About the Song “Cooma Lotta Veesay”

We received the note below with the song “Cooma Lotta Veesay”. Many variations of this song exist, including “Kumala Vista”. It also shares lyrics with the action song called “Flee, Fly, Flo“. Here’s the email:

“In the late 1950s, we lived near a community of Italians whose antecedents had emigrated from Italy in the early 20c, arriving at New Orleans. They were farmers who had come under contract to a man who promised them land and jobs, but he abandoned them on arrival. A local man took a barge from Natchez down to New Orleans, where he loaded the immigrants up (about 20 extended families) and brought them back to Natchez. He owned several former plantations lying fallow and set them up there, where they established extensive truck farms that supplied the area for decades. Later generations opened businesses, and to this day, local Italian place names are common.

Here’s the song I learned as a kid from the Italian kids; I always assumed the lyrics were Italian:

“Cooma lotta, cooma lotta, cooma lotta veesay,
Oh, no no no not the veesay
Veesay, Veesay!
Ola meany, nola meany,
Sola meany, ding dong,
Elderberry, chop cherry,
huckleberry, veesay,
Oh, no no no not the veesay.
Veesay! Veesay!

[repeat whole]

In each case, the repeated verses are sung at a diminished dynamic, almost like a whisper or echo of the first.

I suspect the last verse was contributed by local Southern kids, since huckleberry was a common local delicacy that grew wild on the hills that lined the Mississippi River to its east. But this is the song as I learned it and we sang it, in about 1955.”

We think this is mainly a nonsense song.

It’s interesting to see how songs mutate from state to state, from town to town, and even within a community.


Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2024 at 7:00 pm and is filed under American Kids Songs, Countries & Cultures, English, Languages, USA. 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.

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