People all over the world love the song "Brown Girl in the Ring". It's been sung in Jamaica for well over a century.

Brown Girl in the Ring - Jamaican Children's Songs - Jamaica - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image

Notes

*This line can be found as, "She like sugar and I love plum."

There are many versions of this song throughout the Caribbean.

Game Instructions

The players form a circle. Then they sing the song and clap. One child goes in the center of the circle. During the 1st verse, that child dances around inside the circle. On the 2nd verse, starting with "show me your motion", the child shows her moves! On the 3rd verse, the child chooses a partner with whom to skip around inside the ring. At the end of the song, that chosen partner becomes the next "brown girl in the ring" and the song starts all over again.

Comments

Here's another version from " Folk-games of Jamaica", Issues 1-7 (1922) by Martha Warren Beck with 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.

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Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Brown Girl in the Ring

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Glasceta Honeyghan for contributing this song. Thanks to Monique Palomares for the illustration!

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