Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
A place for poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy!
Advertisement

Carol wrote to me:

I am from Trinidad, but live in Canada. There is a lullaby that is sung to babies that goes “dodo petit popo”. Those are the only words I remember and now that I have a grandchild, I sing only those words, but I don’t remember the rest. Would you know it, and if not where could I find the words and the music?

If anyone can help with this lullaby, please comment below.

Thanks!

Lisa

Advertisement

This artilce was posted on Monday, March 26th, 2007 at 4:42 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Creole, France, French, French Lullabies, Grenada, Languages, Lullabies, Mama Lisa, Questions, Readers Questions, Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidadian Lullabies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

39 Responses to “Would You Know a Lullaby from Trinidad with the line “Dodo petit popo”?”

  1. Patty Says:

    The song goes:

    Dodo petit popo
    Mama gone to town
    To buy sugar plum
    And give popo some

    The melody sounds something like “ring around the rosey”. Enjoy!

  2. Graeme Henderson Says:

    In 1837 a slave ship from the African slave coast left slaves at Grenada. They were recruited into the West India regiment and sent to Trinidad where they revolted. Their leader had been a chief of the Pawpaw tribe (pronounced Popo). Petit-Popo (little Popo) was a slave trade post in Togo. Does Mama Lisa know her ancestry?

  3. Lisa Says:

    It seems to me that petit popo means little baby.

    I found another similar lullaby on a site of folk songs from Trinidad and Tobago:

    Petit Popo

    Do do petit popo
    Do do petit popo
    Si ou pa do do, petit popo
    Maco chat allez mangé ou

    This looks like a Creole French song. Fais dodo in French is “go to sleep”. Again, it’s using “petit popo” – which must mean “little baby” – or something like that.

    It looks like this song is saying something like:

    Sleep little baby
    Sleep little baby
    If you don’t sleep, little baby
    ? cat is going to eat you.

    Even though historically Petit-Popo comes from the name of a slave trade post in Togo, Africa. It seems clear that it came to have another meaning in Trinidad.

  4. Lisa Says:

    I wrote to Robert, at the folk song site above, for a translation of the French Creole song. Here’s what he wrote…

    “Do-do” simple means “Go to sleep”.

    The song is a lullaby which says;

    Go to sleep little babe
    Go to sleep little babe
    If you don’t sleep, little babe
    A big cat will come to eat you up.

    It sound horrible but I guess it worked!

    Regards
    Robert

  5. TOMMY Says:

    WORDS TO GO TO SLEEP MY LITTLE BABY…

    GO TO SLEEP
    GO TO SLEEP
    GO TO SLEEP MY LITTLE BABY

    GO TO SLEEP
    GO TO SLEEP
    …….???????

  6. stacie Says:

    My Grandmother sang this to me-
    Do Do petit popo petit popo do want to do do
    mama will go to town to get the popo
    some sugar plum so do do popo

  7. gena johnson Says:

    clap hands with (insert name here)
    ’til mama comes,
    bringing cake and sugarplum
    and give the baby some..

  8. Timamaydife Says:

    I know this version
    Do do petit po-po
    Petit fanm la pa vle domi

    Aponlo ke mange li
    Betani pie ke mange li

    Kakara ke mange li
    zambi do ke mange li

    Do do petit po po
    petit fanm la se ka domi

    Aponlo pa mange li
    Betanie pie pa mange li
    Kakara pa mange li
    Zambi do pa mange li

    Do do petit popot
    Le popo se ka domi
    le popo se ka domi

  9. Timamaydife Says:

    Here is another

    Do do petit popot
    Petit popot pa vle do do

    Zambi a ke mange li
    Sukugnan ke suce san

  10. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for posting those versions. I’m wondering if you’d be able to post English translations to go with them?

    -Mama Lisa

  11. Guanaguanare Says:

    Found this version at this page: http://www.kith.org/cgi-bin/mt332/mt-k3comments.cgi?entry_id=3945

    Do do petit popo,
    Petit popo pas fait dodo
    Do do petit popo,
    Petit popo pas fait dodo

    Do do petit popo,
    Petit popo pas v’lez dodo,
    Si vous pas dodo, petit popo,
    Mako chat allez manger ‘o.

  12. Susanita Says:

    Yes ! I remember that beautiful Lullaby.

    Dodo petit popo,
    Dodo petit popo,
    petit popo, pavre dodo,
    petit popo, pavre dodo,
    long du chat en la mange li
    ……
    Go to sleep little baby
    Go to sleep little baby
    baby little, pavre go to sleep
    cat´s tongue in the freezed hand
    and the big cat is going to eat you

  13. kevon Says:

    my mom sang this son to me as a child and I in turn sing it to my 3 sons (4 yo & twins 1 yo)

    I goes like this:

    Dodo petit popo
    Mama gonna pway dodo
    Ika dede manuela
    Ana mange morsha

  14. Mary Devaux Says:

    My father form St Lucia use to sing this song
    Do do petit popo,
    Petit popo pas fait dodo
    Do do petit popo,
    Petit popo pas fait dodo

    Do do petit popo,
    Petit popo pas v’lez dodo,
    Si vous pas dodo, petit popo,
    Mako chat allez manger ‘o.

    or a version of it.

  15. Lisa Yannucci Says:

    Marvin wrote:

    i was wondering what about some folk songs? i am looking for a few?

    mangoes
    mi bouli
    boy-ken??(not sure of de spelling)

    Marvin

    Can anyone help Marvin?

  16. carol grassi Says:

    Would anyone know more words to an old southern lullaby my mother sang to me. Her father was born in Virginia about 1845, his mother died and his father had slaves that helped raise him. He sang her a lullaby she also sang to me. All I can remember is – Andrew Jackson White, shut your eyes up tight. Daddys in the hen house lookin for a chicken, brothers waitin outside helpin with the pickin, mammys gwain to make the chile a little chickie pie. Any help appreciated. Thank you

  17. Daisy Haley Says:

    That must be part of one my mother used to sing to us, and her mother sang it to her when she was young. Her mother was born around 1878, and they were in North Carolina.
    Actually, my 94-year-old mother sang it to me this evening. :) She wasn’t positive this was all the same song, but they always sang it together. Here’s her version.

    Hushabye my little Georgia n_____
    Lay your kinky head in Mammy’s arms.
    Don’t you dare wink or blink or snigger
    If you do I’m gwine to do you harm.

    Little Jackson White
    Shut your eyes up tight.
    Daddy’s in the hen house lookin’ for a chicken
    Buddy’s in the hay barn helpin’ with the pitchin’
    Mama’s (or Sissy’s) in the kitchen makin’ corn pone.
    Honey don’t you cry.
    Mammy’s gwine to make her chile a little chicken pie.

  18. Doc Smith Says:

    This is the first time I’ve been able to find this. My mom used to sing it to me and my twin sister, circa 1944. None of the rest of the family, 8 of us, remembers it. As I racall:
    Andrew Jackson White, shut your eyes up tight
    Mamy’s in the hen house looking for a chicken
    Pappy’’s on the outside waitin for the picken
    For to bake little Andrew Jackson White a supper pie.

    I remember Mom didn’t go to the market and get a frozen chicken. She rung their necks, dad used an ax.
    I wonder how many young ladies today would have a clue how to kill, clean and prepare a chicken. Ah, chicken and HOME MADE noodles. I salivate just remembering that meal.

  19. Debbie Says:

    I will be 45 this year and I remember my Mother singing to me:
    Dodo Petit Popo
    Mama’s coming just now
    Bringing sugar and sweet plums
    For the Petit Popo
    :)

  20. Lisa Says:

    That’s lovely! If you (or anyone else) would like to sing it for us, we’d be really happy!

  21. Lisa Yannucci Says:

    Robin wrote:

    Hi Lisa

    I was looking at your site and came across the lullaby ‘do do petit po po’. This song obviously has been corrupted through much – I tend to lean towards the one with the ‘Jumbie’ as a Moko Jumbie is a bad gremlin of the woods. The one taught to me 50 odd years ago was translated thus:

    Sleep, my little one
    My little one, sleep
    Or the big cat will eat you up
    The big cat will eat you up

    Do do petit po po
    Petit popo ?pavle? do do
    Ou le grand chat que mange te
    Le grand chat que mange te

    I cannot remember the word where the question marks are but it means ‘Little one make sleep’.

    My husband’s is sixth generation Trinidadian and my mother-in-law used to sing this to our children.

    I do enjoy your website

    Robin Scott

  22. Lisa Says:

    Monique wrote about Robin’s version just above where the ? is: “‘pavle’ is ‘pa v’lez’ = ‘pas vouloir’ = ‘does not want’.”

  23. Melissa B Says:

    To Carol and Daisy – My Grandmother used to sing this song to me years ago. I’ve always wondered where she learned it. I remember her singing it this way…

    Andrew Jackson White, shut your eyes up tight. Papa’s in the hen house huntin’ for a chicken; brothers on the outside to help with the picken’; Sisters makin’ corn pone out in the kitchen.
    Hush little baby don’t you cry, Granny’s gwine to make her child a little chiken pie.

  24. liz Says:

    My grandmother used to sing this to me and her mother sang it to her. My great grandmother was born in Kentuckey in late 1800s and my grandmother was born in Florida in 1922.

    Anderson Jackson White
    Keep your eyes shut tight
    Daddy’s in the henhouse
    Gittin’ you a chicken
    Brother’s on the outside
    Helpin’ with the pickin’
    Sister’s making cornpone
    Honey, don’t you cry
    Your mammy’s gwine to make her chile’
    A little chicken pie

  25. Mzpooh Says:

    My great-grandfather was raised by a wonderful woman who had been born into slavery. She sang it to him and my grandmother sang it me.

    Hush-a-bye my little pickaninny
    Lay ya kinky head on mammys arm
    Don’t you even wink or blink or snicker
    Cuz if you do ya mammy gonna spank you til you hum humm hummm hummm
    Mammys little child, why dont you hush a while
    Daddys in the hen house lookin for a chicken
    Mandy’s standin outside waitin for the pickin’
    Mammy gonna lay da baby down and bake him a chicken pie

  26. Nai Says:

    i remember a semi different version my mum and gran sang to us when we were young:

    do do petit popo
    petit popo pavle do do
    si ou pa vle pour? do do
    Maco chat ka? manger lit
    si ou pa vle pour? domi?

    the question marks are there cause im not sure its the write word, but it sounds like that.

  27. A. Marshall Says:

    This is the same song my mother and Granny sang to me…I always laughed my butt off as an adult wondering WHERE the heck they got this song, but most of all why they sang it to ME. I never thought I even closely resembled an “Andrew Jackson White” …I was a white baby girl…but…ha ha ha…see, I still crack up!

    Hushabye my little Georgia n_____
    Lay your weary head in Mammy’s arms.
    Don’t you dare to wink or blink or snicker
    If you do I’m g’one to do you harm.

    Andrew Jackson White
    Shut your eyes up tight.
    Daddy’s in the hen house lookin’ for a chicken
    Brother’s in the hay barn to help him with the pickin
    Sister’s makin’ corn pone.
    So Honey don’t you cry.
    Mammy’s goin to make her child a little chicken pie.

  28. devo Says:

    Thank you for this website. I thought I was crazy. Also not very politically correct looking for the Go to sleep Little Georgia ____ song. My mother sang this to me as a child and I tried to sing it to my oldest when he was a baby. His dad lost his mind. I had not thought about it in years but I love this song so much. My mother (84) and her mother grew up in cotton fields with sharecroppers, I assume that is where they learned it originally. I am trying to do a pc rewrite so I can use it in a storytelling program I am putting together based on South Louisiana stories I heard growing up so any ideas on how to preserve the integrity would be appreciated.

  29. Danny Says:

    I love this song my grandmother used to sing it to me. I now sing it to my newborn daughter. I have made it more pc at the urging of my wife. Even with the changes , I still love it and think of my grandmother every time I sing it.

  30. Pamela Says:

    Re-post,
    POPO/Egun is the name of a tribe in Africa, the salves carried their name POPO in their names and songs to remind them of who they were. The POPO/ Egun tribe is what I know as my family ancestors.

    RE-Post
    In 1837 a slave ship from the African slave coast left slaves at Grenada. They were recruited into the West India regiment and sent to Trinidad where they revolted. Their leader had been a chief of the Pawpaw tribe (pronounced Popo). Petit-Popo (little Popo) was a slave trade post in Togo. Does Mama Lisa know her ancestry? I know my ancestors.

  31. barbara Says:

    a marshall post sings it as close as i can remember. i’m about 60 years old and i remember hearing this and also sang it to my three children, i had an aunt named georgie and always thought that is lyrics were made to fit her name. lol
    over the years we changed the n,,,,, word to the first and lst name of the baby.

  32. Susie Says:

    My grandma born in Arkansas in 1913, sang this to my mother born on 1942, and I now sing it to my kids.

    Hush abye my little Georgia —(baby)—, lay your kinky head on mammys arm, won’t you weep or weeper blink or snigger, if you do I’m gonna do ya harm. Andrew Jackson white, shut your eye up tight, your mammys in the hen house Picken out the chicken, sisters makin conpone, honey don’t you cry.

    Mammys gonna make her child a good ol chicken pie.

  33. April Mojica Says:

    My Grenadian Husband sings to our son, Mathias:

    Dodo for Mama til daddy comes
    when daddy comes
    he’ll bring suga’ cake
    and give Mathias some.

  34. Rocky Frisco Says:

    My mother died at age 95 in 2008. She sang a lullabye to me and my sister (10 years younger) That went:

    Andrew Jackson White, close them eyes up tight.
    Daddy’s in the henhouse, counting out his money.
    Mama’s in the kitchen, making bread and honey.
    (not sure about this line)

    Go to sleepy, little Georgie N*gger, lay your kinky head on mammy’s arm.
    Don’t you dast to wink or blink or snigger, cause
    If you do I swan I’ll do you harm.
    (not sure about the rest)

    Mother taught me to respect all people, no matter race or religion, so there was no racism intended. Pretty sure she learned this when she was a little girl.

    The henhouse line makes sense if you understand that people kept their money hidden in the henhouse, so the hens would cause a ruckus if anybody snuck in there, an early times burglar alarm.

  35. Judy Says:

    I also remember a 2nd verse

    High up above hangs a little possum, hanging from the branch of a tree. All the way li’l Georgia — cutest little cooter ever seed.

  36. Tamar Says:

    My grandmother sang it like this:
    Hushabye my little Georgia n…
    Lay your kinky head on Mammy’s arms
    Dont you dare to wink or blink or snicker
    Cause if you do I’se gonna do you harm

    Andrew Jackson White
    Shut your eyes up tight!
    Daddy’s in the hen house looking for a chicken
    Brother’s waiting outside for to do the pickin’
    Sister’s making cornpones, Honey don’t you cry…
    Mammy’s going to make her boy a liitle chicken pie.

    Lie as still as any little possum,
    Hanging from the branches of a tree,
    Sweetest chile is Mammy’s little blossom,
    Prettiest little flower she’s ever seen

    Andrew…etc

  37. Marjorie Says:

    My grandmother used to sing the lullaby, “Dodo, petit popo”, to us, her Trinidadian grandchildren, from the 1940s. She sang it in Trinidadian patois and, since we couldn’t quite make out the second two lines, we simply repeated the first two:

    Dodo, petit popo,
    Petit popo pas v’lez dodo,
    Dodo, petit popo,
    Petit popo pas v’lez dodo.

    The tune was (in sol-fa, with one syllable to each note):
    Soh, Me, Soh Soh Soh Me,
    Soh Soh Soh Me (upper)Doh Soh Soh Me,
    Fah, Ray, Fah Fah Fah Ray,
    Soh Soh Lah Soh Fah Me Ray Doh.

    Another, which was always sung in English, went:

    Go to sleep, my little pickaninny,
    Mama’s going to spank you if you don’t,
    Rock-a-bye, lullaby, tra–la-la-la-la.

    And this one, mentioned in other forms above and which was more of a “playing with the baby” nursery song, we heard as:

    Clap hands for Mama
    ‘Til Papa come,
    He’ll bring cake and sugar plum
    And give baby [or name of the baby] ALL!

    This last has a syncopated beat.

    I have had the honour, and great pleasure, of singing all three to lull two generations of babies in my family to sleep.

  38. Maurine Says:

    I can’t believe I finally found it! I am 80 years old, and my Mom sang this song to me as a child, and also to my children. I’m now singing it to my great-grandchildren, with a change or two, so not to be offensive or pass on words best forgotten. I substitute a name (i.e., Go to sleep, little baby Jonah). Who knows, maybe in the next century someone will be singing it to their little babies, and keep this old tradition alive.

  39. S. D. N. Says:

    Go to sleep you little Georgia N….
    Lay your kinky head on mammy’s arm
    Don’t ya dare to wiggle little n….
    If ya do it’s sure to do ya harm

    Andrew Jackson White
    Shut them eyes up tight
    Pappy’s in the henhouse
    Looking for a chicken
    Brother’s on the outside helping with the picking
    Sister’s making corn pone
    Honey don’t ya cry
    Mammy’s gonna make her child a chicken pie

    Grandmama from Kentucky used to sing it to me. Can’t even believe others have heard it too. Lol

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting

Advertisement
Mama Lisa Facebook Badge
Mama Lisa Twitter Badge
Mama Lisa Pinterest Badge

Help Support Mama Lisa's World
with just
$1.99

Find us on Google+

Help Support Mama Lisa's World
with just
$1.99