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Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?

DigiTrad:
DONKEY RIDING
HIELAND LADDIE
HIELAND LADDIE (4)
HIELAND LADDIE 2
HIELAND LADDY (Jacobite)
THE HIELAND LADDIE


Related threads:
Origins: Donkey Riding/Riding on a Donkey (8)
Bungee Jumping / Donkey Riding (14)
Origins: Bonnie Hieland Laddy / Highland Laddie (34)
Lyr Req: Hielan Lassie / Highland Lassie (6)


Bat Goddess 12 Nov 01 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,Lyndi-Loo (still cookieless) 12 Nov 01 - 11:16 AM
Bat Goddess 12 Nov 01 - 01:22 PM
Charley Noble 12 Nov 01 - 01:37 PM
Charley Noble 12 Nov 01 - 02:36 PM
Dead Horse 12 Nov 01 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Nick 12 Nov 01 - 03:39 PM
Bat Goddess 12 Nov 01 - 03:46 PM
wysiwyg 12 Nov 01 - 04:19 PM
Nancy King 12 Nov 01 - 04:27 PM
Sourdough 13 Nov 01 - 02:15 PM
Celtic Soul 13 Nov 01 - 02:32 PM
Charley Noble 13 Nov 01 - 03:15 PM
Dead Horse 13 Nov 01 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Marian 13 Nov 01 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,Marian 13 Nov 01 - 07:12 PM
radriano 13 Nov 01 - 07:47 PM
Charley Noble 14 Nov 01 - 12:07 PM
Nancy King 14 Nov 01 - 05:57 PM
Snuffy 14 Nov 01 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,MCP 15 Nov 01 - 03:44 AM
Charley Noble 15 Nov 01 - 09:06 AM
Snuffy 15 Nov 01 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,MCP 15 Nov 01 - 09:43 AM
Mudlark 15 Nov 01 - 05:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Nov 01 - 06:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Sep 03 - 09:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Sep 03 - 12:11 AM
cobber 27 Sep 03 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Oct 03 - 03:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Oct 03 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,Mike O'Leary-Johns 02 Oct 03 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,andy 27 Jan 04 - 03:02 PM
Jacob B 27 Jan 04 - 05:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jan 04 - 06:29 PM
Skipper Jack 28 Jan 04 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,Crabs 28 Sep 04 - 11:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Sep 04 - 01:17 AM
GUEST,Brian N. 27 Jan 06 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,Brian N. 27 Jan 06 - 09:32 PM
Dave Hanson 28 Jan 06 - 01:07 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jan 06 - 01:11 AM
GUEST,Lighter 07 Jun 09 - 02:51 PM
Azizi 07 Jun 09 - 07:25 PM
Azizi 07 Jun 09 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,Lighter 07 Jun 09 - 07:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Jun 09 - 08:12 PM
Snuffy 07 Jun 09 - 08:27 PM
Gibb Sahib 07 Jun 09 - 09:23 PM
Azizi 07 Jun 09 - 09:26 PM
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Subject: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 12 Nov 01 - 11:11 AM

Okay, I've been listening to various recordings and checked both Hugill and DigiTrad and searched the forum.

What exactly does "hong-ki-kong" mean?

As in "And the gals play hong-ki-kong?" (unexplained in both DigiTrad and Hugill).

Bat Goddess


Click for lyrics in Digital Tradition


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Lyndi-Loo (still cookieless)
Date: 12 Nov 01 - 11:16 AM

Could it possibly be the hokey cokey?


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 12 Nov 01 - 01:22 PM

Well, I have a feeling from context that it might be the sort of thing women who hang around the port area might do to or with sailors. But I want to know exactly what the words I sing mean.

Bat Goddess


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Nov 01 - 01:37 PM

According to Hugill in his SAILORTOWN book, pp. 297, "Hong-ki-kong" is a phrase in "an old German-and Scandinavian- sailor song in 'pidgin'" refering to sampan girls who retailed sexual favors to saolors aboard ships in the harbor:

Von Kanton bis Macao, Hong Kong nach Luliao,
The soldiers and the sailors, Dis sangen gleich ihr Lob,
Fur dinge, dinge, ding-dong!
Fur dinge, dinge, ding-out!
Sie war ein sampan machen und kommt aus Hong-ki-kong!


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Nov 01 - 02:36 PM

Hugil goes on to say that the literal translation of "Hong Kong" means "fragrant water."

We're probably left with sailors playing around in Donkey Riding" with a term they borrowed from another song, which to them implied having a good time with the sampan girls.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 12 Nov 01 - 03:12 PM

As above. But when you sing it, do you place both index fingers at side of eyes, pulling skin to outside so making your eyes slanted, and say "Hong-ki-Kong" with fake chinese accent? I believe that is the politically incorrect way it should be done. I aint got no time for po-litically c'rect shanties.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 12 Nov 01 - 03:39 PM

If you cant figure out what that phrase means sing a different version! Great Big Sea does not use that line in their version. Ok so no help, just a plug for GBS! Nick


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 12 Nov 01 - 03:46 PM

I pretty well figured out what it meant from the context (nudge nudge wink wink), but wanted reference sources -- which I now have! Thanks!

Bat Goddess


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Nov 01 - 04:19 PM

Is this the origin for the game Donkey Kong?

Is the Hokey Cokey the same as the Hokey Pokey?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Nancy King
Date: 12 Nov 01 - 04:27 PM

Well, I'm gonna have to confess that many years ago I got it into my head -- with no thought as to the context of the song -- that it was "Honky Kong" and referred to a giant albino gorilla.

Cheers, Nancy


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Sourdough
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 02:15 PM

There is a version of Hieland Laddie that I have heard sung here in California that uses the phrases"Donkey Riding" and "Riding on a donkey". I figred without htinking aobut it much that it referred to the donkey engines that came along at the beginning of the age of steam but now that I think of it, that's not a very satisfactory anser. So, I ask, what does it mean. Of course, it will probably turn out to be sexual. THiose guys, they plough the seas all day and then everything turns out to be sexual imagery.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 02:32 PM

This is me making it up as I go along, but I had surmised that (considering the line says "And they all walk hong-ki-kong") that it had to do with a not very opaque stereotyping of the way the Chinese walk.

But then, I just sing the song. I am no historian.

Howe'er, there is someone more in line with "ethnomusicology" in the midst of my band...I could always ask him.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 03:15 PM

I may be wrong but I believe the usual interpretation of "donkey riding" is exactly that, one of the recreations a sailor might experience once he got ashore.

Yes, there were "donkey engines" to assist in heavy lifting but other than an ocassional wistful reference to "clear away the track and let the bullgine run" they didn't make it into shanties, because logically enough shanties weren't needed when they were used.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 03:25 PM

Thanks to Nancy King, I will never be able to sing that line again without an inward chuckle. As a piece of hedication for them whats higgorunt, Hieland Laddie pre-dates Donkey Riding by some hundred or so years. It was a Scottish whaling shanty of course. Donkey Riding was an expression used by *proper seamen* to poke fun at those who used the donkey engine to do their work for them, but was turned around by said *lubbers* who got in & out of port quicker, loaded cargoes, weighed anchor and set sails, etc. & so managed to keep their ships profitable, while the old die hards found themselves *on the beach* and jobless.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 07:10 PM

Hi you Mudcatters!

I always thought the line " and they all move honky kong" just meands that they are moving in a very crazy way. (what "crazy" means is up to your mind!).

I come from Germany and I think that what Charly Noble explained about this stanza taken from an old german song is not correct!

Von Kanton bis Macao, Hong Kong nach Luliao, The soldiers and the sailors, Dis sangen gleich ihr Lob, Fur dinge, dinge, ding-dong! Fur dinge, dinge, ding-out! Sie war ein sampan machen und kommt aus Hong-ki-kong!

This last Hong-ki-kong is just because of the fact you can't sing Hong Kong properly according to the songs melody. So there's just a new syllable added ("ki") which makes it easier to sing. This is fairly common in german songs and does not change the "meaning" of the word in any way, it's simply Hong Kong meant, although "Hong-ki-kong" is said

Greetz!

Marian


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 07:12 PM

Correction: sure it is not "just meands" but "just meant"


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: radriano
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 07:47 PM

Jim Nelson, one of the singers at San Francsico's Hyde Street Pier, actually has the girls in the song playing Donkey Kong, to great comical effect.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Nov 01 - 12:07 PM

What Marian says above makes sense to me. I wish she'd also translate the verse. I think I've figured out the "ding-dongs."


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Nancy King
Date: 14 Nov 01 - 05:57 PM

I agree with Marian too. It's quite common in shanties -- which for the most part started out as verses made up on the spot -- for place names to get mispronounced, sometimes out of ignorance and sometimes just to make the words fit. Note "Vallipo" in the same song -- much easier to fit in than "Valparaiso."

Cheers, Nancy


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Snuffy
Date: 14 Nov 01 - 07:33 PM

Often shortened to Valippo, but lengthened to "we're off to Vall-i-paraiso round the Horn". See also the mangled words in 'The Fireship' "I hoisted her my sig-a-nals"; "Come all you salt sea sail-i-ors" etc., etc.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 03:44 AM

Charley the verse is something like:

From Canton till Macao
Hong Kong to Luliao
The soldiers and the sailors
Immediately* sing their praise
For dinge, dinge, ding-dong
For dinge, dinge, ding-out
She was a sampan(?) girl
And came from Hong-ki-Kong.

(*suspect translation by me. I think the sense may be more like 'unequivocally' but in a rather more shanty-like way)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 09:06 AM

Thanks, Mick. Maybe "Sing out their praise" would work as a free translation.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Snuffy
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 09:26 AM

I think the "gleich" means alike in this case. i.e soldiers and sailors alike, both sing her praise


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 09:43 AM

Quite right Snuffy - that's what it should have been. Thanks.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Mudlark
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 05:54 PM

Slight thread creep here, but I've always wondered about the ship name of the bold sea captain in Lady from Carlisle "....cap'n of the ship called Hong Kong Ki." Makes me wonder, now, if the ship was named for a sampan girl...(or was it just the only thing anybody could think of to rhyme with "raised his voice both loud and high"....)


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Nov 01 - 06:58 PM

My wife's father, (who turned 90 a couple of weeks ago) often refers to going to bed as "going to have some honky tonk". Meaning sleep.

As for holding your eyes slanty with your fingers when you're singing a shanty - they're work songs for God's sake. Alright, we aren't on board ship using them to help us work together more effectively, but I'd say they deserve a little more respect than that.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Sep 03 - 09:50 PM

"Donkey Riding" is known on the island of Jersey and in somewhat different form, in Quebec. The donkey is just that- or a horse.

Lyr. Add: SUS MAN J'VALET

Av'vous visité Tschubec?
Nou-z-y'en allait à la pêque
Mais les femmes avaient trop dé becque!
Assis sus un j'valet. (Assis sus un pônîn)

Ouogue, ouogue, bidé-ouaie!
Sus man j'valet, sus man j'valet (pônîn)
Ouogue, ouague, bidé-ouaie!
Assis sus man j'valet! (pônîn)

Av'ous visité Chébourg?
l'faut y viagi tchique jour
Vendree ses patates, tonmates et chours
Assis sus un j'valet.

etc. for many verses, naming places all along the French coast.

Have you ever visited Québec?
We go there for fishing
But the women talk too much (too much beak)
seated on a donkey (horsey)

Chorus
Turn right, turn right, turn left
on my donkey, on my donkey
Turn right, turn right, turn left
seated on my donkey (horsey).

Have you visited Chérbourg?
we have to travel there each day
selling potatoes, tomatoes and cabbages
seated on a donkey (horsey).

Sailors are mentioned only in one verse:

Av'ous visité Porchémue?
Les mathins habil'yis en bliu
Balvent la bléthe dé pus en pus'
Assis sus un j'valet.

Have you been to Porchémue?
the sailors are dressed in blue
They drink beer mostly
seated on a donkey.

http://www.societe-jersiaise.org/geraint/jerriais/jvalet.html
and http://www.teddy-uk.net/gbs/lyric1.htm

Sus man j'valet
Sus man j'valet


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Sep 03 - 12:11 AM

Is there a French version to "Sus man j'valet," the ancestor of the shanty, Donkey Riding? I seem to recall one from French classes, long ago.
Did the shanty arise from the meeting of Jersey sailors with those from the British Isles? An interesting question, probably with no answer.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: cobber
Date: 27 Sep 03 - 04:02 AM

Sorry to come in so late on this one. We used to play at the Melbourne Maritime Museum where you can pick up all sorts of things, including information and rumours. The version we used to sing began, "Were you ever in Quebec stowing timber on the deck
something something something else riding on a donkey. An old guy there in the eighties told me this was a song from the timber hauling ships. If I remember it correctly, there was some sort of a large trapdoor at the bow that could be opened to get the timber on board. It was loaded through this by a crane and either for bravado or to help guide it (which I doubt due to the weights involved) men often would ride the load of timber onto the ship. This was called riding the donkey, possibly due to the use of the donkey engines running the cranes. Of course this could all be pure bullshit but that's how folk legends are made.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 03:37 PM

Hugill makes it clear in "Shanties from the Seven Seas" (and still clearer in "Shanties and Sailor Songs") that he altered the last line of nearly every stanza in "Donkey Riding" because the originals were unprintable in the '60s: "the veriest filth," as he says in S&SS.

No doubt he imported the rhyme "Hong-ki-Kong" from the German song to replace something else entirely.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Oct 03 - 03:48 PM

The version with the line 'Were you ever in Quebec,' sung in the timber camps, comes from the French- Jersey song, "Sus man j'valet," as do the chantey versions.
Anyone know of early versions in English other than in the chanteys or Canadian song?


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Mike O'Leary-Johns
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 12:22 PM

Hong-Ki Kong.....
Sailors ; Liked to use " Words" that "sounded filthy" but were unintelligable to " landlubbers".
This they used with songs sung ashore to confuse anyone other than sailors.Hence the Comic songs which used nonsense phrases which seemed to refer to seaboard activity.
When passengers were found aboard ship and they were asked not to Offend them they resorted using nonsense words to "Impress" others.
This is Stan's explanation not mine.Mike.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,andy
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 03:02 PM

the song refers to the donkey being the emblem of france and the lion and the unicorn being the emblem of england - an old english sea shanty relating to english/french rivalry


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Jacob B
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 05:49 PM

I'm no expert, but my understanding is this. Before there were donkey engines (shipboard engines to which lines would be fastened to do all manner of work) there were donkey winches (shipboard winches to which lines would be fastened to do all manner of work.) Donkey Riding was one of the chanties used for working a donkey winch.

I saw a picture of a donkey winch once. As I recall, it was rather like a seesaw with a long handle at each end. Four sailors would hold onto each handle, and they would haul the handles up and down to work the winch.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jan 04 - 06:29 PM

Strange how a little French or Jersey song about riding a donkey or horse and visiting towns along the Channel got turned into a chantey about foreign places. The link may be in the Quebec version of the chantey, but there could be earlier connections.

The term donkey engine and donkey man (boy) are fairly old, appearing in print in the 1850s. Donkey winch probably older.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 28 Jan 04 - 05:23 AM

I met a few Canadian children who knew the shanty "Donkey Riding", It appears to be popular among school children there. Obviously some of the subject matter was cleaned up.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Crabs
Date: 28 Sep 04 - 11:19 PM

Maybe its just because it rhymes with Don-key? Hong-Ki , Don-key. Oh those wily sailors, baffling us with thier esoteric references. I can just hear some belching deck swabber snorting out "Hong-Ki" like a drunken jackass.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Sep 04 - 01:17 AM

Cleaned up? It's only versions by scurrilous sailors and those (forgive me for mentioning the name!) drunken chantey singers that need censoring.
Pure, innocent Canadian children have kept more of the sense of the original; a simple litle song about visiting towns along the Channel, and across the water in sober, upright Canada.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Brian N.
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 04:49 PM

This chanty can also be found in a variant known as "Chanty Song" -- and was collected by Helen Creighton in "Songs and Ballads From Nova Scotia" (c.1930's) -- There aren't many notes in the book other than it is sung by Mr. Richard Harlan, South-East Passage.

I think it pre-dates Donkey Riding, and placing it around the 1740-50's or so... Simply conjectrual, but I think that because the tune Heiland Laddie from which both songs are based, was definitely piped by the Scottish Highlanders at the Battle of Culloden, 1745.

Heiland Laddie mentions another tune, "If Thou'lt Play Me Fair, Play" which pre-dates it. However, I would think "Chanty Song" would be within a generation of the "King With The Golden Crown" (1714) for the line to be relevant.

The "King With The Golden Crown" would have to be none other than George I. When George I became King of Great Britain and King of Ireland in 1714 it was decided to replace the previous state crown (ie, the crown worn to open parliament) first created for King Charles II in the 1660s by a new crown, as the old one was judged "weak" and in a poor state of repair. Much of the ornamentation was transferred to the new crown. As with precedent, however, it was set not with precious gems but with decorated stones and glass. The crown itself consisted of four half-arches on a golden band, with the aquamarine monde and cross that had been added to King Charles's state crown in 1685. On top of it stood the cross.

The crown is quite famous and still exists today, given to Queen Elizabeth II in 1995.

Chanty Song:

Soon we'll be in England Town. Heave me Lads, Heave Ho To
see the King with a golden crown. Heave me lads, heave ho
Heave on, on we go. Heave me lads, heave ho Little
powder monkey Jim handing up the powder from the magazine be-
low When he got stuck with a ball that laid him so low
heave ho, on we go. Heave me lads, heave ho

Chorus.
SOON we'll be in England town,
Heav, me lads, heave ho,
To see the king with a golden crown,
Heave, me lads, heave jo,
Heave ho, on we go,
Heave, ne lads, heave ho.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The Cross-Sections Man-of-war. Biesty, Stephen. London, Dorling Kindersley, 1993 explains in detail the "six man" firing crew, which the "little powder monkey Jim" in the song would be a part of, as an early 18th century convention of naval warfare.

The Powder Monkey would be the sixth man of the gun crew:
"Gunpowder was stored in a special room called a magazine. This was deep in the ship's hold. The crew took powder from the magazine to the filling room where it was made up into cartridges.
Because the gunpowder being so flammable, the gun crew kept very few cartridges close to their cannons. In the handling chamber, the gunner made up the cartridges as they were needed, passing them out to the powder moneys through wet curtains that guarded against sparks.
Powder monkeys rushed the dangerous cartridges of gunpowder from the handling chamber, along the narrow gangways and ladders, to the guns. They were helped in this dangerous task by anyone else who was not manning a gun."

This also helps to date the chantey, I believe this would put this version at about mid-18th Century -- somewheres from 1740-1790. When the navy was actively pressing young lads, and I think within a generation or so of George I, and from the technology desribed in the one stanza.

Donkey Riding would have came after or maybe even concurrently, I think as previously mentioned would have stemmed from "Chansons" of the French Voaygers who did alot of lumbering at that time. In fact, the lumebrjacks are sometimes attributed to the origins of term "shanty".

Hard to say about what the "donkey" actually is, but literal donkeys frequently appear in the French Canadian Chansons... most of the chansons are "land" songs that have been brought over by the colonists (Champlain / Cartier). However, real donkeys did not exist much in Quebec.

"... in most cases the old words are still sung, telling of things that belong to Europe rather than to New France. The 'donkey' in Marianne s'en va-t-au moulin is an animal practically unknown in Quebec. These chansons sing of princes, knights, and sherpherdesses in a country where princes, knights and sherpherdesses are certainly not recorded on the census lists" --- Canadian Folk Songs by J.Murray Gibbon (1927).

Also, the Quebecer's (as we call them here in Canada) were also known to sing "A pasourelle" or a children's round, which becomes transformed in the course of few centuries into a robust "pulsating tune which disguises the literal meaning of thw words". The French settlement in Canada ceased early in in the eighteenth century, so that importted chansons, may "in most cases be dated as not later than the seventeeth century" ---

The chansons were often passed down by mouth from generation to generation.. it is quite possible, that "Donkey Riding" was originally adapted from a chanson as mentioned previously and it would be likely that such a chanson would be fairly old, as "Donkeys" were a rarity in Quebec, and any such lyric would probably date to the seventeeth century or earlier (Quebec was founded in 1609).

I would think this a plausible link to the chantey , and combined with the information from Helen Creighton, would date the original to nearly the same time as Highland Laddie --- and as the "Donkey Engine" developed it would make sense it would be further adapted to accomodate these shipboard changes.
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Ironically, I had a great great grandfather who was pressed into Royal Service at about eight years of age -- he served for fifteen years, from about 1745-1760. He was a powder monkey, and his name was Jim. (James Cass/Cast).


Cheers,
Brian


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Brian N.
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 09:32 PM

More on the chanson link. I think it definitely explains alot --- and I think in light of the history of Jersey and what is known about chansons -- the donkey is just that "a donkey" -- it is not so amazing how a chanson would appear in Newfoundland as one might think, but it does place a greater antiquity to the song:

The organized colonization of the islands around Newfoundland started at the end of the XVIIth century and was officially encouraged by King Louis XIV. Most settlers were fishers from Pays Basque, Brittany and Normandy. Merchants from Saint-Malo (Brittany) settled in Saint-Pierre and built warehouses dedicated to codfish storage. The Great Banks were so rich in cods that the explorer Giovanni Caboto (XVth century) is said to have fished a lot of cods just by dipping a basket in the water. Cod fishing was a source of dispute between the French and English settlers in North America, which turned into a succession of wars.

The Channel(Jersey) Islands acquired commercial and political interests in the North American colonies in the 17th Century. Islanders became involved with the Newfoundland fisheries in the 17th century and in recognition for all the help given to him during his exile in Jersey in the 1640s, Charles II gave George Carteret, Bailiff and governor (of Jersey Island), -- [Geroge Carteret was a very successful Pirate hunter] a large grant of land in the American colonies, which he promptly named New Jersey, now part of the United States of America.

Colonists would have came over from Jersey during this period of time, and with them brought their songs[chansons] from the Normandy coast... and even more interesting is their movement to Nova Scotia in 1713, and may explain the Nova Scotian variant, "Chanty Song" about George I (1714). I think this song much older than it appears...and may have been adapted to fit the Timberships, Donkey Engines, as well as corrupted by bawdy sailors at sea... but invariably -- A cigar is sometimes just a cigar, and a donkey -- just a donkey.

Cheers,
Brian


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 01:07 AM

Words in sea shantys don't have to make sense, it's just a rhythm to facilitate getting a job done.

eric


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 01:11 AM

The tune is old, but all the words we have seem to be 19th c.

In the Jersey song "Sus Man J'valet,", the nature of the beast is unspecified in one version, and a 'pony' in another.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 02:51 PM

Did anyone ever hear Stan Hugill sing his "real words"? Some say he occasionally did so (though not necessarily to this particular song).


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 07:25 PM

Did anyone else cringe when they read the posts on this thread that referenced singing this song while" place[ing] both index fingers at side of eyes, pulling skin to outside so making your eyes slanted, and say [ing' "Hong-ki-Kong" with fake chinese accent?"

I hope so. And I hope Mudcatters o longer condone such culturally incompetent actions if they used to condone them when this thread was first started in 2001.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 07:26 PM

Correction-

I hope Mudcatters no longer condone such culturally incompetent actions if they used to condone them when this thread was first started in 2001.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 07:42 PM

I guarantee you that Stan wouldn't make such stupid and pointless gestures.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 08:12 PM

The songs and actions are a matter of historical record. They are part of the evolution of western culture and music.

The gestures and language, of course, are unacceptable now, but why waste effort wringing hands about it in every thread on Mudcat?

Would you remove them from study?
Censoring the past is immature. It is there and must be accepted.

(The only reference to slant eyes in this thread is the sarcastic comment by Dead Horse)


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Snuffy
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 08:27 PM

Just because you find a version of a song in a minority language or dialect doesn't automatically make it older than the English version: probaly more songs have been translated from English into Gaelic than the other way round.

Sus man j'valet does indeed appear on a website of Jersey songs, but if you look at the index page of that site you will find many other "traditional" Jersey songs which have subsequently been translated into English such as
  • Bridge over Troubled Waters
  • It's a long way to Tipperary
  • All you need is Love
  • Auld Lang Syne (so that's where Burns stole it from!)
  • My Bonny lies over the Ocean
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • etc., etc., etc
Perhaps then we might fruitfully look to see if there is any evidence of Sus man j'valet before the year (say) 2000.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 09:23 PM

I hope you do find the more-or-less authentic verses, since some of them in the text sound like something Barney the Purple Dinosaur would sing:
"See the king with his golden crown" ??

"Where the skeeters bite we" ??

These must be cover-ups for something less clumsy!

I laugh every time I hear Great Big Sea shout out the "golden crown" bit in such a righteous way, and laugh harder when I hear clones do it exactly the same.

I'm being too mean-spirited; I should go to bed soon.


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Subject: RE: Donkey Riding - What's Hong-ki-kong?
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 09:26 PM

Q, I suppose your post is written to me.

You wrote "The gestures and language, of course, are unacceptable now, but why waste effort wringing hands about it in every thread on Mudcat?"

I'm glad you agree that the gestures are unacceptable-and it's the gesture that I'm talking about, not the song. Q, I'm assuming that you will agree that slanty eye gesture has nothing what so ever to do with this particular song. And if it did, IMO, it would still be problematic.

I understand that "it's a free country" and if people want to make fun of people they can.
However, it's possible that some person of Asian ancestry might happen upon this forum and be turned off by these posts. I added to the record so they-and any other person who is concerned about cultural competency would see that there are some people on Mudcat who recognize that such gestures are inappropriate and potentially hurtful (actually treating people in culturally insensitive ways diminish us all and not just the group that is so referenced. who is referenced. I've read comments on various blogs including this one http://www.racialicious.com that persons with Asian ancestry note how hurtful it was/is for them to be teased by non-Asians who make such a slanted eye gesture. (There are even children's playground rhymes that mention making slanted eyes, but that is somewhat another subject).

Your question "Would you remove them from study?" [with "them" meaning songs with culturally incompetent language] is a straw man. I did not suggest removing this song and I have not suggested removing any other song from Mudcat. However, I have suggested that a public disclaimer be posted on the Mudcat home page and the FAQ page that reads something like "Mudcat provides examples and information about folk songs in the interest of folkloric study and aesthetic appreciation. The lyrics of certain songs may include words, phrases, and references that are culturally insensitive".

Also, Q with regard to your question "why waste effort wringing hands about it in every thread on Mudcat?", I presume that "it" means examples of culturally insensitive words in songs". If so, I'm sure you know that I'm not "wringing (my) hands or any one else's hands. And I'm sure you know that your implication that I bring up the topic of race in every thread on Mudcat is an exaggeration. It would also be an exaggeration to say that I bring up the topic of race in every Mudcat thread to which I post. However, I will admit that I do feel the need to bring up the topic of race/racism sometime. And sometimes I also feel the need to respond to the topic of race/racism when other Mudcatters and/or guests bring that topic up. I have said this before and will say it again-I'm interested in many other topics besides race/racism. And if there were any other People of Color on Mudcat who publicly acknowledged their race, I would not feel the need to share my perspective as a Person of Color as much as I do now.

As to your point "Censoring the past is immature. It is there and must be accepted", IMO the past is still the present and if we don't want it to be the future, people have to speak up and share why they feel that such gestures are insensitive -and if there was insensitive language in the thread-then that should be discussed also-as I have noted in other threads (as you have reminded folks) and as I will note again if no one else does and when my spirit moves me to do so.

Finally Q, actually Dead Horse's post isn't the only reference to that slanty eye gesture on this thread.

But that's rather besides the point, isn't it?


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