Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tingalayo, a Caribbean children’s song

This song was in our music books in Elementary School back in the 60s.  I remember my big brother singing this before I even started school.  He learned it in Miss Greg's music class.  The school had books with lots of little songs we learned in those days. Those little books always had songs from around the world.  As I recall it was a series Chautauqua Central had and each grade has a different color with harder songs. I remember I named my tiny, plastic, donkey Tingalayo and played with it in the gravel pile in Murphy's back yard.

Chorus: Tingalayo,
Come little donkey come.
Come little donkey come.

My donkey walk.
My donkey talk.
My donkey eat
with a knife and fork
(repeat entire verse & then sing chorus)

My donkey laugh.
My donkey sing.
My donkey wearin
a diamond ring.
(repeat entire verse & then sing chorus)

My donkey eat
My donkey sleep
My donkey kick with his
Two hind feet.
(repeat entire verse & then sing chorus)

 “Tingalayo” may be the most commonly known Caribbean children’s song in the United States.

This catchy, easy to learn song is also included in an older folk song book called “Echoes of Africa In Folksongs of the Americas”,2nd edition (Beatrice Landeck, David McKay Company, New York, 1969, p 83.) Written as “Tinga layo”, the same verses of the song are also found in Conolly et. al’s book “Mango Spice” (p. 15).

There are many different rhyming verses of this song. However, most of the versions include the verse “My donkey walk, my donkey talk, my donkey eat with a knife and fork”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

can you tell me the history of the tingalayo song? does it mean something specific? such as does the name tingalayo mean something to the carribean folk?

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I grew up in Chautauqua County, NY. I graduated from Edinboro University of Pennyslvania in 1981 with a BFA in Jewelry and Metalworking. I have been married 31 years. I currently run a small business with my husband. We both enjoy the outdoors and animals a great deal and live on a tiny farm in Western, NY.