Frère Jacques Sung Around the World

Frère Jacques seems to be the most well known children’s song that is sung around the world. It’s amazing to I see how far it’s traveled… from France, to Germany, Japan, China, to many countries in Africa. The list goes on.

This past weekend we learned about a wonderful Frère Jacques page that contains videos of students and teachers singing Frère Jacques in different languages. You can click here to visit it.

Olivier Pagani, the host of that site, was nice enough to let us post a recording of his student singing the Haitian version of Frère Jacques. It’s called Tonton Bouki. Here’s the recording, followed by the lyrics in Creole, and then an English translation:

MP3 Recording of Tonton Bouki

Tonton Bouki
(Haitian Creole)

Tonton Bouki, Tonton Bouki,
Ou ap dòmi? Ou ap dòmi?
Lévé pou bat tanbou-a, Lévé pou bat tanbou-a
Ding ding dong ! Ding ding dong !

Uncle Bouki

Uncle Bouki, Uncle Bouki
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Get up to play the drum, get up to play the drum
Ding, ding, dong! Ding, ding, dong!

Many thanks to Olivier Pagani from the Classe d’Initiation at Mons-en-Baroeul/Lille Fives (France) for the wonderful recording of Tonton Bouki!

If you’d like to send us a version of Frère Jacques from where you live, we’d be happy to post it. In a couple of months we plan on posting a Frère Jacques page with all of the versions we have.


This article was posted on Wednesday, February 7th, 2007 at 1:20 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Creole, France, Frère Jacques, French, French Kids Songs, Haiti, Haitian Children's Songs, Languages, Tonton Bouki. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

8 Responses to “Frère Jacques Sung Around the World”

  1. marie lilienström Says:

    Here is the swedish lyrics:

    Broder Jakob, broder Jakob,
    sover du? Sover du?
    Hör du inte klockan? Hör du inte klockan?
    Ding ding dong ding ding dong

    All words have the same meaning as in french!

  2. d.baker Says:

    When I was at an english girls’ grammar school in the late ’40s we had to do 10 minutes drill every morning. This usually included marching to the tune of Frere Jacques while singing

    Perfect posture, perfect posture,
    Do not slump, do not slump.
    You must grow up handsome, you must grow up handsome.
    Cure that hump, cure that hump.


  3. Lisa Says:

    That’s funny! If anyone else would like to post variations they know – feel free to post them in the comments.

    -Mama Lisa

  4. prisha Says:

    brother peter brother peter
    do wake up, do wake up
    ring the bell for dinner, ring the bell for dinner
    ding, dong, bell

  5. Bonnie Says:

    Can anybody tell me where to find a CD or a download to “Parson’s Cow” ? Thank you!

  6. Kathy Says:

    I had a fitness instructor in grade school that made us sit in rows so she could make sure we were all in attendance. While sitting in those rows, we all needed to have “perfect posture” and sing this version of the song that d.baker wrote above:

    Perfect posture, perfect posture,
    Do not slump, do not slump.
    You must grow up handsome, you must grow up handsome.
    Hide that hump (big hump), hide that hump (big hump).

  7. Mary Says:

    I was in grade school in Texas during the Depression years of the 1930s. The teachers there taught us the version of “Perfect Posture” that Kathy has posted. Today I have rewritten it slightly — I want to display it on one or two of the walls of myself to remind myself to walk with my head up, in spite of the dowager’s hump I’ve developed in my 80s. I truly believe it will make me stronger to pay attention to perfect posture and by improving my breathing will help me to live longer.

    Perfect posture, perfect posture!
    Do not slump, do not slump.
    Makes your muscles stronger,
    Keeps you breathing longer.
    Hide that hump! Hide that hump!

  8. Mary Says:

    Oh, my — I didn’t proofread well. I meant to write in my comment about “Perfect Posture” : “I want to display it on one or two of the walls of my house,” but instead I wrote the very funny “display it on the walls of myself.” LOL

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