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a song called alla balla (children's rhyme?)

12 Nov 00 - 11:41 PM (#339505)
Subject: a song called alla balla
From: GUEST,Jo

There's an old folk song/chant that used to be sung in the The Bahamas and most likely in Latin America too, called "alla balla" or "alla palla". I'm trying to find information on its origin and meaning. Please help. It went something like this...spelling is most likely totally off: "Alla balla chicin calala, alla balla bu". Please respond to: jojustilien@hotmail.com Thanks so much!


13 Nov 00 - 01:21 PM (#339806)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla
From: Songster Bob

I used to know a counting-out rhyme with some similarity, which used "Ocka-bocka, stona-crocka, ocka-bocka-boo" in place of the "Alla balla ... balla bu" in your request. don't know more than that, though, and don't know where you'd find more about such rhymes.

My full counting-out rhyme:
Ocka-bocka, stona-crocka, ocka-bocka-boo
Ocka-bocka, stona-crocka, out goes YOU.

Bob Clayton


13 Nov 00 - 05:22 PM (#339993)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla
From: Sandy Paton

I've heard:

Acka-backa soda-cracka, acka-backa boo,
Acka-backa soda-cracka, out goes you.

Grandpa Paton


13 Nov 00 - 06:49 PM (#340067)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla
From: Malcolm Douglas

Jo has started a couple of other threads on this subject; most of the discussion is here:   Caribbean folk songs--Scottish influence


14 Nov 00 - 01:22 PM (#340572)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla
From: Lanfranc

Any chance this could be related to the Scottish childrens song "Coulters Candy", which has a chorus "Ally, Bally, Allybally bee, seated on yer mither's knee, greeting for a wee bawbee to buy some Coulters Candy" ??


14 Nov 00 - 06:18 PM (#340755)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla
From: Malcolm Douglas

That was suggested in the parallel thread I've linked to above, but apparantly it isn't connected.


28 May 10 - 06:59 PM (#2916289)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla (children's rhyme?)
From: GUEST,RIH

This is the version I know

Alla balla tingo
THe way jon kalla balla
Alla balla walla balla oo ja ja
Jeway Jewo the opoticle popalla
San Fair push cart, duck's feet.


28 May 10 - 07:43 PM (#2916310)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla (children's rhyme?)
From: Reiver 2

It immediately made me think of Coulter's Candy, but Lanfranc and Malcolm beat me to it. I used to sing that to my kids when they were little and it was a favorite of The Reivers, too. Coultre's Candy, I mean!

Reiver 2


28 May 10 - 07:48 PM (#2916315)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla (children's rhyme?)
From: Leadfingers

Old Threads like this are a bit of a Confusion !
But Bill Caddick has a 'song' - Oller Boller , when I call you will foller , or something like that - Kids thing from West Midlands UK


10 Jan 19 - 07:21 PM (#3970983)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla (children's rhyme?)
From: GUEST

Version my Grandma sang to me was:
Alla balla tingle
Great John callaba
Alla ba, alla ba, you ya ya
Jewey jewey jewop-a-tic-you-opoll-a
Alla balla, alla balla, you ya ya

No idea what it was all about!


11 Jan 19 - 04:28 AM (#3971021)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla (children's rhyme?)
From: Snuffy

The versions in the first two postings appear to be counting-out rhymes:
    "Alla balla chicin calala, alla balla bu"
    "Ocka-bocka, stona-crocka, ocka-bocka-boo"

When I was a kid in the early 50s we had a similar one:
    "Ickle ockle, choc'let bottle, ickle ockle OUT"


11 Jan 19 - 04:39 AM (#3971025)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla (children's rhyme?)
From: FreddyHeadey

^^^^^ GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 19 - 07:21

Where?
When?
What year was your Gm' born?
Where?


06 Jul 23 - 02:13 AM (#4176168)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla (children's rhyme?)
From: GUEST,Hannah

Picking up on this old thread. My grandmother (English but born 1917 in Hong Kong) taught me this version:

Alla balla tingle, old John Calabar
Alla balla, walla balla, ooh yah yah!

Cha-weeee, cha-weeee
Cha woppa dicca woppa laaa!

Alla balla, walla balla, ooh yah yah!

So wish I had thought to ask her the origin before she got dementia and passed away. If anyone has any info I would love to know.


06 Jul 23 - 04:25 PM (#4176228)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla (children's rhyme?)
From: Steve Gardham

The most likely usage is as a counting out rhyme (eliminator in a game) and most of these are just nonsense syllables, but some may have been corruptions of something with meaning originally. However, such concoctions can also be found randomly in pop songs like 'The Witchdoctor' where they are supposed to represent a foreign language, nowadays quite rightly seen as racist.

There was also a two-ball/skipping rhyme which starts
Alla-balla-boushka King of the Jews
Bought his wife a pair of shoes
When the shoes began to wear
Alla-balla-boushka bought another pair. (Hull, 1950s)

The name in other versions varies 'Nebuchadnezzar' for example.


06 Jul 23 - 07:00 PM (#4176242)
Subject: RE: a song called alla balla (children's rhyme?)
From: Robert B. Waltz

Steve Gardham wrote:

There was also a two-ball/skipping rhyme which starts
Alla-balla-boushka King of the Jews


In the Ballad Index as "Nebuchadnezzar's Wife"; I've seen versions with Nebuchadnezzar, Holy Moses, Thomas a Didymus, Pontius Pilate, and others.

But one should also check the big mess that I filed under "Ickie Bickie Soda Cracker," which floats in all sorts of direction and relates to "My Mother and Your Mother."

That's apart from the link to "Coulter's Candy," of course.