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
EARLIEST DATE: 1977
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)
DT, JONKANAK*

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

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