 'cause here we come" might be a very good translation. Right? Yo.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Gary T
Date: 31 Jul 00 - 07:38 PM

Makes sense to me.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 02 Aug 00 - 05:00 AM

Mystery solved guys - and it was right under my nose. A musician friend I saw this arvo told me that Jacomo Finane (or whatever spelling) refers the death of the great Tribal leader John Jolly.

Now we can all get some sleep!!

Callie


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 11:23 AM

Tel me more about John Jolly Cally! Could that be brother John then??? Yo.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 11:28 AM

Well, according to my musician friend, The 'Jockomo Finane' is in memorium to John Jolly. It has now entered popular usage, but he reckons that's what the meaning is.


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Subject: Lyr Add: IKO IKO (Crawford)
From: Giac
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 12:48 PM

Obviously this is bugging me. This morning, I turned up this info, and the lyrics attributed to "Jockamo" James Crawford.

Iko Iko

"Jockamo" James Crawford, ~1950, New Orleans

My grandma and your grandma
Were sittin' by the fire.
My grandma told your grandma:
"I'm gonna set your flag on fire."

Chorus:

Talkin' 'bout: Hey now! Hey now!
Iko, Iko, unday
Jockamo feeno ai nané.
Jockamo fee nané.

Look at my king all dressed in red.
Iko, Iko, unday.
I betcha five dollars he'll kill you dead.
Jockamo fee nané

Chorus:

My flag boy and your flag boy
Were sittin' by the fire.
My flag boy told your flag boy:
"I'm gonna set your flag on fire."

Chorus:

See that guy all dressed in green?
Iko, Iko, unday. He's not a man;
He's a lovin' machine.
Jockamo fee nané.

Chorus:

Since the author's nickname is "Jockamo," could it be he is literally talking about "his" grandma? Or, was he called that after he wrote the song? Comes across to me now as a song about a battle hero (Battle of New Orleans or War of 1812, (reference to "king in red") maybe), perhaps as related by two grannies sitting by the fire and getting into a squabble over past "troubles," and extolling a local hero.

Giac, who really wants to know-arrrgh!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yo
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 01:01 PM

Me! bwt Callie, did you get my messages right? And Giac, whyle we're at it. What's "Iko Iko"? Or did I mis something here? Yo.


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Subject: Lyr req:Don't you just know it
From: GUEST,Jamesthegirl21
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 07:42 PM

I grew up listening to this song on an old unlabeled tape of my step-father's, and just recenly found out that it is by Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns. I would love to have the lyrics to it, I have tried to figure them out for years, but some of them are just about impossible for me. ANy help would be appreciated. Thanks, Jamie


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Callie at work
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 08:31 PM

I have tried to find the words on the net, to no avail. I agree that some of the words are difficult to make out, so I'd be interested in them too!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 09:30 PM

The lyrics by Giac pretty well sum up the words that I can find in a few minutes with Yahoo. There is a variation by the Grateful Dead on www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/songfile (many lyrics here). A version, essentially the same as given by Giac, played and sung by the Dead on www.4inprint.com/neil/jukebox/jukea.htm. A version by the Dixie Cups is mentioned also. The site www.cajunfrenchmusic.org and a letter by Dr. John pretty much indicate that "Jocamo" is jester and Iko is unknown.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 09:56 PM

Adding to Guest, guitarist contributions, the name of James Crawford's group was Sugar Boy and the Cane Cutters. Dr. John, in his liner notes to "Gumbo", 1972, notes that the Dixie Cups '60's version was a variant. This stuff is coming from a few minutes putting "Iko, Iko" on Yahoo. Dr. John's comments are on the Cyndilauper.com site with notes to her Iko, Iko which apparently was recorded in 3 of her albums. As GUEST, guitarist says, probably much more obtainable from search engines, but I doubt if any more smoke can be blown away.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: LR Mole
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 12:16 PM

Also (mutters Mole at the end of the parade as usual) the "Second rank": rhythm is similar to the "Bo Diddly beat" from "Who Do You Love?" and "I Want Candy". Van Morrison's new one with Jerry Lee's sister )"You Win Again") has a nice example called "C-a-d-i-l-l-a-c".


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Robo
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 11:34 PM

All right then, how about your thoughts on another mystic New Orleans staple, "hey pocky way?"

Rob-o


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: jeanenepratt
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 07:59 PM

Well, I got the words to "Iko, Iko," and a lot of interesting theories about its origin and meaning. But now I'm wondering about the connection of "John," "Jack," and "James.!" "John" is "Jean" in French and "Giovanni" (or "Gianni," as in Gianni Versace) in Italian. "Jacques" would, presumably, be "Jack" in French and "Giacomo," in Italian, "Yakov," in Hebrew, etc. "James" is "Seamus" in Irish Gaelic, but is it the same name as "Jack" in the Italian and French versions?

No urgency to answer this. I'll look it up somewhere, in good time.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Snuffy
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 08:06 PM

Jacques in French = James/Seamus/Giacomo


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Genie
Date: 15 Aug 01 - 07:45 PM

I thought so, Snuffy. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: JenEllen
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 01:35 AM

Stuff from Neville Bros site:

"I did a little research on Iko Iko and hear is something I pulled off of Cindy Lauper's web site...it has some more details about the version of Iko Iko that BTR mentioned: ''Following is the "Iko Iko" story, as told by Dr. John in the liner notes to his 1972 album, "Gumbo," in which he covers New Orleans R&B classics. Cyndi was probably a huge fan of this album when it came out: the song was written and recorded back in the early 1950s by a New Orleans singer named James Crawford who worked under the name of Sugar Boy & the Cane Cutters. It was recorded in the 1960s by the Dixie Cups for Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller's Red Bird label, but the format we're following here is Sugar Boy's original. Also in the group were Professor Longhair on piano, Jake Myles, Big Boy Myles, Irv Bannister on guitar, and Eugene 'Bones' Jones on drums. The group was also known as the Chipaka Shaweez. The song was originally called 'Jockamo,' and it has a lot of Creole patois in it. Jockamo means 'jester' in the old myth. It is Mardi Gras music, and the Shaweez was one of many Mardi Gras groups who dressed up in far out Indian costumes and came on as Indian tribes. The tribes used to hang out on Claiborne Avenue and used to get juiced up there getting ready to perform and 'second line' in their own special style during Mardi Gras. That's dead and gone because there's a freeway where those grounds used to be. The tribes were like social clubs who lived all year for Mardi Gras, getting their costumes together. Many of them were musicians, gamblers, hustlers and pimps.''

and:

"think IKO IKO was first done as jockamo-by sugar boy crawford way way back in the day-mid fifties-his grandson davell crawford is an excellent keyboard /organ player around nola at the moment- i also have a version of jockamo by a different title chocko me feendo hey by danny barker and crew in the mid forties-the early version is currently availible on a swinging cd called Jazz ala Creole by the baby dodds trio(the danny barker and krewe stuff is added to the end of the BDT cd)-not sure of language derivation but think it comes from new orleans black injun chants/creole cajun etc.-theres a ripping version of indian red and corrine died on the battlefield which became the wild magnolias wonderful COREY died on the battle field-also a version of tootie ma(is a big fine thing)-now i know where mac rebbenack got all them injun ideas.........peace"

more info as gathered...~J


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 09:29 PM


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Airto
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 04:44 AM

I remember hearing an interview with one of the Dixie Cups in which she explained that the Iko Iko song was cleaned up for recording and broadcasting purposes. The unbowdlerised version used the word 'ass' instead of 'flag'.

I wish I could remember more.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Doc Rock
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 11:51 AM

The New Orleans Mardi Gras songs don't have much of anything to do with Cajun-French. Folks are on the right track when they speak in terms of the expression (and other seemingly meaningless words in New Orleans songs) as Afro-Creole. Or, they could be a direct survival of African language that no one understands any longer.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Kayleigh
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 08:59 PM

Hello boys,
here i found this on another site. thought it might help*smile*

Steve, The answer comes from the horse's mouth, the man who wrote and recorded the song (originally entitled 'Jock-A-Mo') in 1953, James 'Sugar Boy' Crawford, in a 2002 interview (see http://www.offbeat.com/obfebruary2002/backtalk.html):
quote:
"It came from two Indian chants that I put music to. 'Iko Iko' was like a victory chant that the Indians would shout. 'Jock-A-Mo' was a chant that was called when the Indians went into battle. I just put them together and made a song out of them. Really it was just like 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy.' That was a phrase everybody in New Orleans used. Lloyd Price just added music to it and it became a hit. I was just trying to write a catchy song. Leonard Chess [president of Chess & Checker Records, then Sugar Boy's label] contacted me and arranged for me to go to Cosimo's [J & M Studio] and record it. That was in [November] 1953."

Ken G – April 6, 2004

Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 07:44 AM

Visit the thread on Cajun Music/Origins of 'Iko Iko' [whose link is also included above]
and in particular see this comment from GUEST,Bob Coltman 17 Jan 06 -08:56 AM "a "Jockamo" = a jester, jokester."

-snip-

Also, visit my website page http://www.cocojams.com/mardi_gras_indian_chants1.htm for other explanations of words & phrases mentioned in Iko Iko and other Mardi Gras Indian songs such as these:

"Marraine" (pronounced ma-rane) is a Cajun-French term for "Grandmother". Similarly, "Parraine" for Grandfather, "cousin" (pronounced koo-zan) for cousin, etc. This is why when the Dixie Cups covered the song Iko Iko, they changed the lyric to "Grandma". However, in Spanish, "reina" means queen, and "mi reina" is "my queen." Conflating the French "ma", or "my" and the Spanish "reina", therefore, seems to be the origin for the cajun "Marraine". However it's not much of a stretch to assume it could also mean a consort. In the Italian slang, "goomadre" is a "code" word which on the surface would seem to mean grandmother, but whose hidden meaning is mistress, as in "I'm going to see my goomadre". See also the term "goombah" which is the masculine form of the same word, and which is a phonetic spelling of the Italian word "compare", which is similar to the Spanish "compadre", meaning old (male) friend..."

-snip-

These explanations were provided to me by NOLA/NYC who shared in a number of email exchanges beginning in 4/3/06, as his name alludes, he was a longtime resident of New Orleans now living in New York City, and has ongoing interactions with New Orleans musicians & other folks who live {or lived} in New Orleans.

Of particular interest to me is NOLA/NYC's comment that "There was indeed a Mardi Gras this year,[2006] with Indians, maskers and more, although somewhat smaller than prior to Katrina. But the people there are amazingly resilient and although their spirit has been tested, as you can see, it has not been broken".

-snip-

I'd love to hear from others who have any knowledge about the Mardi Gras Indian traditions in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina and afterwards. You can pm me or contact me via the Cocojams website.

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,sandi
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 10:36 AM

Holy Cow!
At least there is a real discussion going on here - even if none of us seem to know the meaning of the words. Well, "Brother John is Dead" - I finally decided to play this tune and I will give (with noted uncertainty) this transalation - well, are we sad or glad about Brother John??


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 02:53 PM

I don't think we can "nail down" any definitive meanings for any of this stuff (unfamiliar words, etc.) that comes from the Mardi Gras Indians. As someone mentioned above, today's Indians themselves no longer know what all the words and phrases mean!

This stuff is ancient, and comes from a culture that has had very little (if any) written history, just an oral tradition passed along in a dead language that may or may not have evolved from Creole French patois, long-lost African vocabularies, and maybe a little bit of Italian picked up from New Orleans' Sicilian-immigrant population (a possible, if unlkely, source for a refernce to "Giacomo" the Carnivale jester.)

A few random footnotes:

Uptown tribes tend to pronounce it "fee-nah-nay," but downtown Indians say "fee-on-day." The two different pronunciations also both appear on commerical recordings. That alone should put some doubt on any attempt at an "accurate" translation!

Sugarboy Crawford made the first commercial recording based on a Mardi Gras Indian chant, but by no stretch of the imagination did he "write" Jock-A-Mo/Iko Iko.

"My king all dressed in red" is very obviously a Mardi Gras Indian chief, leader of the singer's gang, not a personality from the Battle of New Orleans (!?!)

The very wonderful Wild Tchoupitoulas album is the only recording featuring all five of the Meters (including Art and Cyril Neville), just as the group was breaking up, along with all four Neville Brothers, just before they united as a working ensemble. It's a terrific melding of traditional Indian vocal music with polished R&B instrumental accompaniment, but not quite the same thing as the "real" Indian experience you hear on the streets.

Recordings by the Wild Magnolias are in the same vein, with really hot modern instrumental accompaniment, and are highly recommended if only because of Big Chief Bo Dollis' incredible lead vocals. Monk Boudreaux, Big Chief of a "rival" tribe (White Eagles, if I'm not mistaken), appears along with Bo on most of the Magnolias albums.

Within the last year or two, recordings have been released that reveal the raw, unaccompanied sound of Indians on the street (or at a Sunday-evening barrom "practice") much more accurately than those earlier studio recordings. Sorry I don't have CD titles at my fingertips for reference ~ I know this only from hearing cuts on WWOZ radio, especially during Carnival time. Searching on "Bo Dollis" and/or "Wild Magnolias" and looking for 21st-century issue dates will undoubtedly help.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,123
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 12:37 AM

now this may be a bit of a stretch of logic but bear with me ... the idea that Jocamo means 'fool' and also John are supported by some old African festival called Jonkonnu which is speculated to be the name of a slave trader ... and the festival is celebrated by those celebrating it to be dressed in rags and wielding wooden weapons ... this also supports the idea that Jock-a-mo is some sort of battle cry ... or some dismissive albeit passively threatening colloquialism ... and if na nais (NA-NAY) means is dead ... on dais (ON-DAY) could be lives in the same vein as viva in Spanish and Iko Iko seems to me more of a proclamation of self ... maybe a tribal moniker ... and if the words are a mish mosh as is the norm with oral tradition ... the song could very easily be a victory song ... a celebration song or freedom ... sung by slaves who killed their slaver ... long live the Iko ... Brother John is dead ... and the possibility that this is an old Creole Folk song likely passed on from grandmother to child over fires and gumbo ... festivals and indulging ... and not an original work by the artist who happened to get the recognition from the record companies ... seems more likely seeing the history of this song and the history of these specific lyrics; which seem to spring up in a few other songs which have similar backgrounds ... commercial and other older folk lyrics which have vague and specifically inspired meanings ...

long live the free ... oppression is dead ...

listen to the song with this in mind and it makes sense ...


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 01:49 AM

Guest 123, I'd like to focus on one part of your comment- "old African festival called Jonkonnu which is speculated to be the name of a slave trader"...

For what it's worth, I side with those who disagree with the theory that the celebration of Jonkanoo ["Kunering"; "John Canoe"; "Junkanoo" etc} is named after a slave trader. Part of my rejection of this oft repeated theory is that I can't imagine why enslaved people would honor a slave trader by giving his name to a festive occassion.

I've compile some comments about Jonkanoo for those who may not be familiar with this celebration.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkanoo for a brief summary of the history and customs associated with Jonkanoo.

Also, here's a quote about Jonkanoo which I wrote down years ago, but didn't adequately cite its source. I'm sharing this statement here because it includes other theories about the meaning of the word Jonkanoo:

..."The origin of the word Junkanoo is obscure. Some say it comes from the French "L'inconnu" (meaning the unknown), in reference to the masks worn by the paraders; or "junk enoo," the Scottish settlers' reference to the parades, meaning "junk enough;" or "John Canoe," the name of an African tribal chief who demanded the right to celebrate with his people even after being brought to the West Indies in slavery.

It is believed that this festival began during the 16th and 17th centuries. The slaves were given a special holiday at Christmas time, when they could leave the plantations to be with their family and celebrate the holidays with African dance, music and costumes. After emancipation, they continued this tradition and, today, Junkanoo has evolved from its simple origins to a formal, more organized parade with sophisticated, intricate costumes, themed music and incentive prizes"...

-snip-

Also, see an 19th century Jamaican Jonkanoo illustration by Belisario http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/details.php?categorynum=12&categoryName=&theRecord=6&recordCount=54

An excerpt of the description of this lithograph follows:

"Captioned "Koo, Koo, or Actor Boy," this lithograph depicts an elaborately costumed and masked male dancer surrounded by on-lookers and musicians; he carries a whip and fan, the former used for clearing his path, the latter for cooling himself when his mask is lifted (see image Belisario03, for another "Actor Boy" unmasked). Belisario gives a detailed description of "John-Canoe" festivities and also speculates on the origin of the name. With respect to this illustration, he writes the "band consists of drums and fifes only, to which music the Actor stalks most majestically, oftentimes stopping to afford the by-standers a fair opportunity of gazing at him . . . .The foundation [of his headdress] is an old hat, affording the wearer the means of sustaining the superstructure, to which it is firmly attached, and composed of various colored beads, bugles, spangles, pieces of looking-glass, tinsel, etc. attached to a pasteboard form trimmed round the edges with silver lace, surmounted with feathers. The garments are of muslin, silk, satin, and ribbons." This illustration, as well as others of "John-Canoes," were drawn from life by Belisario in 1836.

-snip-

In addition, see this excerpt from http://www.bahamasentertainers.com/Paper/slaves.html

..."One tradition that survived and can be traced back as early as the eighteenth century in Jamaica is John Canoe [also referred to as Junkanoo, John Cani, or Jonkannu]. This masked dance would have been an integral part of African ceremonies and processions. (Claypole, Robottom 2001). This practice is said to have been a part of ceremonies conducted by powerful male secret societies of West African Poro and Egungun dancers. We can find traces of these ceremonies even today in places such as Jamaica, Belize, and certain parts of the United States"...

-snip-

And, lastly as regards to this post, see these comments from an educator's lesson plan for the science fiction book "Midnight Robber", written by the author Nalo Hopkinson, a Caribbean author who weaves elements of Afro-Caribbean folk culture into her book's plots:

..."Jonkanoo was a masquerade celebration and competition during slavery in many Caribbean islands and included an element of defiance and resistance. Many English texts spelled the festival "John Canoe" and were fascinated by the practice of crafting and wearing complicated sculptures, shaped as a ship, sometimes rather house like...[and in the book "Midnight Robber"] Jonkanoo provides a family holiday to commemorate this shared exile and shared heritage – and to keep the historical practices of their ancestors alive..."

http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/rosenber/lit4188fall2003/wk15classoutlines.html


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 03:49 AM

So, basically, none of you have any idea what it means then?


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 04:02 AM

Well, Paco Rabanne, I guess it depends on what your meaning of "meaning" is.

I'm learning things as a result of this discussion. Aren't you?


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 04:33 AM

Nope! A question was asked by the starter of this thread seven years ago which hasn't been answered. shame really, I wanted to know the meaning.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 04:40 AM

I haven't read through all the thread so apologies if this has been broached before. I do have a certain fascination with etymology and like to see the threads common in various languages. Brother John is of course the English translation of the French kids song 'Frere Jacque'. John, Jacque and Jacomo (or Giacomo) being possibly the same in origin. All I can find for Finane as a name is English - and old at that - so I do not see a connection there so I am, for now, ignoring it.

The more recent talk of Jonkanoo and John Canoe I found intersting. It is not a million miles from the sailors name for South Sea Islanders - John Kanaka - Spawning a sea shanty of the same name. OR did the phrase in the shanty exist first? Shanties and plantation work songs have a long and proven connection - Would the African Jonkanoo have become the English John Canoe only to be replaced on board by John Kana or Kanaka? When the sailors were greeted by the Isladers in their canoes would they have become John Canoes as well?

Certainly worth a brief speculation I would have thought. Or am I talking bollocks? Should I wait until I am at the bar before bringing it up again? :-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 07:56 AM

As PoppaGator wrote on 04 Apr 07 - 02:53 PM

"I don't think we can "nail down" any definitive meanings for any of this stuff (unfamiliar words, etc.) that comes from the Mardi Gras Indians. As someone mentioned above, today's Indians themselves no longer know what all the words and phrases mean!"

-snip-

Also, as GUEST,guitarist wrote on 13 Jul 00 - 12:15 PM :

"heh, it's a big subject -- people make careers out of question less complicated than this. It's interesting to follow the trail, but don't get hung up on absolute answers, you won't find many.

Jockomo fi na ne / Brother John is gone, that's one hypothesis, there are many others -- just pick one you like. :) "

-snip-

I agree that 1} it's interesting to follow the trail and 2} if you get hung up on absolute answers [in the unfamiliar words that are included in the Mardi Gras Indian songs] you won't find many [absolute answers].

I also agree that 3} "Brother John is gone" is one hypothesis for the meaning of "Jockomo fi na ne" and 4} there are many others and 5} you should just pick one you like.

And I also agree with Guest guitarist that you should smile about the whole thing since sometimes being too serious can weigh you down.

That said, may I suggest {or re-suggest if it has been mentioned before} that there are literal meanings for words & phrases and there are colloquial meanings for those same words & phrases. And though it certainly is interesting to try to trace a word or phrase back to its/their etymological roots, it's the street meaning that is most important when you're trying to figure out what a word or phrase means to the singer and his/her audience.

Members of the Mardi Gras Indians may not know the etymological meaning of the phrase "Jacomo fi na ne", but I think they do know what it means when they say it.

I prefer Bob Coltman's [and others] conclusion that a "Jacomo" = a jester, jokester." But I don't think the Mardi Gras Indians mean/meant "You're a jokester" when they say/said "Jacomo fi na ne".

And when the Mardi Gras Indians sing/sang "Jacomo fi na ne", I don't think they are/were saying, "John is dead". It makes more sense to me that they are/were saying "Well go f***k yourself". Or maybe they are/were saying "You're a fool". If we go with this meaning, than we'd have to note that "Jacomo fi na ne" is/would have been sung in a real put-down/dissin manner with "fool" {Jacomo} used as a substitute for the latest, most insulting street term that means something like "fool".

These are just two theories. I'm sticking with door #1.

But all this to say that trying to figure out where this phrase came from is one thing {or multiple things as the phrase might have had multiple origins}. And we can only speculate about those origins.

But it's a whole 'nuther thing to ask contemporary Mardi Gras Indians what the phrase means to them, and what they understood folks in the past thought the phrase meant. In addition, it seems to me that folks interested in the "real" meaning of this phrase should look at the phrase in its context. How is/was the phrase used in the the context of songs and in the context of the competitive and often dangerous encounters between one group of Mardi Gras Indian and rival groups or persons who aren't {weren't} associated with their group or any other Mardi Gras Indian group? Does this jibe with the meaning that people who use it give? If so, we have struck gold.

So again, I'm sticking with door #1 {btw this "door #1" is a referent to the loong running American tv game show "The Price Is Right" and has nothing to do with the "Jacomo fi na ne" phase itself}

But if you don't like what I'm sayin then Jacomo-

Naw. I really don't mean that. It's a joke. Get it? "A joke"? Ha Ha. Oh, I'm such a jokester {and when I say "jokester" here, I mean something good, not something insulting}.

Get it?

No?

Okay...moving right along...

Instead of the door #1 sentiments in and for my weak attempt at Jacomo witticism, I'd like to end this post echoing what GUEST,sandi said in her 04 Apr 07 - 10:36 AM post:

"At least there is a real discussion going on here - even if none of us seem to know the meaning of the words."


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 08:28 AM

Dave, I don't want you to think that I'm being dismissive of your theory about a possible connection between John Kanaka and John Canoe.

It's interesting. Maybe there is a connection. And maybe not. As you know, a word or phrase from one language may sound like and be spelled like a word or phrase in another language but have different etymological roots and meanings.

I recall reading somewhere that the word "Jonkannu" {which is pronounced like "John Canoe"} is similar to a West African-Nigerian {?} word. I'm trying to find where I read that. But so far, I've had no luck in finding it.

**

Since you found it of interest, here's some more information on Jonkannu {Jonkanoo, Junkanoo, Kunering etc}:

MS009
Cronly Family Papers 1888-1925

"These papers contain personal correspondence between Cronly family members and letters and petitions directed to Wilmington and New Hanover County government officials. This personal correspondence falls between the years 1888 and 1907...   

A letter to D.T. Cronly of Wilmington, NC, from W. D. MacMillan, 3rd, of Chapel Hill, NC, is in reply to Cronly's interest in Wilmington's "Kuners." Dougald MacMillan later wrote "John Kuner," published in the Journal of American Folklore in January, 1926. In a footnote to the article, MacMillan acknowledged Cronly's help in investigating the custom. Kunering was a song and dance performance done in the street by masked and costumed Negro men (Kuners) on Christmas Day. After each performance, the leader passed a hat for contributions. MacMillan's article traced the custom to only a few other coastal towns of North Carolina, and to Nassau, where these men were called "John Canoes." In Wilmington, the custom apparently died out in the 1880's."

http://library.uncw.edu/web/collections/manuscript/MS009.html

-snip-

There appears to be clear connections between Jonkannu and West African customs as well as kunnering and the English custom of wassailing

See this excerpt:

it may be of interest to read this excerpt about the custom of kunering in North Carolina:

"In his work Slave Culture, [Sterling] Stuckey, too, maintains "John Kunuering's" African origins. Yet he elaborates on Linda's, Cassidy's, and Prigg's discussions when he explains the import of the tradition in West Africa as well as the underlying motives behind the slaves' practice of it in the new world.

In terms of its African origins Stuckey tells us, "a Nigerian ritual that closely resembles John Kunering," traditionally took place in early summer as a spiritual aid in crop production. Although "Europeans thought the John Kunering to be mainly for children, the ceremony "had a deeper significance" as it was also performed "to honor the ancestors" (Stuckey 68). And where the slave's employment of the tradition is concerned, Stuckey asserts,

Knowing that in North America Christmas was the main religious period for the dominant group when families gathered, exchanged gifts, worshipped, and enjoyed the festivities of the occasion, the slaves took advantage of that time to revive African cultural expression along somewhat similar lines, since in Africa exchanges of gifts at reunions of family and friends on holidays were not uncommon, especially on important religious occasions.

Exchanges of gifts, such as they were, among slaves were often accompanied by the receipt of gifts from the master and, in the context of John Kunering, "presents" in the form of donations after performances. (69-70)

In other words, in practicing the "John Kunering" tradition on Southern plantations, such as Linda's, the slaves were able to mold African customs to accommodate and take advantage of a Euro-American holiday. Such blendings may have also served to satisfy an ancient need--honoring their ancestors and each other--as well as a new one--collecting much needed money and/or food.

Linda's account of the slaves' Johnkannaus practice implicitly validates Stuckey's assertions. But she explicitly concurs with Stuckey about the slaves' expecting gifts from their masters following their performances. For as she tells us, "It is seldom that any white man or child refuses to give them a trifle" (119). Yet, she also alludes to another aspect of both African and slave culture, the secular song, when she writes, "For a month previous they are composing songs, which are sung on this occasion, "especially when a white man, or master, refuses to give a donation. "If he does," Linda explains, "they regale his ears with the following song:--

   Poor massa, so dey say;
   Down in de heel, so dey say;
   Got no money, so dey say;
   Not one shillin, so dey say;
   God A'mighty bress you, so dey say. (119)

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2278/is_1_24/ai_58411663/pg_6 Through Slave Culture's Lens Comes the Abundant Source: Harriet A. Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl - Critical Essay MELUS, Spring, 1999 by Karen E. Beardslee

-snip-

And though some may think that we are going far from the Mardi Gras Indian phrase "Jacomo fi na ne", actually we're not because one of the roots of the Mardi Gras Indians was the kunering tradition.

See this old text about the kunner parade tradition:
http://www.jstor.org/view/00218715/ap020151/02a00030/0


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 03:02 PM

It just occurred to me that when I wrote that I had read about an African word that may have been the basis for the word Jonkannu, I was thinking of the dance called "Yonvalu".

I can find very little online about Yonvalu. There is apparently a book and video about the dance: http://store.soundstrue.com/vt00764d.html . That book describes Yonvalu as "a voudoun invocation to Damballa, the serpent deity."

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_mythology for this description of vodou-

"Vodou (also known as Voodoo) is a religion that first appeared in Haiti. It is a syncretic mixture of Roman Catholic rituals introduced during the French colonial period, and African tribal beliefs, with roots in the Yoruba, Kongo and Dahomey mythology. Another important aspect of the Haitian spiritual life is magic and serpent worship."
-snip-

That Wikipidia site also provides a listing of the Haitian pantheon. In that pantheon Damballah is described as the father of the loa [gods] and [of] humankind.

Btw, "Dahomey" is the former name for the West African nation of Benin. Yoruba is the name of a large ethnic group in Nigeria, and the language spoken by that group. The Yoruba religion was extremely influential in the survival to this day of African religions in the Caribbean {including Haiti and Cuba}, South America {including Brazil} and the USA {including New Orleans, Louisiana}. "Nago" is an old referent for Yorubas. Persons interested in African religions in the Caribbean and South America and related topica will be familiar with that term.

Jessie Gaston Mulira's essay "The Case of Vodoo In New Orleans {in "Africanisms In American Culture" Joseph E. Holloway's editor; Indiana University Press, 1990} provides this information about voodoo: "The word voodoo ...is Dahomean in origin and.., means spirit or diety in the Fon language...
-snip-

In that essay Mulira writes that "In New Orleans the West African voodoo cults merged into one major cult, Damballah, the snake cult, referred to in New Orleans as the Grand Zombi or Vodou" {p. 40}.
-snip-

Lest we forget New Orleans is ground central for the Mardi Gras Indians.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 03:13 PM

As Azizi says, it is interesting to speculate on the meaning(s), and she adds much to previous posts. That doesn't mean that a definitive answer can be found.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 03:28 PM

I have never found you dismissive Ms Azizi, far from it. Your posts are some of the most elloquent and best considered in this old mudbox. I guess I will just have to stick to bar room discussions if I want to progress my theory - I know at least half a dozen people who will totaly believe it after a dozen pints! Who knows, in about 20 years it will have escalated to be true and not even snopes will know it:-)

I shall follow the rest of the discussion from the sidelines.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 03:33 PM

May your glass never be wanting.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 04:01 PM

Thanks, Q and Dave.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 04:16 PM

YAY!!! Azizi's back! Wonderful!

I vaguely recall a pop song of c.1970 that had the phrase "do you know Giacomo?", is that related?


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 01:33 AM

Hey Jack Campin! It's a month later, and I'm just reading your post.

Thanks for your warm welcome.

I very much appreciate it-then and now.

**

As to your question about the phrase "Do you know Giacomo?". Hmmm, that sounds a little like one of them there "rhyming expressions" that are the focus of this thread:
thread.cfm?threadid=104417&messages=23 "Folklore: Puddin Tane & Other Rhyming Sayings"

[That is, assuming that the name Giacomo is pronounced like Jockomo which means that it rhymes with the English word know.

And, isn't the Italian name "Giacomo" the same as the English name "Jack"?

So then, Jack, I'm wondering if the saying "Do you know Giacomo?" [which I've never heard of or read before reading your post] could be the source of the colloquial expression "He don't know Jack". But the sentence "He don't know Jack" actually ends with the word "sh*t", though that last word is not stated in what some people call "polite" society. But though it's silent, it's still understood.

So if you want to say that a person doesn't know anything at all about anything, then you'd say "He don't know Jack".

But given that colloquial expression's definition, I guess it means that "Do you know Giacomo?" and "He don't know Jack" probably don't have the same etymological roots 'cause I'm assuming that "Giacomo" is a man's name, and I think that "Giacomo means "Jack" though, on second or third thought "Giacomo" might mean "James" or "Jacob" and if so my theory about any connection what so between those two expressions is totally wacked.

Do you get my drift?

No?

Well that's okay.

Sometimes I don't know Jack.

But, any ways Jack Campin, I'm glad to have met you over these internets.

:o)

Post script:

Wanna read a witty entry about the meaning of "Jack Sh*t?
Click here.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 12:27 PM

Giacomo is a common Italian name (James, Jacques in English) related to It. Jacopo and Hebrew Jacob. In Italy in honor of St. James, the apostle.
Yes, it is pronounced Ja' como.

http://italian.about.com/library/name/blname_giacomo.htm

As noted many times before, Kanaka is the Hawai'ian term for man; John Kanaka was commonly given to Hawai'ian crew members and harpooners on sailing ships, and to those who came to Canada in the service of Hudson's Bay Company, etc.

Neither name has anything to do with the New Orleans Marti Gras tune.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 05:37 PM

How did boat repairs sneak into this thread?

Well, it got this discussion refreshed, for what it's worth. I scrolled up to see what I had written back in April, and what others had contributed since.

I had never thought to interpret the obscure word/phrase "Junkanoo" as "John Canoe," and therefore never imagined a possible connectin between "Junakanoo" (a Mardi Gras Indian and Caribbean expression) and "[John] Kanaka," a Hawiian term referenced in the sea-shanty literature (notably, in the very powerful number "Rollin' Down to Old Maui").

Interesting...Not defnitively or verifiably "true," of course, like everything else under discussion here, but interesting nonetheless.

I know I've mentioned this somewhere, sometime in the past ~ maybe even up above in this thread, in which case I apologize ~ but here goes:

Years ago, probably in the 1970s, I heard an interview with Mac "Dr. John" Rebennack wherein he swore that the English "translation" of "Jocky Mo Fee Nah Nay" was "Eat My Shorts." I almost peed on myself laughing ~ I had never heard such an expression before. (This was years before the appearance of Bart Simpson.)

Of course, when The Simpson later emerged as pop culture icons, I enjoyed the insider knowledge that young Bart seemed to have some kind of awareness of Mardi Gras Indian culture....


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 06:20 PM

I had never thought to interpret the obscure word/phrase "Junkanoo" as "John Canoe," and therefore never imagined a possible connectin between "Junakanoo" (a Mardi Gras Indian and Caribbean expression) and "[John] Kanaka," a Hawiian term referenced in the sea-shanty literature (notably, in the very powerful number "Rollin' Down to Old Maui").

Poppagator, But maybe you misinterpreted what I and/or other people wrote in this thread, or I've misinterpreted what you wrote. But there's a difference between a word being used as an expression or a term, and a word being used as a referent for something.

In the Caribbean, "Junkanoo" is a referent for a festival, parades, snd cultural events in the Bahamas. "Junkanoo" isn't an expression.

Also, "John Kanaka" is a referent for a man who may or may not have been a real person. "John Kanaka" isn't a term.

I'm not posting this comment to nit pick. I just feel that these clarifications need to be posted.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 06:25 PM

That "But" in the first sentence of my last post is the remains of a cut & paste effort gone wrong.

But maybe it's more than that.

Maybe it's a sign that I should have kept my butt out of this conversation.

Or maybe it's a sign that I need to butt out now.

I'm not sayin that I'm superstitous or anything, but...

;o}


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 06:30 PM

Sorry, I wasn't trying to be that precise as to differentiate between a "referent" and an "expression." I thought the word "expression" was sufficiently generic to encompass many shades of meaning, including those two and more.

I'll argue back a little about "Kanaka," though (if not about the real-or-imaginary proper name "John Kanaka"). As discussed in other threads if not in this one, the word "Kanaka" was used by American whalers and other 19th century sailors to refer to Hawaiian natives, and its use in various lyrics indicates that some folk used to refer specifically to females, others to males, and still others to the entire population. In that sense, "term" is exactly the word I meant to use.

On the other hand, Azizi, I defer to your expertise in regard to "Junkanoo."

All in good fun, though ~ right?

Pops


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 07:02 PM

Hmmm - let me throw something else in the mix - New Orleans had quite a large Italian immigrant population around the turn of the centruy. In fact, what we now know as the Mafia has it's roots in The Black Hand which is said to have originated there amnongst Italians running the Grocery and food supply trade

Now, I was told as a child, by an aged Italian-American gentlemenwhose family originated in New Orleans that the phrase Giacomo Fi Na Ne was a Black Hand warning about what would happen to you if you squealed about the extortion racket and otherwise strangehold that the Black hand had on the Italian local economy there. He backed this up by telling the mysterious story of the Axe man of New Orleans who chopped up a few local Grocers who didn't pay their protection money. He got the story a little wrong of course, but he said that he heard the phrase uttered both as a brag and as a threat. in other words "Shut up or like Joe - you'll be dead."

I know Giacomo isn't Joe in Itlaian, but my informant always said Giacomo could be translated as Joe and he read it as interchangeable with Joe and John. Guiseppe is Joseph in Italian. Still - it is kinda creepy if you read it as Joe since the name Joseph and St. Josehp's featured heavily in the Axeman Story. Giacomo is often translated these days as Jack but I could see where in the past, it might have been misperceived by non-italians as "joe".

here's a link in case you want to read it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axeman_of_New_Orleans


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 07:08 PM

To answer my own question -

Giacomo does not mean John or Joseph - it is usually translated as James, Jacques or Jacob

Giovanni is John
Guiseppe is Joseph

Still - I can see where non-Italians would get either John or Joe out of Giacomo


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 07:14 PM

Poppagator, I certainly don't consider myself an expert on the subject of Junkanoo or on any other subject.

I've joined in this discussion because it's a subject that is interesting to me. I have shared what I read elsewhere, including some Internet sites whose links I have provided, and I'm learning from everyone else here.

I'm serious about this subject because I'm a serious person.

But {there goes that word again!}, I do know how to have some good fun too.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 07:26 PM

I noticed somebody way up the thread mention Swahili as one of the elements in patois. No way - Swahili is based on a number of languages spoken in East Africa, including Arabic. African elements in patois would be from West Africa.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 08:46 PM

100 - And I agree with Kevin - VERY few East Africans got to America as slaves !!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 08:52 PM

Oh you just luve luv luv being 100!

So - what about my theory that it's a covert threat from the Black Hand or The Axe-Man? Any takers?


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 10:38 PM

Kanaka is the word for man in the Hawaiian language, a human being. As an adjective it means manly, strong.
After c. 1820, after the kapus and relationships broke down, many young Hawaiian men needed employment and became sailors or whalers, or were hired out by the Crown to companies needing workers; they became carpenters, builders, Canadian voyageurs, fishermen, farmers, cowboys, etc. Looking for documents on some who were contracted to work for the Hudsons Bay Company, I found much of interest in the archives in Honolulu.
Sailors and others called them Kanakas, and 'John' and other names were used to identify individuals. There was no specific 'John Kanaka,' but many probably answered to that name at their work.

Kanaka Creek in British Columbia is named for the Hawaiians who were farmers, carpenters and builders for the Hudsons Bay Company. They built Fort Langley, packed salmon, shaped lumber, raised crops, etc. much of which reached the Hudsons Bay store in Honolulu. Many returned to Hawai'i when their term of employment was completed, but some stayed, and descendants remain in B. C.

PoppaGator is correct in his use of 'term'; Kanaka became a widely used term for these men.

All of this is digression which has nothing to do with Marti Gras in New Orleans, and the various myths and speculations about the song which have appeared in this thread.

Dave's Wife- Your speculation about the Black Hand of N. O. is an interesting addition to the mythology. The Italians, as well as the Irish, were important in 19th c. N. O., and their stories are not well-known (Now could the song be mis-heard Gaelic?- oh, no!).


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 08:21 AM

Dave's wife, it's good "seeing" you again!

I agree that the Black Hand/Italian Mafia theory is "an interesting an interesting addition to the mythology".

I also guess we'll never really know the meaning/s that this phrase had for folks who started using it way back when.

My 03 Aug 07 - 07:56 AM post pretty much sums up my thoughts about this saying. So, I'm not gonna repeat myself.

Let the good times roll!

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 01:22 AM

I went and looked up some more about the Axeman and all but 2 of his alleged victims were Italian. Fi na Ne most likely is a varient of Fine meaning "Done" or "Finished". I'm settling into my theory now. There was some thoery that the Axeman was named Joseph himself but that couldn't be proven conclusively (Joseph Mumfre) but it makes sense since he singled out The Feast of St. Joseph in his famous threat. Feast of your the Saint of your name was and remains a big deal to Italians (and Irish Catholics to a degree).

I may be alone in supporting this derivation, but I'm liking it more and more.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Amazzed
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 12:01 PM

I have spent the entire morning reading these Iko comments and it was time well spent. This is my first time at this site.I was interested in the translation of the non english words in this song and just could not find anything but a copy of the lyrics and names of those who recorded it.(over and over again). I am a fan of unusual music and teach it to my grandchildren.This is my conclusion the interpretation depends entirely on the spelling of the words and they seem to be slang.My grandmother was raised in the rural south by her grandmother.They had many terms in their vocabulary that are not in the dictionary.For example a rampshon was a large quantity of anything. I am now a big fan of this sight.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 05:26 PM

Hello, guest Amazzed.

Welcome to Mudcat! Joining this discussion forum is easy. All you have to do is click on Membership in the top right hand portion of this page and follow the instructions.

Whether you join or remain a guest, I hope you share more information on Mudcat about the music and folk culture that you teach to your grandchildren.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,MDaviet
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 12:42 PM

The literal translation of the Cajun phrase "fi na ne" is don't stop the food or don't stop the goodies. To someone in New Orleans, it refers to a non-stop party. (Thus, the lyrics in City Beneath the Sea: "fi na ne 'til three")


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 03:05 PM

So what orwho is Jacomo? A waiter?


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,A Creole Muur
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 02:07 PM

Jacomo = joking/jester
fi na ne = finis/finished

All joking is done!
hence, the setting of flags on fire.

Don't know how this one fits in with the Jacomo. But FYI, Captain Jack is an indian who fought to keep the Europeans from their westward movement in stealing the indians land. As late as 1841, this land was the etats unidos de mejico. Even before that the indians fought the french for Louisiana & lost. The Louisiana Purchase was the selling of the forts and the roads leading up to it. When they illegally jacked the land, the indians/aboriginals took a stand to fight. The Washitaw Nation (Nat Turners descendants) in Louisiana have won their land back that was illegally caught up in the Louisiana Purchase.

Attempting to fit that in and knowing that in many languages there isn't a proper English translation. Maybe the line is Jack (Either Capt Jack or Jack being a symbol of all the indians) is finished playing with you. It's time to kill you.

The grandma's = Queens of each family (matriarchs) sat down to negotiate about the land. Couldn't come to a common ground and so the war to inihilate the other ensues. They send the Kings to battle. The man dressed in green is a loving machine. The indians practiced love, truth, peach, freedom and justice.

It's a war song. Before you go into war you fast. Hence, the timing with Lent: 40 days/40 nights.


Still putting 2n2 together from our history and folktales


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 01:15 PM

Interesting post to have appeared yesterday, on Mardi Gras Day 2008.

When trying to nail down particulars, the finest details, we're geting into territory where NO ONE knows the true answers. If the current-day Big Chiefs and tribe members don't know for sure, believe me, the "outsider" experts are really just guessing.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 02:47 PM

It means that Mardi Gras was yesterday. Have a good Lenten fast.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 07:24 PM

Here's a version of this song that I just found on this website of children's rhymes: http://www.streetplay.com/discus/cgi-discus/show.cgi?75/75.html Girl Games Clap and Rhyme: Archive through June 8, 2000


My grandmother and your grandmother, sittin by the fire
My grandmother says to your grandmother, gonna set your flag on fire
Talkin bout hey now, hey now, iko iko anay
Talkin bout fena, ana lay, talkin bout fena lay.

My fat boy and your fat boy, sittin by the fire
My fat boy says to your fat boy, gonna set your flag on fire
Talkin bout hey now, hey now, iko iko aney
Talkin bout fena, ana lay, talkin bout fena lay.
-By Anonymous on Monday, May 1, 2000 - 06:37 am


**

I wouldn't be surprised if the children who recited this rhyme {while doing handclaps or jumping rope?} hadn't ever heard the
"Iko Iko" song. How 'bout this rhyme as an example of folk etymology?

I'm just lovin it.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 23 Mar 08 - 02:57 PM

I haven't the strength to read through the whole thread, so maybe somebody already said this--but anyway:

"Jacomo fino" means that James is dead. You got "Jacomo finane" from an extra nonsense syllable tacked on the end: "Jacomo fino, eh!"

The reason it's important that the old grouch has kicked the bucket is that he was a real curmudgeon and didn't believe in allowing all the shenanigans that people liked to indulge in when celebrating Mardi Gras. Now that he's gone, we can let 'er rip.

    Jacomo fino, hey, hey, hey;
    Have more fun on holiday ....

               Wild T.

The Jacomo in question was a real person in New Orleans, and somewhere I have more info on this stashed away, but I have to find motivation to look for it. :)

So there you go.

Chicken Charlie/Charles Poulet


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 10:18 AM

I found the source of my insight: liner notes from the 33 rpm with "Meet the boys from the battle front ...."

I wanted to refresh this thread anyway.

CC


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Mr Red
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 08:27 PM

As I always say about songs/customs that are old - you can't fully understand (even with sensible lyrics) unless you lived in those times - I offer the Monty Python sketch as further evidence "You try telling young people today and they just won't believe you".

And as with Shanties - if there were two meanings there is no law (or lore) that says they can't both apply. Even in the mind of one person, let alone a whole tribe.

And if "Iko Iko" is proving hard to pin down - how about the "Jolly Trolley" chorus in "A Trooper Watering his Nag"? And what would "Tra La La" mean 100/200/300/400 etc years ago - a meaning for every century plus the modern one of "nonsense".

See that King all dressed in red? ........


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 08:46 PM

Yes, oh relative one, but Jacomo fino/fina still means Jimmie is cold and stiff. He's not a waiter, and he's not a Hawaiian. Now I'm going to go back and count the posts that start out, "I don't know anything about this, but ....."

CC


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 09:39 PM

I don't know anything about this, but ....."

Sorry. I couldn't resist the temptation.

Carry on!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 11:49 PM

Azizi--If we could resist the temptation, we wouldn't be in Mudcat.

:)


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 12:13 AM

Well, there's some temptations that I can resist. But I'm not tellin which ones those are or aren't.

Hey now! Iko Iko all day

[since] Jacomo finane,

let the good times roll!

:o))



But this doesn't mean that I completely accept the explanation you cited, Chicken Charlie.

Maybe there's more than one meaning. Maybe there's a literal meaning for that phrase, and one or more colloquial meanings. And maybe those colloquial meanings changed overtime or in different circumstances among different populations of people.

I don't know anything about this...really. But I'm having a good time thinking about it.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Mr Red
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 08:47 AM

So am I

Any song that mentioned the man dress in red gets my attention.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,¢¾ RezzaBo ¢¾
Date: 23 May 08 - 07:19 AM

Ok, this is just way too confusing. I've looked up lyrics to the song but can't get any translations so far I know it could mean: "Help I've fallen and can't get up", "Get out of my way" A man's name, or " Jack is dead" Yeh, that's useful! And I can't even determin which one fits best because I have no idea what "Iko, Iko Unday" Means!
Plus it's by heaps of people: Aaron carter, Cyndi Lauper, and some other early version and apparently it's a clapping rhyme! This is not very useful information!
The reason nobody can translated into the direct meaning is everybody has different opinions on what language it's in.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 01:59 PM

So um........
What's the song about!?!?!LOL
I have spent to much time reading, and have no time to
jump in, but I will be back.
You guys are all pretty intelligent!
I just wanted to know if I was teaching my
child some horrible song!!
( i just found out what ring around the rosie was all about!!)


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 02:45 PM

i just found out what ring around the rosie was all about!!
-GUEST 16 Oct 08

I absolutely don't want a discussion about the meaning of the game song "Ring Around The Rosie" to be mixed into this discussion about the meaning of the words to "Iko Iko".

That said, Guest 16 Oct 08, I hope you read this Mudcat thread before you tell your child that made up story about the meaning of that children's game that keeps on being discounted but people still keep passing it on as the truth and nothing but the truth.

Pay heed to these words from yesteryear {or thereabouts}:   

Subject: RE: Origins: Ring Around The Rosey's History??
From: BuckMulligan - PM
Date: 15 Jul 06 - 12:33 PM

danensis, while there may be links between some "nursery rhymes" and events in history, that's insufficient evidence for linking a particular rhyme to a particular event. Linguists, etymologists, and folklorists generally refuse to accept the link between "plague" or "Black Death" or any other particular event, eipdemiological or otherwise, and the "rind [sic] around the rosy" rhyme. It is a "folk etymology" unattested by hard evidence. You can still believe in it if you like, of course, but you're engagin in an act of faith, not science.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 12:29 AM

Do you remember what movie had a scene of the Dixie Cups recording this song? They were banging on a coke bottle. What movie was that? I'm a music teacher and I'm trying to find it for my class.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 05:31 PM

fergie38, I don't know which movie you are referring to. But here are links to two YouTube videos of The Dickie Cups singing "Iko Iko:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrHdbZN5K2s
Dixie Cups - Iko, Iko.

[The poster's summary just says "show". I wrote a comment asking for information about which television show and what year it was filmed, The women are shown performing on a stage, and not shown banging on a glass bottle. However, I've read that the song was recorded as the women were "fooling around" in between takes at a recording studio. I doubt that there is actual footage of the first time they sang this song that they learned in New Orleans.


**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D21nsqe0F-4&feature=related
Iko Iko- The Dixie Cups

[This is the original recording of the Dixie Cups singing "Iko Iko"; there is an album cover of the group and there's no video]


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 05:34 PM

fergie38, let me hasten to say that I didn't mean to imply that there's no such movie scene. I just meant that unfortunately, I know nothing about it.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,toddletunes
Date: 10 May 09 - 12:10 AM

Hi y'all,

I'm fascinated by the diatribe generated by this topic!!!

Given all the reference to Italianism i.e. Giacomo, etc... has anyone considered (as it sounds on Dr. John's recording) 'Andante' is the Italian name for the tempo describing walking? As in Giacomo fino (is done) an-dan-day (walking)

Think 'Jack don't walk this earth no more, Jack is dead' as you listen to Mac sing 'Jockomo fino an-dan-day, Jockomo fin-a-ne'

I'm not sold on any particular interpretation btw, but that resonated with my interpretation.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 07:56 PM

Mbo - you are a freaking tool & a utter & bloody disgrace to the mane of all italians!! - Giacomo or Jacomo is JAMES!!! - Giovanni is John!!

Stupido stronzo che non sei altro!!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 01:56 PM

There are too many Mudcat threads of this subject to keep track of.

A month or two ago I responded to a similar thread ~ one NOT among the "Related Threads" listed above ~ after reading an interesting article on this topic which was published in Offbeat magazine. The writer had some intriguing things to say after visiting West Africa and hearing some very familiar singing.

I wanted to post a link to the piece, but the magazine's website hides many articles (including this one) from the public and makes them accessible only to registered paid-up subscribers. The magazine is distributed free of charge in New Orleans, so local folks like me have no reason (except for philanthropy) to subscribe. So ~ no way to link to the published text.

Best I could do was to scan the page (it was a one-full-page article) and email it to Azizi. Maybe there's some way to get it out to all the rest of y'all in general, like perhaps via the Mudcat group-page at Facebook.

I found the author's theories regarding African origins to be quite plausible ~ in large part because he also showed an basic understanding of Mardi Gras Indian culture. The song/chant IS, after all, part of that culture. I can't take seriously those theorists who advance their guesses without such knowledge. For example, anyone who would transcribe a given lyric as "my fat boy told your fat boy" is betraying their ignorance of the most basic Mardi Gras Indian lore ~ it's flag boy!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Jdoggtn
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 01:22 AM

I have always theorized that Jockamo Finane meant "Kiss My Ass", although I was never sure exactly why. At least one reason was the context in a Wild Tchoupitoulas song: "If you don't like what the Big Chief say, you just jockamo finane." While it's possible that Jocka-mo could be taken as a proper name (and certainly it is used as such for a lot of Louisiana-themed restaurants), I doubt that it's a proper name, any more than Two-way pocky-way or any other of the Mardi Gras Indian dialect words. The latter phrase has been theorized as being from the Spanish "Kill anyone in front of you", i.e. who blocks your path, which makes the "Kiss My Ass" theory more likely for jockamo etc. After all, these chants, with their references to spy boys and flag boys are describing the Mardi Gras or St. Joseph's Day rituals of Indian 'gangs" confronting each other. These meetings in the old days were often violent, hence the references to "Corey" dying on the battlefield, or "Brother John" being gone. My theory is that these songs relate to specific deaths resulting from Mardi Gras Indian battles of older days (the 1930's perhaps), which could possibly be found in back issues of the Times-Picayune if someone had the time and inclination.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Tomas
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 09:46 PM

Well, just to add to the confusion, concerning IKO, "N Ko" means "I say" in Malinki, Mandingo, Bambara and several other Mande related West African languages, and a very common way of starting a sentance, a bit like "Hey man..." or similar. Now, could it possibly??? It is probably not true, but any way sort of true in a funny historical way...


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 17 Jan 10 - 06:01 AM

Azizi's links above seem to have lapsed. Here's another:-

Dixie Cups - Iko Iko

Ross


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,daggerdave
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 02:47 PM

anyone know the meaning of two way pocky way? or where it came from?


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: mousethief
Date: 03 Feb 10 - 03:31 PM

I love this song. Nothing substantial, that's all.

O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yanne
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 09:03 AM

I've been reading this thread with interest, especially as it's been going for nearly ten years now! Personally I never had much of a problem with the words of 'Iko, Iko' apart from a couple of blanks (due to fluent French plus great trips to the Creole Caribbean French islands and Cajun and Creole speaking Louisiana), but now I see that quite a lot of people are genuinely interested in the origins of the words. So I did some serious research (below) and I can tell you the words in Creole, with their French and English meanings.

The song "Iko, Iko" made its debut as "Jock-o-mo" in 1953. It was written by a 19 year old black musician named James Sugar Boy Crawford who copied down the ceremonial war chants of opposing Black Indian tribes who faced each other off during the Mardi Gras festivals in New Orleans.

Since 1965 when the Dixie Cups made it into a hit, the song has been known as "Iko, Iko".

The song's words are neither impenetrable nor gibberish, as some people seem to think. They are also neither old French nor Cajun French. They are Kreyol Lwizian (Louisiana Creole). The reason the song is sung with different words by Crawford, the Dixie Cups, The Grateful Dread and others is because none of these people speak Creole. And other British and American singers are in the same boat.

You need some history to understand the real words. First, there's a controversy you should know about. In a 2002 interview Crawford says he phonetically copied down two chants. One was "Iko, Iko" - the other was "Jockomo fee no wah na nay". Sugar Boy Crawford said he then amalgamated the two separate chants and put them to music - and a great song was born.

The only problem with this story is that the chant "Hey now! Hey now! Iko! Iko!" is entirely absent from Crawford's "Jock-o-mo" released in 1953. Why tell a journalist you copied down two chants and amalgamated them and then go to a recording studio and only sing one of the chants? You don't need to take my word for it. Go to www.deezer.com and type in 'Jockomo' in the search box and you'll hear Crawford's 1953 hit free of charge. There's no 'Iko! Iko!' in the lyrics.

The words "Iko, Iko" only appeared twelve years later, in 1965, when the Dixie Cups recorded it on the Redbird Records label. The girl band claimed that they didn't understand the words themselves (not speaking Creole) and learned them parrot-fashion from their grandmother.

A lawsuit lodged by Sugar Boy Crawford claiming that the Dixie Cups version of the song was based on his original Jock-o-mo 1953 version was settled out of court. In his 2002 interview with Offbeat.com Crawford said he considered that it was better to have 50% of something than 100% of nothing.

I think the 50% settlement was really due to the fact that Crawford wrote half the song and the Dixie Cups wrote the other half. The "Jockomo fee no wah na nay'' lyrics were indeed first introduced by Crawford in 1953, but the "'''Iko, Iko'''" part wasn't, because it was introduced by the Dixie Cups.

Leaving aside the legal aspects of the claim, it's fascinating to know that the Dixie Cups had learnt the words parrot-fashion from their grandmother. So someone other than Crawford was also writing down (or remembering) the Black Indian chants at Mardi Gras in New Orleans!

The Black Indian chants, even though they have words of French origin, have everything to do with Creole French, and nothing to do with Cajun French (which though it was also 'old French', adhered to French syntax and grammar). Louisiana Creole, though similar to French, has a syntax of its own – it's basically pidgin-French, with grammar that would make a Frenchman cringe and with words that are foreshortened and spoken with flat accents in quick, rapid-fire delivery. Louisiana Creole originated from French descendants of the formerly French colony of Louisiana settled by King Louis IV (till Thomas Jefferson bought it in 1803 in the Louisiana Purchase). The language was that spoken by the slaves of the French colonists, so it's black French, and it was widely spoken by New Orleans black population till English gradually took over as the main language.

Unfortunately, the Creole language was never written down (seriously) for 200 years except for a few poems or songs. Now, it's starting to be, but dictionaries are rare, and often incomplete. Some dictionaries that do however stand out are "Le Dictionnaire Créole" - "Le Dictionnaire Sioudi" - Louisiana Creole Vocabulary from angelfire - The Creole/English Wordlist" - the Verbix Creole conjugator – and perhaps the best is Webster's Creole/English dictionary.

Most of you in the thread seem to know a lot about the Black « Indian » tribes so I won't digress on them except to say there are now about 40 Indian tribes. It wasn't always so. "Jelly Roll" Morton (born Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe), the American jazz pianist, bandleader and composer, was a Spyboy in his youth, and revealed that at that time there were only four or five Black Indian tribes in New Orleans.

A good description (not mine) of the confrontations is: "One by one, dancing in toe/heel fashion, each member of a tribe meets his counterpart. Spyboy first meets Spyboy. Flagboy meets Flagboy. Wildman, then first, second, and third chiefs, queen(s) and children - all meet and play out their traditional roles. And finally one Big Chief faces the other. Knees bent, arms outspread, swaying from foot to foot and turning in a circular motion, the chiefs slowly size up each other. This preening proves especially effective for showing off the costumes. Prestige for the tribe is garnered through the beauty and intricacy of the suits, role playing, and the strength of its presence in the community".

The chants are generally in the Call and Response fashion – in fact very much as the Dixie Cups sang the song.

The tribe and its crowd of enthusiastic followers "respond", sometimes chanting a traditional chorus of words that have no common meaning and often derived from the early Creole language. These songs, although similar, are rarely sung in the same way by all the tribes although they lay claim to the same common repertoire. The tempo may be relaxed or fast depending upon the mood of the singers, but it remains consistent throughout the chant. Competition is nurtured in a creative climate that awards prestige and respect to the person who is able to out-sew, out-dress, and out-sing another Black Indian of equal rank from another tribe

The chants are Creole in origin but are badly deformed by the Black "Indians". Sybil Kein writes: 'The chants of the Mardi Gras Black Indians have been diluted over the years by American black speech. A good example of Black Indian creole is in the chant or prayer that opens their Mardi Gras observance. They sing "Madi cu defio, en dans dey" which is a corruption of the old Creole song "M'allé couri dans déser" used in connection with Voodoo rituals and associated with the Calinda dance'' (Wilson, "Traditional Louisiana French Folk Music", pg 59; Mrs. Augustine Moore, interview with author, 1980).

"Iko, Iko" and "Jockomo" were two of these Black Indian chants.

==The phonetic words of the song Iko Iko==

The words as they are sung today are:
Hey now, Hey now
Iko, Iko, an day
Jockomo fee no wah na nay
Jockomo fee na nay''

Some singers deform the original lyrics – for example Dr. John signs "Hed now, Hed now" which isn't Creole, Cajun, French, old French, Quebec French, or even English – it's pure artistic license. As you know, many singers covered Iko, Iko. You can hear all their different versions free of charge on deezer.com by typing in "Iko, Iko" into the search box.

Anyway, though musically richer, these newer versions consistently stray from the original. If the song is still being sung 500 years from now, one wonders what the words will have evolved to!

Let's start with the word "Jockomo".

Sugar Boy Crawford wasn't the only singer to use the word Chocomo (as he sang the word) or Jock-o-mo (as the record label misheard and entitled the song). The most oft-recorded Indian tribe, Big Chief Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles, issued "In the Morning, Jockomo", the Krewe Renegades recorded "Jockomo Zydeco", Huey Piano Smith's song "Don't You Know Yocomo" can be heard on Deezer.com and Danny Baker's song released on King Zulu Records had lyrics of "Choco Me Fee ndo Hey".

Jocomo is basically a name – and it's the only contestable part of what I'm writing because its origin is uncertain, even in Creole.

I see from the long thread that many of you have different meanings for Jocomo.
- Giacomo (from the Italian)
- Junkamo
- Jester or Jokester (Dr. John said this on the sleeve of one of his albums)
- John Jolly (apparently a famous former Big Chief tribe leader)

I find it hard to accept that Jackomo is 'Jester' despite Dr. John's huge reputation. The French, the Cajuns and the Creoles would all refer to a jester as a "fou", or as a "buffon" (buffoon in English) as the court of Louis IV did. Even the Joker in a deck of playing cards isn't called a 'Joker' but a 'fou'. If further proof be needed, not one of the Creole dictionaries or lexicons I refer to above cite the word Jockomo for 'jester'.

I don't think it can be Junkamo either (just doesn't sound right), nor John Jolly - wasn't he a genuine Cherokee Indian who lived in Houston, not a Black Indian from New Orleans? In fact, I've read letters between John Jolly and Sam Houston in 1837, written when Houston was the beginnings of a township when John Jolly was seeking protection of Native American rights and traditions.

I can see three possible alternatives. That Jocomo or Jackomo was a name is obvious, but it may have been a derived name.

It may have been Jacques, to which 'mot' was added affectionately meaning "Small Jack", or "Dear Jack" or "Our dear little Jack" – much as Pierrot is used for Pierre, and Jeannot for Jean.

Or it could be 'Birdman' – the 'Jaco' is Creole for a perroquet (parrot) and some of the Black Indian costumes are of men completely covered in feathers with a pseudo beak – le Jaco – easily turned into Jaccomo.

Or it could have been a monkey suit, from Jaquot (a monkey) but this is less likely because Jacquot is Creole for monkey in other Creole speaking parts of the world rather than in Louisiana.

Anyway, I hope we can all agree that Jocomo, whatever its origins, was a NAME.

Now we come to the critical lines:

Hey now! Hey now!
Iko, Iko an day
Jockomo fee no wah na nay
Jockomo fee na nay

The first two lines were originated by The Dixie Cups in 1965, the second two were initiated by Sugar Boy Crawford in 1953. These are genuine French Creole-origin sentences which were adapted in the Black Indian chant and which paid scant respect to the rules of French grammar. In Creole they are:

Ena! Ena!
Akout, Akout an deye
Jocomo fi nou wa na né
Jockomo fi na né

In English, this equates to:

Hey now! Hey now!
Listen, listen at the back
Jocomo made our king be born
Jocomo made it happen.

Now we come to the part that deserves your closest attention – proving the above.

Ena! Ena! This is a coded 'call' – the chants were call and response songs – much as The Dixie Cups sang it. 'E' is 'and' (the French and Cajuns would have said 'Et', but Creole shortens everything), and 'na' is 'to have', 'I have', 'So', 'Then' etc. It would equate to something like "Now then!" But it's a coded call – it could start anyway you like to get a chant going.

"Iko" (first introduced by The Dixie Cups) is "Akout" in Creole, for the French "Ecoute!" or the English "Listen!". The fact that the French Creole "Akout!" (and sometimes just "koute") was pronounced as "Iko!" was due to how the Black Indians deformed or adapted the Creole word to suit their timing, metre or accent, softening and shortening the initial "A" and typically leaving off the hard "t" at the end of the word. So it ended up being sung as "Akou!" which in a noisy Indian face-off in a New Orleans street at Mardi Gras would phonetically come across as "Iko".

"An day" as written down by Crawford was in Creole "an deye". The word "an" is like the French 'en' (in) but accented in the Creole accent. In Creole it has lots of meanings - 'at', 'in' etc (See Webster's), and "deye" means 'after', behind' 'rear'. The procession of an Indian tribe in the streets at Mardi Gras is several hundred yards long and can extend over several city blocks. In front you have the ceremonially dressed Indians (Spyboy, Flagboy, 2d, 3rd, 4th Chiefs, the Queen, the Wildmen and so on) and they're followed by the rest of the voluminous tribe, not as fantastically garbed as the front runners. That's why the Big Chief has to be everywhere – he has to keep his entire Tribe in order and together. So "Akout, akout an deye" – Listen! Listen at the rear" is plausibly what the gang at the front leading the procession would be chanting to their followers behind them as the whole tribe marched down the street.

Next we have Crawford's "Jocomo fee no wah na nay". In Creole this is "Jocomo fi nou wa na né" – in English "Jocomo made our King to be born" (literally), but figuratively it would mean "Jocomo (Birdman I think) gave life to our king". Perhaps that particular King was dressed as a Bird.

Let's look at the individual words of that sentence - Jocomo fi nou wa na né .

Crawford's "fee" is "fi" in Creole, which is the third person past tense of the verb "faire" (to do, to make to cause etc). So "Jacquemot fi" would be "Jacquemot made" (or did, or prepared, or constructed or caused). Modern French has no word such as "fi". For "fi" the French say "fit" (made). In addition, modern French speakers rarely use "fit". Thus, to say "Jacquemot made" - they would say "Jacquemot a fait" – not "Jacquemot fit" (even though it is grammatically correct) - because it is 'old French'. However, 'old French' is very prevalent in the Creole language. It was the only French the slaves heard from their French masters back in the 1600's when New Orleans was built as a sea port/fort and from then on till the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Verbix Conjugator gives the use of "fi" for all cases, singular and plural:

I made - mo fi
Thou made - to fi
He or she made - li fi
We made - nou fi
You made - vou fi
They made - yè fi

But Sugar Boy Crawford wasn't a Creole speaker. He was a young man listening to Black Indians slogging it out verbally at Mardi Gras. It's highly likely that when he heard the Indians chanting "Jacomo fi..." he would, quite naturally, have phonetically written it as "Chocomo fee..."

Crawford's "no" is not no.
The lyrics "Jockomo fee '''no'' are really Jackomo fi "nou". The "no" used in the Crawford version is not a negative. It's "nou" the Creole word for "our", "us" or "we" (Webster's). For Crawford the distinction must have been hard to pick up. He wrote down what he heard as best he could, equating the chanted 'nou' to the English word 'no' which must have popped into his mind as he was scribbling down the chant. Perhaps it was even due to the way the 'warring' Indians pronounced the word, cutting short the ending as they did for Akout..

The words "wah na nay"
As an entire set of three words, "wah na nay" does not exist in either traditional old French, modern French, or Cajun French. In phonetic Creole French however, it does exist. It's "wa" (in French Roi, in Englsh King) – "nan" (into) – "né" (born). The Creoles changed the French pronunciation of the word King (Roi) to the simpler and flatter "Wa'' leaving off the initial 'r' sound (you'll find 'wa' given as the Creole for 'Roi' in Creole/English Wordlist mentioned above). The word "Nan" is exclusively peculiar to Creole. You can check this in the Creole/English Wordlist which shows several meanings of "nan", which are 'into' 'in', 'to', 'on'.
And the word "Né" (born) is the same in both Creole and French, the past participle of the verb "naitre" (to be born) pronounced 'nay' just as Sugar Boy Crawford wrote it.

So the whole line: "Jockomo fee no wah na nay" is:"Jacquemot fi nou wa nan né" meaning "Jacquemot made our King into born" (in English: Jacquemot gave life to our King) and "Jockomo fee na nay" is: "Jacquemot fi nan né" meaning "Jacquemot made into born". In this sense it means "Jocomo made it happen".

It's the kind of pidgin-French that would make French speakers cringe, but Creole grammar, although similar, doesn't have the same syntax as classic French grammar.

THE WHOLE VERSE

As sung by Sugar Boy Crawford and the Dixie Cups:
Hey now! Hey now!
Iko! Iko! an day!
Jockomo fee no wah na nay
Jockomo fee na nay


In the original Creole French would be:
Ena! Ena!
Akout! Akout an dèyè!
Jacomo fi nou wa nan né
Jacomo fi nan né


And in English would be:
Hey now! Hey now! (or Hed Now!' if you're Dr. John)
Listen! Listen! at the rear!
Jacomo gave life to our King
Jacomo made it happen

As to the rest of the verses "My Flagboy, Sitting by the fire (fiyo by Dr. John) or My Marraine, or "gonna fix your chicken wire (wiyo by Dr John) etc etc, aren't Creole in origin. The Black Indians originally never sang those English language verses – they just sang the chant above. The English verses were written for the recording studios by the various people who have made hits with this song, each one adding his or her own verses. Crawford's were the original verses in English, and he slipped in the chants 'Jocomo fee nah nay" to finish off each verse and his successors improved and added to the verses.

It's never easy to decipher the true origins of a very old chant, especially as it wasn't written down but passed from generation to generation, but whatever the truth – it's still a great song!

Do write and let me know if this helped.

P.S. I'm also adding this to the other related threads referring to Jocomo.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: michaelr
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 07:03 PM

Thank you Yanne - very interesting information.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 07:13 PM

Yanne, great work. I ditto what michaelr said. Excellent!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,jamie burkhalter
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 10:59 PM

okay, so i skipped some parts b/c this is a long thread but

CHECK THIS OUT it EXPLAINS EVERYTHING!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iko_Iko

the famous version of the song is the one by Dr. John- in this video Dr. John "conjugates" IKO IKO (also, check out the video response video of just him playing the piano) you've got to hear this guy talk!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx1KhaEc_8I&feature=video_response

I'm from near New Orleans and grew up hearing this song as a traditional Mardi Gras theme.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,pagan
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 08:55 AM

its creole and it roughly translates as "im gonna f*** you up"


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Yanne
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 08:30 PM

Guest Pagan - you're wrong. It's not 'I'm gonna f--- you up' at all. Neither is it Creole. It's a Choctaw, Houma and Chickasaw greeting meaning 'It's very good'.
If you want to know the real words and their English meaning, on Google type 'Iko Iko' in the searchbox, then click on 'Iko Iko Wikipedia'.
You'll see the words are not at all as they're sung - there was no Jocomo, it was no one's name. Jocomo is how Sugar Boy Crawford phonetically copied down the Indian chant he heard between two tribes at Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 1953. He copied down 'Jocomo fee no' when they were really chanting 'Chokma Fina' which means 'It's very good'.
I know Dr John and others have given their own opinions on what the words mean (Dr John actually said it meant 'eat your pants') but seriously, Dr John isn't exactly a linguist. He can't speak a word of French Louisiana Creole, and the chant is entirely in Creole except for the one Indian phrase Chokma finha'.
If you don't feel like reading the rather long Wikipedia article, wait till next week, when you'll see a Youtube video which makes everything very clear.
Ian Cully (Yanne)


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Parain
Date: 24 May 10 - 12:46 PM

This has been incrediably entertaining. First to the OP. Put the two theories together. Jackamo does mean clown. That's how my Creole Mother used it. It can either be used as a noun or a verb, as in you clown or to clown around (all out foolishness). Finane means "It is finished". Jacomo Finane means literally, "Your clowning is over". The song Iko, Iko tells about two Indian tribes meeting. One Flag boy threatens to burn the others flag which would equal wiping his gang out. The other says, "Here comes my Chief, your foolishness is over". That's it, nothing more, finane.
One other thing, Nainain and Parain (pronounced Na nan or nanna and Pa ran) are Godmother and Godfather, not Grandmother and Grandfather.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 10:26 AM

From My understading Chocomo Feeno is the Choctaw phrase for "very well" It is very similar to Jockomo Feen In. The ex-African and Caribbean slaves interacted with the Chocktaw and picked up a lingua franca (patois) that was used a couple of hundred years ago.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 08:25 PM

This is a long thread. I read almost all of the posts, but may have overlooked a line oer two. Maybe this has already been mentioned, but The Neville Brothers recorded the song, with Iko Iko on the album Fiyo on the Bayou. It's a great album. I bought it when it came out many years ago and that's where I first heard Brother John.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,guest, kiran
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 03:38 AM

Yanne ...

came to read this thread after watching Treme on HBO. And just back from France, where I was told San Giacomo = St Joseph, and picked up a little French. So when I got to your AMAZING and lucid post of 10 Feb it made sense of the whole deal and really resonated with me, except at the end I was thinking, if Giacomo = Joseph, then "Jacomo gave life to our King" could be a reference to Joseph and Jesus -- "Joseph gave life to our King (Jesus)". Catholic faith/ritual/genealogy was a big part of the mix in Creolean life, right? And the other day the tribes parade is St. Joseph's Day...

But, then, so, I'm confused by your 5 March post in which you say it's not Creole it's a Choctaw, Houma and Chickasaw greeting. Did you read something more that changed your mind?

Kiran


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 09:15 AM

The French colony of Louisiana was not settled by Louis IV, who lived in the Tenth century. I think you meant Louis XIV.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Crater
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 01:21 PM

Just to throw something into the mix. In French argot the word for brother is 'frangin'(pronounced fronjan). Perhaps finane is a similar word in Italian ans Jacomo finane simply means Brother John.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Naimawan
Date: 25 Jul 10 - 05:18 PM

I just found this thread today and read it in its entirety. So much wonderful conversation, and information. I enjoyed the discussion about Jonkunnu (I'm from the Caribbean).

The response from Yanne on 10 Feb 10 is the best stuff I've read about the words of the fascinating song, Iko Iko. I always thought "Iko" meant "Brother" in some dialect. I've been listening to the Neville Brother's version of this song for over a decade--loving it always!--and now I get to experience it in a whole new way. It's like a brand new song to me.

Hopefully, I'll be at Karneval and Mardi Gras in New Orleans next year. Hope I see some really pretty Indians!

Thanks, All!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 07:28 AM

your sorta right about the neworleans thing but it was a name of a resturant or bar that is still there


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Luciano - Brasil
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 04:59 AM

I´m working on some Mardi Gras - N´awlinz songs for a concert (I´m a musician) so I´m trying to contact people who could help me in any way. How could I contact you?
Thank you for your atention
Best
LL


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: michaelr
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 01:19 AM

Luciano, if you were a Mudcat member (it's free), you could send a PM (Personal Message) to member Poppagator, who knows a lot about Nawlinz music (he lives there).

Generally though, it's better to start a new thread with a specific request. You don't have to join to do that.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Doug Saum
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 04:10 PM

The following information is gleaned from comments and research done by David Dodd (quoting Blair Jackson's GOING DOWN THE ROAD) in his THE COMPLETE ANNOTATED GRATEFUL DEAD LYRICS pp. 276-77.

Iko is a slave song dervived from two chants into a call and response. In the late 18th century whites began to allow slaves one day a week "to strut their stuff and whoop it up in New Orleans' Congo Square while the gentry watched." This led to a competition between the various factions of singers and dancers which becomes the origin of the "tribes" which can still be seen in Mardi Gras parades. These competitions led to actual fighting till the 1890's when order was restored and the competition was confined to style, wit, costuming, etc. The lyrics of "Iko" show the vestiges of this change. "My spy boy," for example refers to one designated to alert his "tribe" when rival tribes get too close.

Accd to Art Nevilee of the Neville Brothers "I think it's a case of where the pronunciation changed over generations. It was 'Iko' by the time it got to Cheif Jolly. It may have come from the word 'hike,' because that's what you do on Mardi Gras -- hike all over the city, trying to see all the masks and the different parades."

The first recording of "Iko" (called "Jock-o-Mo") came from a young New Orleans singer named James "Sugar Boy" Crawford for Checker Records in 1954. Crawford says, ". . . to be honest, I didn't, and still don't have any idea what the words mean."

Next version is the famous one by the Dixie Cups (1965). This was an afterthought at a recording session when Phil Spector heard the singers and percussion jamming through the tune, he turned on the tape recorder and captured the track. Dr. John (Mac Rebannack), The Nevilles, and Grateful Dead are keeping the song alive through their performances.

So what does Jocko mo fee na nay mean? The exact translation is lost in time, but it was probably a mild insult in a disguised patois created so that observing whites could not understand it. Phil Lesh of Grateful Dead felt it meant "Kiss my ass." We may never know for sure.

Doug Saum (P. S. My two cats are named Iko and Jokomo.)


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 04:59 AM

Iko iko Ade is way older than fifty years it was made popluar by the Dixie Cups in the 1950's and 60's (who went to school with my mother). But Iko, Iko, Ade the Mardi Gras Indians been singing it for more than a century and it comes form the Youruba peoples of Nigeria West Africa who came to New Orleans as slaves and this song has been sung in New Orleans for almost two centuries! Iko meaning" Golden "and Ade meaning 'crown", their was a place called Congo Square in New Orleans were the Slaves where allowed to Dance and practice their customs as they would have in Africa! This explains the parculiar and very africa customs of the Afrcan Americans of NewOlreans including the seconlines, which are derivative of th Chica, Calinda, and Bamboula dances first brought form Africa. Its; not even Creole french or Native American in origin! The Mardi Gras Indians still sing Golden Crown which is an English derivative of the song you tube the Mardi Gras Indians and the Golden Crown! God Bless Peace. Shalom!

                Sincerely , Jason M.Le Beau


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Eaux the cajun name
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 06:47 PM

If you break it down phonetically, and rearrange it in French, it could be: (Jacques a mort fin annee), which could translate (in very slang French), to "John died at the end of the year", so there could be some merit in that. Good luck y'all!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Kathy
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 02:06 PM

in French fit and fis are passe simple, and seen more in literature as a refined way of using the past tense. But it's not old French, it's written, formal French. And the mourir is conjugated with the verb etre...so would be Jacques est mort...

Not sure about the origin of this whole thing...just wanted to weight in on some French comments. Please excuse the lack of accent marks.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 03:56 AM

I heard that Jacoma finane(Chokma fin ane) means it's been a good year...which does make Callies dream seem really creepy...


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 04:12 AM

The way I heard the story is: a man witnessed a standoff in an indian tribe and overheard the words "Iko","chokma", "unday", "fina", "ane" or something. The man(writer of Iko) wrote them as he thought they would be written. So it may not mean john! The translation I was told is something like:

Talking 'bout hey now(hey now) hey now(hey now)
Listen up in the back
It's very nice to be back
It's been a very good year

If I were to make this rhyme:

Talking 'bout.....hey now,
Listen up in the rear!
It's very nice to be back here,
It's been a really good year!


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Neil D
Date: 30 Mar 11 - 10:50 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Mikey
Date: 23 May 11 - 03:52 PM

After reading all below and listening to Dr. John's version, "John Canoe/Jacamo (the reputed notorious English Slave Trader w/a large boat/ship/canoe) is dead (pidgeon French for finane)! would be a celebratory exclamation. Still trying to figure out Iko Iko. Maybe it really is a Native American war cry. "Unday" has to be Sunday.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Mikey
Date: 23 May 11 - 04:51 PM

Checking my French-English Dictionnaire, "fin" can mean death, ne(w/accent)birth. Another word, "neant" (w/accented "e") means nothing, naught, annihilation, etc. All 1st year French students know that "a" is a broad prepostion meaning to, at, into, on, by, for..." depending on usage. "Fin a neant" could translate, even in modern French, to "death by annihilation."

Alternative for the seminarians...Death and Birth (fin a ne) could refer to the Resurrection, if you are so inclined.

Could the allusions to red garments in the discussion below and fire in the song could mean that the ship burned? Are there any historians of the slave trade out there?


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jun 11 - 08:44 PM

It means kiss my ass...seriously that's what it means. If you don't like what the Big Chief say ya just Choko Mo feel no hey


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 04:50 AM

its supposed to mean "i'm no one to be messed with" or "don't mess with me", or as i would put it "don't fuck with me!"


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GEST
Date: 30 Jan 12 - 12:55 PM

Jim Fidler performing 'Jacamo' live at Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland, August 2009, with video courtesy of Lillian Fidler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LD6RehyIRg


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,gUEST
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 03:00 PM

Check the Neville Brothers "Brother John/Iko Iko"

Jacamo Finane Jacamo Finane
Well if you don't like what the Big Chief say
You just Jacamo finane

Jacamo Finane Jacamo Finane
Well if you don't like what the Big Chief say
You just Jacamo finane

Brother Brother
Brother John is gone
Well Brother Brother
Brother John is gone


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Sydonai
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 03:05 PM

Don't over think it you morons! It means nothing at all! The words are chantings for guteral abstract impact and nothing else. The song is a compilation of chanting by drunk bayou mardi gras revelers and real music compiled by Sugar Boy Crawford in the early 60's. If you try and break down the chanting using latin, french or any other romantic language then your not only an idiot but you have WAY TOO MUCH TIME.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: michaelr
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 03:19 PM

Thanks for popping in here to set us straight, O Guest. Now fuck off.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Acme
Date: 15 Jun 12 - 11:49 PM

Michaelr - for shame. Looks like this thread has ambled along for a dozen years. Surely someone telling you you've spent too much time on it isn't to be dismissed? Take it in your stride.

I'll have to read the whole thing now that it has come back up to the top.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,9er
Date: 16 Jun 12 - 03:45 AM

The last guest has misspelled guttural and the 'your' in the final sentence should be spelled you're because it is the contraction for 'you are'. While I am pleased the guest has such erudite views, I will draw attention to this: languages in English use capital letters at the beginning of them, so latin should be Latin and french should be French. Those and others like Romansh, Spanish and Portuguese are similarly treated. As a point of note, they are called Romance languages, not romantic languages, regardless what guest tells the sheep.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: michaelr
Date: 17 Jun 12 - 02:02 AM

Shame? I have none.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Turk Ducarre
Date: 01 Jan 13 - 01:11 AM

I lived in New Orleans for some years, and second-lined with plenty of Injun tribes. I'd listened to the Wild Tchoupitoulas records and sung along with the Grateful Dead for years before I headed to the City that Care Forgot. The main influence on what things "mean" in New Orleans is that it's not limited by the purely rational - it's poetry. Poetry is the most meaning in the least language. New Orleanians today are largely illiterate (truly: close to 50% cannot read nor write), and have usually been even less limited by literal definitions throughout three centuries and more.

So many of the meanings in this thread are at least relevant, even some that are contradictory when confined within a 21st Century American public education. Especially the ones consistent with African and Italian roots: the recordings from Cosimo Matassa's 1940s and 1950s studios where Black culture was first recorded (and where I lived generations later) are more fingerprints from the scene. Of course everyone knows New Orleans is mixed up French, but it was Spanish for 34 years after and before the French ran it. Flirty double entendres, cunning secret codes, inside jokes especially about outsiders, conflations, resonances, repetition for its own sake, transcendent symbols: this is Nawlins.

Among the second-liners - whether paraders, musicians, feathered Injuns, stumblebums or E. all of the above - "Jacomo fi na nay" was taken to mean "out of the way, fool": the operative meaning when a parade comes up the street you're standing in. But indeed its more literal meaning is in the song Brother John. "If you don't like what the Big Chief say / You just Jacomo fi na nay" = "You're just dead, fool". Same difference, as we Yankees say before they tame us in school.

Mardi Gras parades were fun, central cultural drumbeats of one of the most mixed cultures in the world. They were also battlefields, with tribes shooting and cutting each other while fired up on song, liquor, vendettas and voodoo (and everything else within reach in that global port). "Out of the way fool" is just a modulation of "you're dead fool" when the tribe comes through. "Ah nah nay" probably is connected to "andante": "get to steppin'", again in a fuzzy association defined by the urgency of the street more than by a dictionary.

Now, who knows what "handa wanda" means?


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,MariannSRegan
Date: 03 Jan 13 - 09:36 AM

If it's a bragging, boasting, in-your-face song, why couldn't "Jacomo fina ah na nay, Jacomo fina ne" mean something like "Brother John is NOT dead"? nay, ne. In other words, he'll always be around. You can't mess with him. Or the Big Chief.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Carl Ellis (Guest)
Date: 03 Jan 13 - 01:16 PM

Couple things I don't see mentioned above, (~pace~ Dave's Wife)tho they may well enough have no bearing -

I remember my dad telling me (from his experience in the area during the large army manoeuvers in Louisiana around 1941), that there was then still enough high feeling between the Italian & Corsican immigrants and the Powers-That-Was that you could count on starting a riot by going to the right neighborhood and yelling "Who kill-a da Police?". Seems as if one interpretation might be a creolization of of something like "Giacomo fini" or "Giacomo fait fini", intended as a taunt & challenge, and referring back to the troubles at the beginning of last century, and meaning something like either "Nyah, nyah, Dago Jake is done for" or "Ha, Jake finished (whomever)".

Also, any possibility of "Iko" being a variant/derivative of "Iku"? I have a set of "Tarot" cards modeled on the parallels with the Santerian Orishas, wherein "Death" is "Iku", apparently from Yoruba. "Death gonna get you" sounds like a good threat.

My personal $.02 is that Yanne's derivation from Creole looks the most persuasive, but in the linguistic gumbo of N'awlinz, probably you could find a dozen different Indians who chanted it at different times and in different ways who would all swear it meant something different. Obviously "Kiss my ass" and "Eat my shorts" and "I'm gonna **** you up" are not the literal translations, but they look like it feels, as you might say. Form follows function, remember?


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,Mike V
Date: 22 Feb 13 - 12:17 PM

From what Dr. John said on an episode of Night Music, "Iko" is a transliteration of "I go", and carries the meaning of "get out of my way", and tied with one of the guest posters interpretation of "Jacomo Fin Na Ne" as "I"m nobody to mess with" actually communicates a meaning that makes sense. What with the violent confrontations that took place in the culture of the Black Indian marches back in the day, a chant that boasts "Get outta our way, you do NOT want to mess with us!" is exactly the kind of macho posturing competing groups of drunken partiers trying to intimidate the other, or start a riot with each other, would make.

I gotta say, with all due respect, what would "Jacomo gave life to our King, Jacomo made it happen" actually mean? From a Christian viewpoint including the Virgin Birth, Joseph didn't give life to Our King, since he wasn't actually Christ's father, so that wouldn't make sense from a religious standpoint. And while "Talking 'bout.....hey now, Listen up in the rear! It's very nice to be back here, It's been a really good year!" makes sense enough as a chanted statement, it seems a bit innocuous in the context of the violent confrontations mentioned above. I mean, "Hey, y'all in the back, listen up! It's good to be here again and it's been a good year, so let's beat the crap out of somebody, okay?" seems like a non-sequitur, doesn't it?

Even if you separate the two chants Crawford combined to make "Jock-o-mo" into individual statements, they would carry the same sort of meaning. "Get out of my way!" and "Don't jack with me!" amount to pretty much the same statement.

But even if I'm wrong, and one of those translations is literally correct, I don't think the actual meaning of "Iko iko on de, Jocomo fino wah na ne, Jocomo fin na ne" is gonna be found in a literal translation of the words themselves. I have a very strong suspicion that they carried a meaning attached to the culture they came out of, and I'm not sure I've seen it in any of the posts above this one.


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Feb 13 - 12:26 PM

I don't know if the following has been linked to previously. If not here it is and if so here it is again. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iko_Iko


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: Ukulele Lizzie
Date: 11 May 13 - 09:51 AM

@Yanne - Ian Cully

I was wondering what the non-Engligh words meant and found:

- your post above in this thread

- your video on youTube

- the extensive info from Mudcat @Azizi here Mudcat Iko Iko thread and in similar threads

- and on Azizi's website Iko Iko text analysis on Cocojams

- the Wikipedia Iko Iko article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iko_Iko

- and much more besides but those references seem to cover most of the ground as they are referenced or copied and pasted elsewhere.

It all makes fascinating reading and I have learned such a lot from what I thought would be a very simple quest!

However, some things I have read are difficult to understand because they seem to contradict themselves.

For example, a couple of statements in your post above.

Firstly, and I have seen this repeated word for word elsewhere,

"the chant "Hey now! Hey now! Iko! Iko!" is entirely absent from Crawford's "Jock-o-mo" released in 1953. Why tell a journalist you copied down two chants and amalgamated them and then go to a recording studio and only sing one of the chants? You don't need to take my word for it. Go to www.deezer.com and type in 'Jockomo' in the search box and you'll hear Crawford's 1953 hit free of charge. There's no 'Iko! Iko!' in the lyrics. . . .

. . . The "Jockomo fee no wah na nay" lyrics were indeed first introduced by Crawford in 1953, but the "Iko, Iko" part wasn't, because it was introduced by the Dixie Cups. . . . "

Later in your post you say,

THE WHOLE VERSE

As sung by Sugar Boy Crawford and the Dixie Cups:

Hey now! Hey now! Iko! Iko! an day! Jockomo fee no wah na nay Jockomo fee na nay

The second statement seems to be the correct one, if this clip from the Sugar Boy Crawford version on YouTube is the original one that he recorded:

Jock-a-Mo by Sugar Boy Crawford - "Talkin bout, 'Hey now! Hey now! Iko Iko . . "

Is there an earlier recording by Sugar Boy Crawford that does not contain those lines? I could only hear a brief except from the song on the Deezer site that you cited - is that an earlier recording?

If not . . . please can you help me to make sense of what seems to be a contradiction in your post above and in a similar post on this Mudcat topic: Iko, Iko - the real words and meaning ?

My apologies if I am missing something really obvious here!

Best wishes,

Lizzie


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Subject: RE: Jacomo finane? What does that mean?
From: GUEST,J Gill
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 11:29 AM

it means "finally im free"
interpreted many ways through the years.


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