Opie collection of children's games & songs

Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie (part 3 of 3)

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  • Subjects

    Children's games; Children's songs

  • Recording date


  • Is part of (Collection)

    Opie collection of children's games and songs

  • Recording locations

    Coram Fields, London, England

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 3 of 3. [00:00:00 - 00:28:09]. This is the final recording at Coram Fields and involves a group of girls who enthusiastically demonstrate a number of short rhymes; clapping songs; skipping games; ball game rhymes; and topical songs and pop songs. Although many of the rhymes and songs are often distorted or inaudible due to the girls fighting or shouting, a number of playground songs and rhymes are clearly heard. These include the clapping songs: 'I Sent a Letter to my Love' [00:06:25 - 00:07:05];  'When Susie was a Baby' [00:07:54 - 00:00:09:30]; 'Under the Bram Bush' [00:14:50 - 00:15:39]; 'I Went to the Chinese Restaurant' [00:18:06 - 00:18:50]; 'I Met my Boyfriend Walking Down the Street' [00:09:30 - 00:11:57] and 'I'm Popeye the Sailor Man' [00:26:32 - 00:26:49]. Some of these songs have quite mischievous lyrics. For example, when singing 'When Susie was a Baby', the girls sing: 'when Susie was a stripper!' Furthermore, when performing 'I'm Popeye the Sailor Man' the girls sing: 'I slept with Queen Mary, cor' blimey she's hairy!' The girls also perform skipping rhymes, including: 'Salt, Mustard, Vinegar, Cider' [00:14:07 - 00:14:27]; 'I Like Coffee, I Like Tea' [00:14:26 - 00:14:49] and 'I Can do the Can Can' [00:19:36 - 00:20:18]. The children also perform their ball games and rhymes which include 'When I Was One, I Sucked my Thumb' (a possible variation of 'When I was Young I Had no Sense') [00:03:47 - 00:04:36] and 'Light a Cigarette, Sir' [00:05:07 - 00:06:01]. The children also give a rendition of a song that the Opies entitled 'Chargerlo-o-sa' [00:20:19 - 00:21:26].This song is most probably the traditIonal South African folk song 'Shosholoza'. The original lyrics to the song are: 'Shosholoza, Ku lezontaba, Stimela siphum' eSouth Africa, Wen' uyabaleka, Wen' uyabaleka, Ku lezontaba, Stimela siphum' eSouth Africa'. These lyrics can be translated as: 'move fast on those mountains, train from South Africa, you are running away, on those mountains, train from South Africa'. As well as this song, one of the girls enthusiastically asks to sing the 1974 hit 'Ma He's Making Eyes at Me', sung by Lena Zavaroni [00:12:20 - 00:14:04]. Her friends explain that she often performs this on a bench to the other schoolchildren. The children also sing a song that one of the girls may have learnt when reading Winnie the Pooh or may have heard on children's TV. The song is A.A.Milne's 'Three Cheers for Pooh' and is sung by a small group of girls [00:15:59 - 00:16:34].

  • Description

    Item notes: Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie. Speakers' notes: Group of schoolchildren at Coram Fields. Recording notes: Slight dropouts to tape extremities. Otherwise good throughout.

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