Epo i tai tai e

DESCRIPTION: Badly distorted Maori text. "Epo i tai tai e, oh! Epo i tai tai e, Epo i tai tai, Epo i tuki tuki, Epo i tuki tuki e!"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 2014 (Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs, but see NOTES)
KEYWORDS: foreignlanguage courting sex campsong
FOUND IN:
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs, p. 144, 444, "Eppo, ee tye-tye-ai"/"O Yepo" (notes only)
NOTES [259 words]: This song has a truly curious history. In Scouting circles, it is often said to be Native American. Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs says it is Filippino. But the web site www.folksong.org.nz has what I assume is the true story. I summarize:
Kingi Tahiwi was a New Zealander competing for the favor of a young Maori woman. So he wrote her a song, "He Puru Taitama." (This probably should be the song's official title, but English speakers won't know it!) The lyrics were
He pūru taitama e
He pūru taitama hoki!
He pūru taitama
He pūru tukituki
He pūru taitama e.
Ka haere tāua e
Ki runga Otaki hoki.
Kei reira tāua
whaka-rite-rite ai
whaka-oti-oti ai e.
Having seemingly a less than brilliant understanding of exactly what women want, he wrote that he was a strong young man -- a bull. He invited her to leave their home of Otaki to see what they could do from there.
No word on whether he got the girl, but his family remembered the song (he wrote quite a few, playing them on banjo), and recorded it in 1930 in a jazzy style. This did well enough that it was learned by Maori soldiers in World War II. Soldiers being soldiers, they made it bawdy:
E pō i taitai e!
E pō i taitai e!
E pō i taitai,
E pō i tukituki!
E pō i taitai e!
Which apparently translates as "at night up high," "at night, thrusting."
The tune was strong enough that it was taken over by Girl Scouts. And since no one knew Maori, they didn't know what they were singling. In English, after all, it's nonsense. But I wonder what happens when one tells a camp counselor the real meaning.... - RBW
Last updated in version 6.3
File: ACSF144E

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