Saturday, November 12, 2011
The Hokey Pokey
There had been many theories and conjectures about the meaning of the words "hokey pokey", and of their origin. Some scholars[who?] attributed the origin to the Shaker song Hinkum-Booby which had similar lyrics and was published in Edward Deming Andrews' A gift to be simple in 1960: (p. 42).
" A song rendered ("with appropriate gestures") by two Canterbury sisters while on a visit to Bridgewater, N.H. in 1857 starts thus:
I put my right hand in,
I put my right hand out,
In out, in out.
shake it all about.
As the song continues, the "left hand" is put in, then the "right foot," then the "left foot," then "my whole head."
...Newell gave it the title, "Right Elbow In", and said that it was danced " deliberately and decorously...with slow rhythmical motion."
"Decorously"... gotta love it. Those Victorians had a far-out sense of humor.
We did this song when I was a kid in Denmark. Funny enough in Danish it has an added chorus fitting nicely with the melody and the lyrics "ooh, boogie-woogie-woogie". Not great poetry, but I find that the song without it gets monotonous. I wonder if that chorus is a Danish invention.