On "Juba Dis an' Juba Dat" - (2019)   


The traditional of a patting or hand-clapping, thigh-slapping dance of sorts is sometimes taught with a song text. "Juba dis an' Juba dat, /  Juba killed a yaller cat; /  Juba up an' Juba down, / Juba running all around."  Often the verb, killed, is replaced with "chased."  It was meant to be entertaining, energetic and humorous. A small lyric from a "pattin' Juba" in q Boston manuscript of Frances Wadleigh reads:  I know my shu't he full o' holes, / My trousiz kine o' bagggy; My laigs, mam' say, is jes' laike poles / But lawsy, dey is danc'uhs!"  A later citation offers a different lyric:  "Juba dis and Juba dat,/ and Juba killed da yellow cat, / You sift the meal and ya gimme the husk, / you bake the bread and ya gimme the crust, / you eat the meat and ya gimme the skin, / and thatís the way, / my mamaís troubles begin."


Said to have its origins in Africa, called Giouba, and then in Haiti, called Djouba, it is popularly known as Hambone, from the clapping which is done combining rhythm and movement. The idiom traveled from slaves to minstrel shows to popular culture which spread throughout the country.  This little essay takes the children's simple song form and elaborates for the fun of it.



4 pages, circa 3' 45" - an MP3 demo is here: 


The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano score.


On "Juba Dis an' Juba Dat"