Negro Folk Rhymes Wise & Otherwise - online book

A detailed study of Negro folk music, includes lyrics & sheet music samples.

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NEGRO FOLK RHYMES
inated by some Negro somewhere, called "Jonah's Band" step. There is no need that I should try to describe that step which, though of the plain dance type, was accompanied from the beginning to the end by indescribable "frills" of foot motion. I can't describe it, but if one will take a stick and cause it to tap so as to knock the wrords: "Setch a kickin' up san'! Jonah's band," while he re­peats the words in the time of 2/4 music measure, the taps will reproduce the tattoo beaten upon the ground by the feet of the dancers, when they danced the "Jonah's Band" step. The dancers formed a circle placing two or more of their skilled dancers in the middle of it. Now when I first witnessed this dance, there were no words said at all. There was simply patting with the hands and dancing, making a tattoo which might be well represented by the words supplied later on in its existence. Later, I witnessed the same dance, where the patting and dancing were as usual, but one man, apparently the leader, w7as simply crying out the words, "Setch a kickin' up san'!" and the crowd answered with the words, "Jonah's Band!"—the words all being re­peated in rhythmic harmony with the patting and dancing. Thus wTas born the line, "Setch a kickin' up san'! Jonah's Band!" In some places it was the
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