Kemo Kimo

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X:1 T:Kemo Kimo M:2/4 L:1/8 K:D A|dddA|Bd A2|eede|fe e2| dddA|Bd A2|eede fdd:| |:faaa|daa>f|g>ef>d|e>f e/d/c/A/| dABA|dABA|e2 ed/e/|fd d2:|]

KEMO, KIMO. AKA and see "Polly Kimo," "‘Poly Won’t You Try Me O." American, Dance and Song tune; English, Air and Morris Dance Tune (2/4 time). D Major (Ford, Raven): B Flat Major (Scott). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Raven, Scott): AABB (Ford). A black-face minstrel song, popularized in England in the nineteenth century by the vocalist Sam Cowell.

In South Car'lina the darkies go
Sing song, Kitty, can't you ki'me, oh!
That's whar the white folks plant the tow,
Sing song, Kitty, can't you ki'me, oh!

Kemo, Kimo! Dar! Oh, whar?
Wid my hi, my ho, and in come Sally, singing,
Sometimes penny-winkle-lingtum, nip-cat.
Sing song, Kitty, can't you ki'me, O! ... [Ford]

Ford also prints the words to a blackface minstrel song to the same tune called "Polly Kimo" (Ford, 1940; p. 540).

The song appears to have origins in England, brought to the United States by settlers and later reworked into the minstrel song. The title 'Keemo Kimo' was an old English nonsense rhyme incorporated into the "kimo" burden of songs like the "Froggie Went a-Courtin'" family. One early Herefordshire version begins "Kemo kimo down to Cairo", for example. It received extensive development in American texts, especially African-American minstrelsy, and later was "cut loose" to form a different song. The song returned to England with the import of blackface minstrelsy and entertainers, and was popular from 1855-1860.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Ford (Traditional Music in America), 1940; p. 106 (additional verses on page 418). Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 154. Scott (English Song Book), 1926; p. 82.

Recorded sources: -

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