Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
Brown Girl in the Ring
(Jamaican Circle Game)
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Brown Girl in the Ring
Brown Girl in the Ring
Circle Game
(Jamaican Creole)
Circle Game
(English)

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.

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.

Notes

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

Dere's a brown gal in de ring, tra la la la la.
Dere's a brown gal in de ring, tra la la la la.
Dere's a brown gal in de ring, tra la la la la,
Fo' she like sugar an' I like plum.

Den yo wheel an' take yo' pardner,
Den yo wheel an' take yo' pardner,
Den yo wheel an' take yo' pardner,
Fo' she like sugar an' I like plum.

Dere's a brown gal in de ring, tra la la la la,
Dere's a brown gal in de ring, tra la la la la,
Dere's a brown gal in de ring, tra la la la la,
Fo' she like sugar an' I like plum.

Den you wheel an' take yo' pardner, tra la la la la,
Den you wheel an' take yo' pardner, tra la la la la,
Den you wheel an' take yo' pardner, tra la la la la,
Fo' she like sugar an' I like plum.

There's two girls in the ring, tra la la la la,
There's two girls in the ring, tra la la la la,
There's two girls in the ring, tra la la la la,
Fo' she like sugar an' I like plum (or rum).

Then skip across the ocean*, tra la la la la,
Then skip across the ocean, tra la la la la,
Then skip across the ocean, tra la la la la,
Fo' she like sugar an' I like plum.

Then show you me your motion, tra la la la la,
Then show you me your motion, tra la la la la,
Then show you me your motion, tra la la la la.
Fo' she like sugar an' I like plum.

Then run and take a partner, tra la la la la,
Then run and take a partner, tra la la la la,
Then run and take a partner, tra la la la la,
Fo' she like sugar an' I like plum.

Then dance with your partner, tra la la la la,
Then dance with your partner, tra la la la la.
Then dance with your partner, tra la la la la,
Fo' she like sugar an' I like plum.

Then jig with your partner, tra la la la la,
Then jig with your partner, tra la la la la,
Then jig with your partner, tra la la la la,
Fo' she like sugar an' I like plum.

*The "ocean" is the space within the circle. The "motion" is a kind of cake-walk.

Game Instructions

The players form a circle. All sing. As the song begins, one or two girls walk about outside the ring, entering at the last line. Each chooses a partner with whom she "skips" etc. according to the words of the song.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Glasceta Honeyghan for contributing this song.

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