Mudcat Café message #2593010 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #26926   Message #2593010
Posted By: Azizi
19-Mar-09 - 08:21 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Oh my, I want a piece of pie
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Oh my, I want a piece of pie
Jim, I'm reading your "eephing" thread (no pun intended) and it is quite interesting in a comparative cultural way (like which came first the chicken or the egg).

With regard to your comment about these rhymes being "chants" and not "songs"-that's true. But when I was actively collecting hand clap rhymes from African American children and pre-teens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I found that I only got blank expressions when I asked them what "rhymes" did they know. I figured using the word "chants" would result in even more blank stares. So I ended up asking children what songs did they sing when they did hand claps. And sometimes I would say "hand claps like "Miss Mary Mack" as it seemed that most Black children ages 8-12 years old knew the "standard" verses of "Miss Mary Mack"(the one with the elephant jumping over the fence fence fence and not coming back till the fourth of Ju ly ly ly).

Fwiw, it seems to me that although boys may know these hand clap rhymes, after about 6 years old, it's rare for them to do them unless we're talking about them joining in on (but not initiating)mildly competitive circle hand clap games like Kids chant Stella Ola Ola / Stella Ella Ola(which is known as Strolla Ola Ola among the children I worked with), Quack Diddley Oso, and Down by the Banks of the Hanky Panky (though the children I worked with don't appear to know this last game).

Note that I said "did hand claps". Early on in my contact with predominately Black groups of children in the Greater Pittsburgh area, I learned that they don't "play handclap rhymes", they "do hand claps".

Also for what it's worth, I had never heard the term "handjives" as a referent for "hand clap rhymes" or "hand clap routines" before I saw "handjives" being used that way on various Mudcat threads. Sure, I knew the Rock n'Roll song "Willie And The Handjive". But I didn't equate that word "handjive" in that song with "hand clap rhymes". "Handjive" isn't a term that is used by children and adults who I know in my adopted hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Maybe "handjive" is a regional term and maybe its a racial term or maybe its an international term (meaning it's used in places like the UK where people say "skipping rope" like folks in the United States say "jumping rope"). I'm curious to know more about this.


Btw, on my MySpace page I feature up to five videos every month of children & teens being creative. During March 2009, I'm showcasing videos of children in various nations of the world doing hand claps. Check it out, if you've a mind to.