John Kanaka

DESCRIPTION: Shanty. Characteristic line: "John Kanaka-naka, too-li-ay." The sailors describe how they will "work tomorrow but no work today!" Some details of their trip around the horn on a Yankee ship are given
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: sailor shanty work
FOUND IN: Barbados
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Hugill, pp. 288-289, "John Kanaka" (1 text, 1 tune) [AbEd, p.212]
Fahey-Eureka, pp. 50-51, "John Kanaka" (1 text, 1 tune)
ThompsonNewYork, p. 219, "(No title)" (1 short text, which lacks the chorus but has the same first line as the Maine version of this song; it is too short to classify otherwise)

Roud #8238
NOTES: "Kanaka" was a term applied to Hawaiian men. Whether this song is referring to that or to "Canucks" (French-Canadians) is obscure. - PJS
The term is used in Australia for Polynesians in general, especially those who worked in the Queensland sugar plantations. (It is said to mean simply "man.") I have to suspect that the song originally referred to the Polynesians, though of course northern sailors might have thought it meant Canucks. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.0
File: FaE050

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.