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Jamaican game about a brown girl

Posted by on August 24, 2010


Games played by Jamaicans affect their upbringing and are a critical part of their culture. “Brown girl in the ring” puts focus on brown-skinned Jamaicans.

Brown-skinned Jamaicans always got special attention throughout Jamaica’s history, and a song was made about such girls. Brown girl in the ring calls for light skinned Jamaicans to show their steps and could be seen as a sign of competition from way back then, when dark persons sometimes wanted to feel superior – but its all healthy.

HOW TO PLAY Brown girl in the ring [1. All players form a circle. 2. All sing, and, one or two girls walk about outside the ring, 3. entering at the last line. 4. Each chooses a partner with whom she “skips” etc. when directed to do so at the relating words of the song.]

Lyrics to the song:
(Jamaican Creole)

Dere is a brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
Dere is a brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la la
Brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
Shi luk lakka sugar and a plum
Plum plum.

Show mi yu motion
Tra la la la la
Show mi yu motion
Tra la la la la la
Show mi yu motion
Tra la la la la
Shi luk lakka sugar and a plum
Plum plum.

Skip across the ocean
Tra la la la la
Skip across the ocean
Tra la la la la la
Skip across the ocean
Tra la la la la
Shi luk lakka sugar and a plum
Plum plum.

Lyrics to the song:
(English)

There’s a brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
There’s a brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la la
Brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
She looks like a sugar in a plum
Plum plum

Show me your motion
Tra la la la la
Come on show me your motion
Tra la la la la la
Show me your motion
Tra la la la la
She looks like a sugar in a plum
Plum plum

Skip across the ocean
Tra la la la la
Skip across the ocean
Tra la la la la la
Skip across the ocean
Tra la la la la
She looks like a sugar in a plum
Plum plum.

Here’s another version from ” Folk-games of Jamaica”, Issues 1-7 (1922) by Martha Warren Beckwith and Helen Heffron Roberts

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