Rukumbine (Rude Combine, Recombine [?])
DESCRIPTION: Jamaican patois: The singer asks how much Mother Cuba paid for her new shoes and hat. Train crosses a bridge "like a breeze," girl below "wash her chemise." Girl up a tree, boy below washing "khaki pants."
EARLIEST DATE: 1951 (Murray)
KEYWORDS: bawdy nonballad clothes
FOUND IN: West Indies(Jamaica)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Murray, p. 33, "Rookoombine" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Noel Dexter and Godfrey Taylor, _Mango Time - Folk Songs of Jamaica_ (Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 2007), pp. 100-101, "Rukumbine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Jim Morse, _Folk Songs of the Caribbean_ (New York: Bantam Books, 1958), p. 91, "Rookoombine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Edric Connor with the Caribbeans and Earl Inkman, "Rookoombine" (on WIEConnor01)
Shenley Duffus, Rukumbine (1964, on Island Records 45 rpm WI-186 A, 1991, "Skatalites and Friends: Hog in a Cocoa," Culture Press CP 43 311-2 CD)
NOTES [206 words]: For an instrumental track listen to Carlos Malcolm and His Afro-Jamaican Rhythm, "Rukumbine" (n.d., on SON 45 rpm WORL-1). Chang and Chen, commenting on Malcolm and the Afro-Jamaican Rhythms's track, write, "'Rukumbine,' their most famous song, is an old Jamaican folk song with a countless number of bawdy verses." (Kevin O'Brien Chang and Wayne Chen, Reggae Routes: The Story of Jamaican Music (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998), p. 89). Perhaps, as a reference to "slackness" in an instrumental, the track introduction's second line ends on a sour note.
The description, based on Murray and Duffus, reflects couplets probably "cleaned up" by the singers. Morse adds two verses "in the spirit of the song," but they are about spending money in Kingston and drinking rum.
Dexter and Taylor add more innocent-seeming verses, with the most suggestive being "di coffee pon di fire an' di gyal a call mi liar, / So mi dip han' in she collar, hear di coward gyal a holler say: [chorus:] Rukumbine inna mi sampanteena ...." They translate "rukumbine" as "meaning unknown, but thought to refer to painful trouble of some magnitude" and "sampanteena" as "meaning unknown but thought to refer to some undefined part of the anatomy."- BS
Last updated in version 3.7
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 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.