hambone - Steve McCraven
Uploaded by mycompasstv on Oct 26, 2011
Great hambone technique from Archie Shepp's drummer Steve McCraven.
Recorded in Tunisia at the Tabarka International Jazz Festival.
This post provides information about and showcases several videos of & lyrics to the body patting activity that is known as "hambone". The content of this page is provided for its folkloric and aesthetic value.
OVERVIEW OF HAMBONE
http://www.pbs.org/riverofsong/teachers/ext2.html#hambone "River Of Song" Extension Activities: Episode Two
"..."Hambone" is a name for a particular way of using body percussion to accompany songs with very rhythmic combinationds. It involves many body percussion sounds, in addition to the usual stamp, pat, clap and
Some of these are:
Patting the chest with alternating hands
Patting one's open mouth or cheeks (amount of open area in mouth determines pitch)
Patting the front, back and sides of the legs.
Slapping for arms and elbows
Alternately patting one thigh with one hand, then coming up and patting the palm of the other hand which is being held, palm down a few inches above one's thigh.
Alternately patting one hand with the other hand (Clap right hand on left palm, then left hand on right palm)."
Re-creating Hambone, Body Music of the Past
By Glenn Collins/ Published: July 18, 1987
The body music called hambone is made by using the hands to slap the thighs and the chest muscles...
In fact, hambone ''is a living bit of black history, a neglected part of our heritage that flourished in minstrel shows and vaudeville.
...the rhythmic patting motion of hambone has its origin in West African dance, ''where movement was a form of communication and religious ceremony,'' said Professor [Joseph] Boskin, [professor of history and Afro-American studies at Boston University]...
Although the etymology of the word hambone is debated, ''It makes sense that the word comes from hitting your thigh, your hambone,'' said Mr.[Derique] McGee, [professional hambone performer from California].
Bo Diddley was well known for the "Bo Diddley beat," a rumba-like beat similar to "hambone", a style used by street performers who play out the beat by slapping and patting their arms, legs, chest, and cheeks while chanting rhymes. Somewhat resembling "shave and a haircut, two bits"...
Body patting is also a feature of some Black Greek lettered organization fraternity or sorority steppin.
THE AFRICAN ROOTS OF BODY PATTING ACTIVITY
Here's one example that I found of body patting in West Africa.*
Traditional Jola dancing. Video 1. July 2006 (Senegal)
UlfJagfors/ September 29, 2006
This video shows traditional Jola body patting and dances by girls from Mlomp, Casamance region, Southern Senegal. It was recorded at The Akonting Center for Senegambian folkmusic, Mandinari, Gambia July 2006.
* This is only one example of body patting in Africa. There are probably other examples. If you know of any, please share that information with or without video links in the comment section of this page. Thank you.
Hambone (Version #1) "hambone - Steve McCraven"
[This video is placed at the top of this page]
Hambone, Hambone where you been
'Round the world and back again
Hambone, Hambone have you heard
Daddy gonna buy you a mocking bird.
If that mocking bird don't sing
Daddy gonna buy you a diamond ring.
If that diamond ring don't shine
We'll take it back to the five and dime*
If that five and dime go broke
Daddy gonna buy you a billy goat.
[We'll do the hambone]
-Steve Craven, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8r5wxpa3hg ; October 26, 2011
(transcription without all of the group responses which are given in brackets, from the YouTube video by Azizi Powell, 3/8/2012)
Note that Steve McCraven also includes mouth popping along with his performance of juba pattin (hambone). His rendition of the song "Hambone" has a slightly different tune & tempo than the song usually has.
Hambone (Version #2)
Hambone Hambone pat him on the shoulder
If you get a pretty girl, I'll show you how to hold her.
Hambone, Hambone, where have you been?
All 'round the world and back again.
Hambone, Hambone, what did you do?
I got a train and I fairly flew.
Hambone, Hambone where did you go?
I hopped up to Miss Lucy's door.
I asked Miss Lucy would she marry me.
(in falsetto) "Well I don't care if Papa don't care!"
First come in was Mister Snake,
He crawled all over that wedding cake.
Next walked in was Mister Tick,
He ate so much it made him sick.
Next walked in was Mister Coon,
We asked him to sing us a wedding tune,
-Bessie Jones and Bess Lomax Hawes, Step It Down, Games, Plays, Songs & Stories From The Afro-American Heritage (Athens, Ga; University of Georgia Press, 1972, pps 34-36)
This example of "Hambone" is a version of the very old rhyme "Frog Went A Courtin". Here's a description of how to perform hambone patting from Step It Down:
"Hambone may be performed alone or with a group all jiving together. While the rhyme is being said, the players slap their thighs lightly on the off-beat, After each line of the poem, they "pat"...
The "patting" may be done on one side of the body only, using the right hand and thigh, or on both sides at the same time in parallel motion. The triplet phrase is done as follows:
1.Slap the side of the thigh with the palm of the hand in an upward brushing motion.
2. Continuing the upward brushing; strike the side or the chest with the palm of the hand.
3. Strike the thigh downward with the back if the hand.
Do this series twice, then slap your thigh three times. The entire pattern is repeated after each line of the rhyme..."
Bessie Jones indicates in that book that "hambone, hambone where you been/round the world and back again" was a codeed reference to the hambone being used over & over again because people were poor and were trying to stretch their food. This may have been an commonly held explanation for how that form of pattin juba got its name, but I prefer the explanation given above that the "hambone" was a commonly used reference for the thigh bone.
Hambone (Version #3)
There's a version recorded on a lovely CD: Various Artists 'Georgia Folk: A Sampler of Traditional Sounds' Global Village Music CD 03. It is performed by Ray Favors - with body patting, mouth popping etc -and was recorded by Dave Evans in 1970.
Hambone, hambone have you heard
Papa gonna buy me a mockingbird
If that mockingbird don't sing
Papa gonna buy me a diamond ring
If that diamond ring don't shine
Papa gonna buy me a nanny goat
It that nanny goat don't rate
Papa gonna whup my boom-de-yay *
Hambone, hambone where you aye (?)**
In the chicken house cookin' rye
Hambone, hambone where you bin
Round the world and I'm goin' agin
-Stewie; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=17443&desc=yes "Hambone" ; January 26, 2000
*In the context of this song "boom-de-yay" is a rhythmical euphemism for "butt". Notice the similarities between the line "Papa gonna whup my boom-de-yay" and the line "mama gonna beat my b.u.t"
**The question mark in parenthesis indicates that Stewie was unsure whether his transcription of this word was correct. If "where you aye?" is correct. "Where you aye" probably has the same meaning as the African American English question "Where you at"? (Where are you?) . "In the chicken house cookin rye" is often given as "in the kitchen cookin rice". Stewie's transcribed the word "rye" as "rice". This line is usually given as "cookin rice".
Hambone (Version #4)
Now what you are about to see
is a little bit of lost history.
A little bit of lost history.
But I'm glad
Somebody showed me.
Whether one or two or all alone
Everybody can enjoy
a little hambone.
Hambone, hambone what is that?
Hambone is more than a hit or a pat.
Hambone is more than a rhyme.
Hambone is more than a notion.
To get into hambone
you gotta show emotion.
So look up!
Hambone's about to bring you some cheer. Hah!
[Begins hambone patting and after several pats with no words, continue pattin while saying these lines]
Hambone, hambone have you heard?
Mama's gonna buy me a mockin' bird.
If that mockin' bird don't sing
Mama's gonna buy me a diamond ring.
If that diamond ring don't shine
Mama's gonna buy me a fishing line.
If that fishing line should break
Mama's gonna throw it in the lake.
If that water splash on me
Mama's gonna beat my b.u.t.
[Stops hambone pattin and without any break flows into the next line]
Tea is what I like to drink
When I know I need to think.
When I like a little song
I like to do the -Hambone. Hah!
[Begins hambone pattin' again then after several patts says]
Break it down! Hah! Hah!
[Does mouth pop]
-NeBo411; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ7VgSivTE8&feature=related , December 04, 2007 (transcription from the YouTube video by Azizi Powell, 8/17/2010)
Here's that video:
Hambonin' Nebo; Hambone
NeBo performs the artistic, thigh-slapping art form called Hambone.
Note that portions of "Hambone" sometimes include floating lines from another African American song "Hush Little Baby, Don't You Cry".
Juba dis an' Juba dat,
Juba skin dat Yaller cat*
Juba jump an' Juba sing.
Juba cut dat Pigeon's wing.*
Juba, kick off Juba's shoe
Juba, dance dat Jubal Jew*
Juba, whirl dat foot about.
Juba, blow dat candle out.
Juba circle, Raise de Latch
Juba do dat Long Dog Scratch*
- Thomas W. Talley Negro Folk Rhymes: Wise & Otherwise (originally published in 1922, 1968 edition Kennikat Press, p. 8)
* In this version of "Juba", the song is an instruction dance. In his notes to that song, African American folklorist and Fisk University professor Thomas W. Talley indicates that those references are types of dance steps.
As is the case with other folk songs, there are other versions of "Juba". For instance, I have also seen these lines given for that song:
Juba up and Juba down
Juba all around the town
Juba jump over double trouble**
*The phrase "double trouble" is found in Talley's book in the song "Gooseberry Wine"
Oh, walk chalk Ginger Blue
Git over double trouble".
(p. 41, op. cit)
"The chalk line walk" was the prototype for the "cake walk". I believe that "Ginger Blue" was an informal reference for a ginger colored Black person (a redbone; a Black person with a reddish tinge to his or her skin). I also believe that "double trouble" in those lines means "a lot of trouble". The lines were reminding people to be alert and careful so that they wouldn't get into a lot of trouble, or they could navigate themselves through a lot of trouble.
In the otherwise excellent video of pattin juba found below the teacher indicates that "Juba killed a yellow cat" was a coded way for slaves to say "kill the slave master ("yellow" being used as a reference to the slave master's skin color). I vehemently disagree with this interpretation of that line. I don't believe that either "skinned a yellow cat" or "killed a yellow cat" was a coded phrase and I don't think the song "Juba" had anything whatsoever to do with killing slave masters.
In my opinion, the line "Juba killed a yellow cat" is a later form of the line "Juba skinned a yellow cat", probably by people who weren't aware that "skinned a yellow cat" referred to a dance step.
Danny 'Slapjazz' Barber and Sekani Thomas: An Apprenticeship in Hambone (aka Patting Juba)
Uploaded by actavdo on Aug 11, 2011
Master artist Danny 'Slapjazz' Barber (Spring Valley) and his apprentice Sekani Thomas (San Diego) participated in ACTA's 2009 Apprenticeship Program in an apprenticeship in hambone, or patting Juba, an African-American tradition which stems from life under slavery in the United States...
This video includes a lengthy historical overview of patting juba and that apprenticeship program to teach this art form.
BODY PATTING AND STEPPIN
Body patting is sometimes including in the African American movement art form called "steppin". Here's a video of stepping that includes body patting:
Alpha Phi Alpha (Central State University)
Posted by gowherehiphop
January 30, 2010
"1st Place Winners for Chicago Sprite Step Off"
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/10/pattin-juba-hambone-and-bo-diddl... for another pancocojams post about pattin juba.
My thanks to the writers of the articles, the performers featured in the videos, and the video uploaders.
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