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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Gibb Sahib Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo (77* d) RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo 04 Jun 20

>> Am intrigued by your ref to "Shenandoah." There's that one text that got transcribed as "Oceanida." But you seem to have something else in mind.<<

Very briefly, my hypothesis is that "Shenandoah" is a rationalization of some "S-" word/phrase, perhaps of African derivation. I don't offer any idea of what that word was "originally," as I don't think it matters. It's some paradigm filled with all the variations we see like "Shannydo" and "Salambo" and "Oceanida [Oh shanida] and "Seven Long Years" etc. and perhaps expanding to include "Shallow Brown" and even "Sally Brown" in its orbit. I hypothesize that whatever "S-" is, it's a named person, not a place or object. I think it's possible to analyze the evidence —though admittedly the data are less than desired— to argue that people hearing "S-" rendered it however it struck them phonetically, until (and also after) some writer decided to rationalize it as "Shenandoah." I think we can argue further that later writers to mention the song picked up the "Shenandoah" that had been put on the table, and they further wove narratives about the song to confirm 'Shenadoah" (as river or valley or Indian chief).

Sorry I don't have the ability to present and analyze all the data now/here.

I also have a weaker hypothesis that "maringo" belongs to a "ranzo" / "ringo" "R-" thing.

I roughly locate the "S -" thing around a Caribbean epicenter and the "R-" thing on the Mississippi / Ohio rivers.

There's an "H-" thing, too, "hilo" and such, coming out of the inland U.S.

Yes, this is all very fuzzy. But I think of these text forms as fuzzy places where the mind goes in the *process* of creating chanties in context -- the process of tapping into paradigms that make up a deep structure from which emerges the surface structures of improvised creation. That's why I personally care little about pinning down the original or "actual" words.

This all sounds very pretentious as I've typed it, but it's a complicated idea and to put it more simply and elegantly will take too much time, so I'm sorry. Gotta get back to working on my book about outcaste musicals in Punjab :)

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