Flea Fly Flow (Cumala Vista) - Sources And Examples

Jun
19

Flea Fly Flow (Cumala Vista) - Sources And Examples

"Kuma La Vista" with the kids of Sola Fe

Uploaded by amandastacyhill on Mar 28, 2010

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This page presents several examples and comments about the children's rhyme or song "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cuma La Vista").

This page also showcase several videos of these songs/rhymes and also presents my theories about the sources of the song that is known as "Flea Fly" or "Cumala Vista". meanings.

The content of this page is presented for folkloric, entertainment, and asthetic purposes.

Here's a link to a shortened version of that page on my cultural blog:
http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/01/flea-fly-flow-cumala-vista-rhyme... The Flea Fly Flow (Cumala Vista) Rhyme & Songs That Helped It Grow

CONTACT INFORMATION
This page is written and edited by Ms. Azizi Powell, founder of Cocojams.com

Latest update: June 25, 2012

I can be contacted via this email address:
cocojams17@yahoo.com

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Thanks to all thoshe who have contributed examples and uploaded videos of these rhymes/songs!

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GENERAL DESCRIPTION
"Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumala Vista", "Oh The Beestay", and other similar titles) is a call & response playground and camp song. The words "Cumala Vista" ("Kumala Vista" and other spellings) are pronounced "koo mah lah VEE stah".

Currently in the United States (and in other parts of the world?), people sing this song while clapping their hands and then patting their knees. However, at least one blogger noted that he has childhood remembrances of elementary school girls jumping rope while reciting the words to this song. (That quote is reposted in the section below on English language recordings of "Flea Fly Flow" songs).

My theory is that the 1940 Spanish song "El Cumbanchero" (The fun-loving man) is the primary source for the American English song/rhyme "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumula Vista"). English language speakers retained the element "cum" in "cumbanchero", added a "u" to that element and combined that newly created "nonsense word" with the somewhat familiar Spanish word (or words?) "la vista" or some similarly pronounced phrase such as "la be stay". Chubby Checker's 1964 Rock & Roll record "Cu Ma La Be Stay" is an early version of this folk etymology derived form of the words "El Cumbanchero". The 1973 record "Oh no! Not The Beast Day" by Marsha Hunt is another early example of folk etymology forms of the title of and lyrics to this song.

Judging from the available recordings, the "flea fly flow" alliteration appears to be a later (early 1980s, "Red Hot Chili Pepper's record with that title) addition to the "Cumula Vista") song. However, currently, in the United States at least, that "Flea Fly Flow" title appears to be the most often used title for that song. My sense is that the call & response "flea, fly, flow" phrase lyrics serves as an introduction to the actual "Cumula Vista" song or rhyme.

There are many versions of the "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumula Vista") song. The lyrics of these songs are mostly composed of nonsense, alliterative, and/or internal rhyming words that sound very much like jazz scatting. The lyrics to each version are fixed, that is, the words & their order, and the length of the song remains constant with each rendition. The song is sung from rote memory and most of the words have no meaning. The fact that the lyrics aren't supposed to make any sense probably adds to the songs' appeal.

That said, as a natural consequence of the "flea fly flow" words, there are some versions of this song that have lyrics or rather portions of the lyrics which do make sense. Those lyrics are about flys or mosquitos, itching, and (in some versions) needing calamine lotion to stop that itching. The rhymes given below as #10 & #11 are examples of this sub-set of "Flea Fly Flow" rhymes.

Most versions of "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumula Vista") include lines from the "Eenie Meanie Dessalini" family of children's counting out songs. I believe those internal rhyming words from the widely known playground rhymes were combined with "Cumula Vista" because they make no sense, just like the Spanish words to the "El Cumbanchero make no sense to those Americans who heard that song who don't understand Spanish. Given the call & response pattern of the "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumula Vista") song, I believe that its most likely that it was African American children or African American adults who first composed the "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumula Vista") song. And I believe that its most likely that that song originated in the playground and was then picked up and revised by adults in the record business.

Judging from examples of this song that are posted on YouTube, there is a standard tune that is used for this song, but some people may use a faster tempo for this song than others, and some people may increase the tempo with each repetition of the lyrics of the song. My guess is that this tune was based on the original tune that was created by the Puerto Rican composer of "El Cumbanero".

SPANISH SONG SOURCE
Although the words to "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumula Vista") have no meaning, the composition actually has its source in the title & chorus of a Spanish language song whose words do have literal meanings. The lyric source for the song that is now known as "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumala Vista") is the 1940 Puerto Rican song "El Cumbanchero".
However, "El Cumbanchero's tune isn't the same as the tune used for "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumala Vista").

Here's a link to biographical information about Rafael Hernadez, composer of "El Cumbanchero":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_Hern%C3%A1ndez_Mar%C3%ADn

-snip-
Here are the Spanish lyrics for "El Cumbanchero":

EL CUMBANCHERO
Words and Music by Rafafael Hernandes 1940'*

A cumba-cumba-cumba cumbanchero
A bongo-bongo-bongo bongocero
Pri-qui-ti que va sonando
El cumbanchero bongocero que se va
Bongocero que se va

A cumba-cumba-cumba cumbanchero
A bongo-bongo-bongo bongocero
Pri-qui-ti que va sonando
El cumbanchero bongocero que se va
Bongocero que se va

Y suena asi el tambor: pri-qui-ti bum-bam
Y vuelve a repicar: pri-qui-ti bum-bam

A cumba-cumba-cumba cumbanchero
A bongo-bongo-bongo bongocero
Pri-qui-ti que va sonando
El cumbanchero bongocero que se va
Bongocero que se va

A cumba-cumba-cumba drumplayer
A bongo bongo bongo bongoplayer
Pri-qui-ti the sound that it's making
When the drumplayer that goes by
Bongoplayer that goes by

A cumba-cumba-cumba drumplayer
A bongo bongo bongo bongoplayer
Pri-qui-ti the sound that it's making
When the drumplayer that goes by
Bongoplayer that goes by

And the drum sounds like this pri-qui-ti-bum-bam
And again he repeats pri-qui-ti-bum-bam

A cumba-cumba-cumba drumplayer
A bongo bongo bongo bongoplayer
Pri-qui-ti the sound that it's making
When the drumplayer that goes by
Bongoplayer that goes by

-snip-

*Note: I found these lyrics in my notes, and regret that I didn't retain the website link where I retrived them. This comment was posted along with those lyrics " Many thanks to ACoolPRican84 for translating this song."

Videos And Sound Files Of "El Cumbanchero"
-snip-
Here's a 1946 sound file [with photos from the "I Love Lucy" show" of Desi Arnaz - El Cumbanchero

Desi Arnaz - El Cumbanchero (1946)

Uploaded by MaryLouBrown on Sep 18, 2008

... with pics of the first "I Love Lucy" Season.

-snip-
Here's a video of a 1964 video of a Puerto Rican vocal group performing "El Cumbanchero" in an American television show:

The Four Amigos - El Cumbanchero - Puerto Rico

Uploaded by wattachee on Mar 7, 2010

The Four Amigos sing Rafael Hernandez's "El Cumbanchero" on the Bill Dana Show in 1964. This Puerto Rican quartert also known as "Los Borincanos" performed with Elvis Presley in two movies; Viva Las Vegas & Girls, Girls, Girls.

-snip-
Here's a link to a 1965 video of Tito Puente performing Rafael Hernadez's composition "El Cumbanchero":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6fhsmVyNaw&feature=related

ENGLISH LANGUAGE RECORDINGS
The development of the English songs or rhymes that are known as "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumala Vista") is documented in three English language Rock & Roll, Funk/Pop, and Rock songs dating from 1965 to 1984.

As a result of my online research. my sense is that the Spanish song "El Cumbanero" was converted first to a playground rhyme and then to Ehglish language records based on those playground rhymes somewhere around 1964. I base this conclusion on the mid 1960s Puerto Rican recordings of "El Cumbanero" (see above section on Spanish language recordings). Those recordings were probably heard in New York City Puerto Rican communities as soon as they were released.

The blogger Ben Truwe indicates that he remembers elementary girls jumping rope to this rhyme in his Connecticut neighborhood. Ben Truwe also cites other online references to this rhyme being recited in the mid 1960s in other states. [An excerpt of these comments is reposted below along with a hyperlink to the blog from which the comments were retrieved.]

Chubby Checker recorded his version of the this song in 1965 with the title "Cu Ma La Be Stay". The title of this Chubby Checker song documents the transition of the rhyme's lyrics from Spanish word which have meaning to English nonsensical words. By 1973, the song's title (as given to Marsha Hunt's United Kingdom record) was far removed from its Spanish source. And although some Spanish sounding words remain in some versions of this song, by 1984 Red Hot Chili Pepper's record, the alliterative English title "Flea Fly Flow" seems to have been the most commonly used title for this song.

Here's specific information about the three English language popular music recordings of the playground rhyme/camp song "Cumala Vista":

Chubby Checker (1965)
In 1965 Rock & Roll singer Chubby Checker (best know for his "Twist" records) recorded a call & response instructional dance song entitled "Cu Ma La Be Stay". The core of this song is an Americanized form of the Spanish song "cumbanchero". A sound file for this record can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnlg3fIGwMo :

The a portion of the lyrics to the Chubby Checker song are similar to the words used for "Cumala Vista". However, that song doesn't include the "flea fly flow" introductory words to the "Cumala vista" portion of the song.

The tune of this song is the tune used for the "Cumula Vista" song/rhyme. However, the tempo is slower than the tempo that is usually used for that rhyme.

The lyrics to that song can be found at http://www.lyricsdepot.com/chubby-checker/cu-ma-la-be-stay.html

Here's an excerpt of those lyrics:
CC [Chubby Checker]" Cu ma lama
Cu ma la
Cu ma la be-stay
Group Cu ma lama
Cu ma la
Cu ma la be-stay
CC Bum ma lama
Cu ma la
Cu ma la be-stay
Group: Bum ma lama
Cu ma la
Cu ma la be-stay . . .

CC: Everybody forms a circle
Now somebody jumps inside
Jump it hit it now
You clap your hands
You stamp your feet
You do the jerk
To the cu ma la beat
Come on hit it
CC: Cu ma lama
Cu ma la
Cu ma la be-stay
Group Cu ma lama
Cu ma la
Cu ma la be-stay
CC: Ar cha know know know be-stay
Group: Ar cha know know know be-stay. . .

**
Marsha Hunt (1973)
Marsha Hunt is a Black female model, actress, and vocalist who was born and raised in the USA but moved to Europe. In 1973 Marsha Hunt recorded "Oh, no! Not the Beast Day" in the United Kingdom. That record has a now iconic photo of Marsha Hunt with her hair in a big afro. Here's a link to Marsha Hunt's "Oh, no! Not the Beast Day!": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr-90GzKdHo

The tune for this song is the same as the tune used for the "Cumula Vista" song/rhyme. However, the beat is funkier than the beat that is used for the "Cumula Vista" song/rhyme.

Marsha Hunt's song doesn't include the "flea fly flow" phrase.

-snip-
In a 08/05/2010 comment about this record posted to Burl Veneer's Music Blog http://burlveneer.typepad.com/blog/ , that blogger wrote about Marsha Hunt " She had a hit single in 1973 with "(Oh No! Not) The Beast Day" ... I listened to it and had my mind blown, because it is the song the girls in my elementary school sang when jumping rope! I never had any idea what they were singing, I just remembered the tune and the apparent nonsense words! Holy mackerel, it took me 37 years to find out it was a real song, and what a fantastic, funky footstomper it is!

I gather that Burl Veneer went to school in the USA.

Given its call & response pattern, I believe its likely that the Chubby Checker song and the Marsha Hunt song were based on African American playground rhymes. Those rhymes, in turn, were based on the Spanish song "El Cumbanchero".

**
Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)
In 1984 the Rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded a version of this song on their album "Out Of LA". Click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qye8G7hH9ts for a sound file of that record .

The tune for this song is the same as the tune used for the "Cumula Vista" song/rhyme. However, the tempo is faster than the tempo that is usually used for "Cumula Vista" that I've heard online.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' song is the only one of the three songs mentioned that includes the "flea fly flow" phrase. Unlike the previous English language popular music versions of that song that I mentioned, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' song is chanting instead of singing. However, the tune that is used for that chant is the same as or very similar to the tune that I've heard for the playground rhyme/camp version of "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumala Vista").

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' song is also the only one of the three songs mentioned that include lines from the "Eenie Meenie Dessalini" family of children's counting out rhymes.

OTHER LYRIC SOURCES
As mentioned above, many versions of the playground rhyme, camp song "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumala Vista") include lines from the "Eenie Meenie Dessalini" family of children's playground rhymes.

In addition, I believe that it's possible that the versions of "Cumala Vista" which include the "flea fly flow" line (which from my online research appears since the mid 1980s to be the majority of the versions of this song) were influenced by the Calypso song "Naughty Little Flea". Here's the original sound file for that 1950s song which was later popularized by Harry Belafonte:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AfEMMXWnQQ
Lord Flea - Naughty little flea (audio)

STRUCTURE OF "FLEA FLY FLOW" SONG/RHYME
Introductory Phrase, Alliterative Nonsense Lines
"Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumala Vista") songs/rhymes usually start with the introductory lines:
"flee fly flow".

After that introductory line, the lyrics starts with the "nonsense" word "cumula" which is repeated three times followed by a word that sounds like the word "vista" such as "bee stay" and "beast day".

The next line usually starts with "oh no no no not the vista" (or the word that rhymes or near rhymes with "vista".

The song or rhyme continues with internal rhyming lines that are lifted from the "Eenie Meanie Dessalini" playground rhyme, in particular the "eenie meanie dessalini" line itself (or some form of that line) and some form of the "bobo ten otten dotten" line which is often a part of that "Eenie Meanie" counting out rhyme.

In addition to the lyrics already described, some post 1990s? versions of "Flea Fly Flow" also include lines with end rhyming words. I'm particularly thinking of those examples as found below in the featured example section which develop a story line, or at least describe the results of being bit by fleas or mosquitos.

* "Eenie Meenie" is a very old and very large family of English language counting out (choosing it) rhymes. Click http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148 for multiple examples of this rhyme. The nonsensical rhyming words "boba ten watten" are found in many versions of "eenie meenie desalini" rhymes and in many versions of "Flea Fly Flow" songs.

FOLK ETYMOLOGY AND THE TRANSITION OF EL CUMBANERO TO CUMALA VISTA
There's no doubt in my mind that the 1940 Spanish song "El Cumbanero" is the primary source for the playground rhyme and camp song "Flea Fly Flow".

The title of Cubby Checker's 1965 song "Cu Ma La Be Stay" documents the early transition of the composition which became "Flea Fly Flow" from the Spanish language title "El Cumbanero" and Spanish language lyrics to English language titles and English language words. In that title of the Chubby Checker record, the elements "Cu Ma" are the same as the beginning syllables of the word "cumbanero" (which means a "fun loving person"). The remaining elements of that title "la be stay" is a folk etymology form of "la vista".

According to my theory, the unfamiliar (to most English speakers) Spanish word "cumbanchero" in Rafael Hernadez's song was changed to the more familiar Spanish words "como" [Spanish word meaning "how"] and "la" [Spanish word meaning "the"]. The word "como" later became "coma" and the words "coma" and "la" were combined to form the "nonsensical" (meaningless) word "cumala". The "la vista" word (words?) probably came to be used because of its relative familiarity to English speakers, for instance the phrase "Hasta la vista."

As a result of folk etymology, the still somewhat unfamiliar word "la vista" became the words "the bee stay". And in some versions "the bee stay" became "the bee sting", "the beast day", and other similar sounding words. In later Americanized versions , "la vista" and "the beestay" have become "la pizza" or "the pizza". I've also come across a version of this song in which "calomine lotion" takes the place of the words "cumula vista". That version is found below as Example #5. And the folk process continues.

OTHER COMMENTS ABOUT THE LYRICS OF "FLEA FLY FLOW"
From http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=497299 - commenter Ben Truwe (2005) -posted in respond to a query about this song/rhyme from another blogger:

"I first heard your mother's phrase in 1965; it comes from a nonsense song she most likely learned in the 1960s in the Girl Scouts, at summer camp, or as a high school cheer. Since it was transmitted all around the world by word of mouth, there's an enormous variation in the lyrics, and it's known by many titles...

A strong circumstantial case could be made that the ?Cumala Viste? versions derive from "Flea Fly Mosquito," judging from the parallels between ?calamine? and ?cumala,? the insecticide spray-can noise preserved as the shushing noise, the retention of the ?no no no no? (among the few English words in the nonsense version), and the slap-rhythm accompaniment for both songs. Once freed of its literal meaning and transmitted orally, the song could mutate into today's myriad versions. Presumably this happened in the early 1960s; I first heard it in Southern Nevada in September 1965, when our entire high
school was taught it as a cheer by cheerleaders fresh from cheerleading camp. I was unaware of any recorded versions until I started looking it up on the Web".

-snip-
The example of this song that Ben Truwe remembers is given in the Featured Example section presented below.

THE TUNE USED FOR FLEA FLY FLOW ("CUMALA VISTA")
The playground rhyme/camp song "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumala Vista") has a standard tune. That tune is used for the three English language songs by Chubby Checker, Marsha Hunt, and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. However, the tune that is used for the playground rhyme/camp song "Cumala Vista" isn't the same tune as the Spanish language song "EL Cumbanero". Is the "Cumala Vista" tune a variant form of the "El Cumbanero" song, with some other differences or does that tune come from an entirely different song?

If you have any ideas about this, please share them by contacting me at cocojams17@yahoo.com, and I will add those ideas to this post. Thanks!

PERFORMANCE ACTIVITIES
In the United States, at least), it appears that "Flea Fly Flow" ("Cumala Vista") rhymes are usually performed as children's camp "call & response" (echo) song accompanied by an individual two handed clap.followed by an individual two handed knee pat. And at least one online commenter recalled this song being recited while elementary school girls jumped rope.

Information about performance activities for this rhyme may be included with the featured examples given on this page.

FEATURED EXAMPLES
(These selected examples are posted in chronological order by the date of the post. The title of the example is lifted from the first words of that example)

Example #1: FLEA FLY FLO
Flea is aloso known as Vista in one song book I have.

Echo Chant
Establish Rhythm by clapping and slapping legs

Flea! (Echo)
Flea Fly! (echo)
Flea, fly flo. (echo)
Vista (echo)
Gumala, Gumala, Gumala Vista (echo)
On, On, on and on a vista (echo)
Ena-meeny dessa meeny oo-wal-la walla meeny essa meeny solla meeny oo-wal-la wall (echo)
Beat billy oaten boat and boo boo skadeeten doat an shhhh (echo)

This made the rounds of many camps in your time period, but oral tradition has variations on the actual sounds ...

(in your time period=camp session for people who are 40=50 years old who went to camp in high school=mid 1970s early 1980s?
- Tinker, http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=53207&messages=42 Top Ten Campfire songs ; November 4, 2002

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Example #2: FLEA FLY FLOW
Flea.. Flea fly.. Flea Fly Flow. Ama lama kuma lama kuma la vista, Oh oh oh oh not the vista vista, issilini dissilini Oo aa aa malini, akaraka, cukara ich bam boom, ip diddly ope en bope why not shout and bout........ssssssss.... Bang!...
-Danny http://blog.oftheoctopuses.com/000518.php [This website is no longer active] ; October 1, 2003

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Example #3 : CUMELADA VISTA
Cumala Viste
Kumala Vista
Cu-Ma-La Be-Stay
The Vista
Mamalama Cumalama Cumala Pizza
Calamine Lotion
Itchy Flea
Flea
Flee-Fly
Flea Fly Flow
Flee Fly Flo
Flea Fly Mosquito
-Ben Truwe http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=497299 , 2005

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Example #4: FLEA FLY FLEW
flea (flea)
fly (fly)
flea fly flew (ditto)
coomalata coomalata coomalata beestay
no no no no not the beestay

and ended in a sort of scat-rhythm: eee-biddlety-oaten-doaten-wahbat-skee-watten-tatten-SHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!
-Bonnie S.; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148 RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes);7/1/2006

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Example #5 : CALOMINE LOTION
Calomine, calomine, calomine lotion
(repeat)
No no no no not the lotion
(repeat)
Itchy itchy scratchy scratchy ew I got one on my backy
(repeat)
Dead goes the bug when you spray it with the bug spray pssssh!
(repeat)
-Guest, Kat; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=81350 I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes, Feb 11, 2007

Editor:
"Guest Kat" gave the following demographical information in another post to that thread: "grew up in Southern Cali in the 50s and 60s "

-snip-
This version typifies how children may revise their playground rhymes through folk etymology so that they make sense to them.

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Example #6: FLEA FLY FLO
Looks like no ones posted here in a while, but the version I learned as a kid for the flea song went (and I'm just spelling as things were pronounced)

flea
flea fly
flea fly flo
cumula cumula cumula vista
oohhhh no, not la vista
ta vista
eenie meenie Mussolini
ooo ah ah,
ah ma-lini
ocha cocha cumoracha
oo ah ah
ish killy oaten boaten
o boe ba ditn dot
odden cotton sssshh
I remember learning it in fourth grade, and I remember the teacher teaching it to us because she said it would help us remember something. But I don't remember what, LOL.
-Guest, http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148 eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes); 6/6/2007

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Example #7: FLEA FLY VISTA
Flea.
Flea fly.
Vista.
Comala comala comala vista.
Ah nanananana vista.
Eenimeenie decemeenie oohwaloowalumeenie
Beep biddly oten doten doo waddy waddy waddy
Shh.

Source(s):
Girl Scouts. Ten years of Girl Scouts. *shudder*
-Caroline, http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080607225925AAhIqHQ ,
2008

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Example #8: OO THE BEESTAY
I remember a call-and-response song/game called "The Beestay" that I learned in the early 60's in Philadelphia. Each line is said/sung by person A and then repeated by person B. When person B says the "Oo" at the end of the last phrase, person A repeats "Oo" and their roles are then reversed. I have no idea what a Beestay is.

Oo (Oo)
Oo ah (Oo ah)
The Beestay (The Beestay)
[sung] Oh, no, no, no, not the Beestay (Oh, no, no, no, not the Beestay)
Eeny-meeny-dissaleeny-oo-ah-ah-maleeny-otcha-kotcha-kumarotcha-akawa-oo (Eeny-meeny-dissaleeny-oo-ah-ah-maleeny-otcha-kotcha-kumarotcha-akawa-oo)
-Mark C; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148; RE: eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes); 8/21/2007

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Example #9: ABULATA CUBALATA
You start with your hands together in prayer position facing each other, and then you put your left palm up and your right palm down as you clap the first time, then clap your own hands together, then clap palms together straight across, and you continue alternating until the final "MpShhhh!" where you clap hands straight across and then move your hands up and out and apart in a sort of finale. The rhyme goes thus:

Abalata Cubalata Cubalata Vista
Abalata Cubalata Cubalata Vista
Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah NaVista
Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah NaVista
Eenie Meanie Desameani
Oohwah Ahwatameani
Eenie Meanie Desameani
Oohwah Ahwatameani
Bop Billy Op Billy Op MpShhhhh!

I learned this girl handclapping rhyme in Shawnee, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, in Johnson County, one of the richest, whitest and most cultureless counties in the USA. So it may have come to us from some gal who came from a more interesting place... I enjoyed reading the other rhymes on your website, I recently heard of a "Daring Book for girls" on NPR, the author mentioned that in these days of videogames and such it's important not to lose these important components of handed down girl culture. I would love to know if any of these words mean anything at all in another language. When we were girls we had some notion it was "African" but of course we had no idea then there were so many African languages... I wonder if someone had learned it from an African American girl. I loved it and still love it, and I teach it to my friends. It's a great "party trick" to give men - and women who have forgotten - a glimpse into the magical powerful world of girl culture that goes on and grows on, handed down girl to girl perhaps since the beginning of time.
-Amy H.; Cocojams.com , 12/8/2007

-snip-
Editor: With regard to the inclusion of racial demographics in this comment, on my website, I suggest that people who send in rhyme example include information about where, when, how, and who performs rhyme examples (including gender, racial/ethnic group) for the folkloric record. My sense is that it's not only possible but a documented fact that the words to and performance of playground rhymes can vary among racial/ethnic groups within the same nation and even the same community at the same time. I also believe that it can be documented that different racial/ethnic groups of children/youth appear to know, perform, and prefer specific rhymes and categories of rhymes over certain other rhymes.

I'm providing these theories as a community collector and person who has from the mid 1980s to date conducted (admittedly unscientific) studies of English language children's rhymes with a special emphasis on African American children's rhymes from the 1950s to 2007. I very much wish that researchers would conduct scientific studies on playground rhymes which would gather information about and otherwise tests these theories.

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Example #10: FLEE FLY FLO
i learned it like this

Flee
Flee Flyp
Flee Fly Flo
Lavista
cumala cumala cumala vista
oh no oh not lavista
enemeene decimini uwauwahtimini
enemeene salamini uwauwahtimini
i say a be billy oaten bobo shuotten gotten shuotten gotten (clap hands and say pshhh)
-Cloudswords ; http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=Zj9GshpZ-eg , 2008

[This video is reposted below as Video #2.]

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Example #11: FLEA FLY FLOE
I got mine from Sing for Pleasure
Call/response, so each line repeated of course:
(Shout) Fee
Fie
Fee fie foe
Kumala
Kumala vista
(Sing- let's hope we know same tune:)
Kumala, kumala, kumala vista
No, no, no-no la vista
Eenie meenie desimeenie ooh-ah la eenie-meenie
Scoot'n doot'n dat'n doot'n rah rah rah
- TreesK, http://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/189435.aspx, 4/29/2008

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Example #12: MAMA LAMA KUMA LA PIZZA
mama lama kuma lama kuma la pizza (repeat)
Oh no no no no la pizza (repeat)
eenie meenie descameenie oomba to oombalinie achie katchie evervarchie xyz (repeat)
-Guest, SOmebody; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=71676 Lyr Req: Bama lama kuma la; June 16, 2010

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Example #11: FLEA FLY FLOW
Real Lyrics:
Flea Flea fly
Flea fly flow Flea fly flow
mosquito
Oh no-no no more mosquitoes
Itchy itchy scratchy scratchy,
ooh I got one down my backy!
Eet biddly oatten boatten boe
boe boe ditten dotten Wye doan choo oo
Chase that Big bad bug
Make it go away!
SHOO! SHOO!
-Faiiliien ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpjGUzTelxA "The Flea Song, 2011

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Example #14: FLEA FLY FLOW

[Editor: This comment that was written in response to the example given above]

hey, i luv this song!!! XD i hear it at my camp :P hey, there are many versions for this!! there's one that's like
flea.flea fly.
calamine calamine calamine lotion.
ohhh, no no no not the lotion.

and stuff, so don't go saying "REAL LYRICS!!!" "
-cutiepie4ever221; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpjGUzTelxA "The Flea Song, 2011

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Example #15: FLEA FLY FLOW
FLEA FLY FLOW
Lyrics is:

Flee - flee!
Flee flay - flee flay!
Flee flay flow - flee flaw flow!
Kommala kommala komma la vesta
Kommala kommala komma la vesta.
No no no no no la vesta
No no no no no la vesta.
Inimini kesamini oa oaa mini eksamini salamini oa oaa!
Inimini kesamini oa oaa mini eksamini salamini oa oaa!
Bibibuliadenh daden bo bo skilliaden daden tschh, tschh, tschh
Bibibuliadenh daden bo bo skilliaden daden tschh, tschh, tschh..

No Fista because thats naugthy and means fisting...
-svengogar; http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=Zj9GshpZ-eg ,January 2012

Editor:
This video is reposted below as Video #2 below.]
Note the explanation the blogger gave for the words "no fista". This points out my belief that many children want the words to the playground rhymes they recite to make sense, and they will attribute some meaning to those words which don't appear to make any sense.

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FEATURED VIDEOS

Video #1: "Kuma La Vista" with the kids of Sola Fe

This video is found at the top of this page.

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Video #2: Flea Fly Song

Uploaded by YMCACFA on Oct 20, 2010

This is a campfire song sung at a campfire during summer 2009.

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Video #3: Puppets singing Flee Fly Flo by -Fem@il

Uploaded by gguider on May 26, 2007

Some of the girls in action....

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RELATED RHYMES

Related Example #1: EENIE MEENY MACKARACKA
I used to sing this in school in the 80's in NW England
The teacher would sing one verse and all the kids had to (try to) repeat it. Great

Eenie meeny mackeracka Dare-dum dominacker Ting-a-ling-a-lollipop Bing bang boosh!

Ratten-scatten do ra ra!

Essamany sallamany oowalla wallamany ,
Essamany sallamany oowalla wah!

A'bo a dic a doc a bo-bo a dic a doc a chuh!
-Guest, macca; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148#1774064 "eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)", Feb 22, 2009

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Related Example #2: BO BO SKI WATTEN TOTTEN
Bo-bo ski watten totten,
Ah-ah, ah-ah boom boom boom
Itty bitty wotten totten
Bo bo ski watten tatten
Bo bo ski wotten tatten
Freeze please American cheese (stop clapping)
Please don't show your teeth to me

(Resume clapping and repeat verse with additions of different things to hide; lips, eyes (eyes shut)
-iluvmate; http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080418164413AAb904S

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