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Louis Armstrong — Skokiaan (South African Song)
Album: All-Time Greatest Hits
Avg rating:
8.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1730









Released: 1954
Length: 4:55
Plays (last 30 days): 0
Oh, far away in Africa
Happy, happy Africa
They sing a-bing-a-bang-a-bingo
They have a ball and really go
Skokiaan, Skokiaan, Skokiaan

Oh, take a trip to Africa
Take any ship to Africa
Come on along and learn the lingo
Beside a jungle bungalow
Skokiaan, Skokiaan, Skokiaan

Hot drums are drumming, the
Hot strings are strumming, and
Warm lips are blissful, they're
Kissful of Skokiaan

Oh, when you go to Africa
Happy, happy Africa
You live along like a king-o
Right in the jungle bungalow

Hokey-Skoki, Skoki-oki-aan
Okey-Dokey, anybody can
(Skoki-Skoki) man, oh man, oh man
You sing a-bing-a-bang-a-bingo
In hokey-pokey Skokiaan
Skoiaan

Oh, far away in Africa
Happy, happy Africa
They sing a-bing-a-bang-a-bingo
They have a ball and really go, go, go
Oh, take a trip to Africa
Any ship to Africa
Come on along and learn the lingo
Beside a jungle bungalow

Hot drums are drumming, the
Hot strings are strumming, and
Warm lips are blissful, they're
Kissful of Skokiaan

Oh, if you go to Africa
Happy, happy Africa
You live along like a king-o
Right in a jungle bungalow
Skokiaan, Skokiaan, Skokiaan, Skokiaan
Oh, right in a jungle bungalow
Skokiaan
Comments (307)add comment
De man makes that brass horn quiver!!  
Interestingly (questioningly?) my nifty, new cell phone which can identify songs it hears (scary!) identified this (before the lyrics started) as "Ain't Wasting Time No More" by the Allman Brothers.

Not familiar with that song so I'll have to do some investigation work.

Stay tuned!
 niseywee wrote:
Love me some Louis Armstrong, particularly Skokiaan. Thank you!  Kinda off topic, but, would love to hear some Garifuna Collective sometime in the RP rotation 
 
Lovin the Satchmo!!

trivia: Satchmo was his nickname from folks saying he had to have a Satchel (a horse feed bag) Mouth in order to blow like he did.
Read the comments - what a happy collection of funsters!!  
Love me some Louis Armstrong, particularly Skokiaan. Thank you!  Kinda off topic, but, would love to hear some Garifuna Collective sometime in the RP rotation 
And yet another example of why RP works!
Where did you all come up with this?

Cool stuff. New stuff. Syncopation stuff.
In the early days of my listening to.RP this used to come on a few times a month. Glad it's been a while. Still sounds great.
 bobcouch wrote:
Satchmo, an American music legend! Great stuff.
 
New Orleans named its airport after him.
Satchmo, an American music legend! Great stuff.
This is on the delightful Imposters soundtrack, and suits it perfectly...
As fun as it is ironic.
More like this!  {#Bananasplit}
this is a GREAT song...so fun
  okey dokey.. {#Cheesygrin}
Oh yeah!!   {#Dancingbanana_2}{#Drummer}
{#Drunk}

skokiaan

An illicit home-brewed alcoholic drink made from yeast, sugar, and water.

Origin
Perhaps from Zulu isikokeyana 'small enclosure', referring to the practice of hiding illicit liquor in holes in the ground.


Doing housework to RP - and this set feels like I'm in a Woody Allen movie. 
 thewiseking wrote:
At a time when Coltrane, Parker, Dizz, and Miles were blowing the doors off Jazz, poor old Satch was engaged in this Tom Foolery. It sold.

 
  Perhaps, but were it not for Armstrong opening countless doors for those guys (Gillespie and Davis in particular), they would not have even been allowed to walk through the doors that they would eventually be blowing off.
next stop Nawlins
At a time when Coltrane, Parker, Dizz, and Miles were blowing the doors off Jazz, poor old Satch was engaged in this Tom Foolery. It sold.
Louis Armska
Smokie smokie smokie dopie:^ )
 hallogallo wrote:

So cool ...


Kind of truncated ... but it is very nice to be exposed to African-US cross-pollination from the 50s ...

(there are probably hundreds of versions of this song, but the 'real' Louis Armstrong version is closer to 5 minutes long and includes some Armstrong vocals)

 
I guess Bill changed the record, because I hear Louis sing the entire song.
I really really like it. 9 from this 1982 product. 

Edit: I was wrong. The mentioned lyrics are not all sung in this track. I request the entire song!
I love this.
Good - but I prefer dirty Iggy!
What a strange wonderful song. 
Always makes me want to go to Happy Happy Africa; if only that were possible now.  

Thanks
 

So cool ...




Kind of truncated ... but it is very nice to be exposed to African-US cross-pollination from the 50s ...

(there are probably hundreds of versions of this song, but the 'real' Louis Armstrong version is closer to 5 minutes long and includes some Armstrong vocals)




 msymmes wrote:
I think this is very articulate...
 

kingart wrote:
Time capsule brilliance! A tune from the trumpet-playing band leader that a number of musicians, great in their own right, have said is the greatest musician in American history. That may be a bit exalted, but it may not be overly stretching it either. 

 



 
Opinion, of course, but hard to argue with the idea that he managed to both originate and transcend genres over multple decades and remain the top paid performer during his long, long life. It's a feat not matched by anyone else so, yes, it's probably not hyperbolic to say that he was the greatest of all time. 
Old Loui! oh man, Bill, you just made my day... Thanks!{#Sunny}{#Bounce}{#Roflol}
How about some Hugh Masakela?  Amazing South African trumpeter/musician/avctivist...
I think this is very articulate...
 

kingart wrote:
Time capsule brilliance! A tune from the trumpet-playing band leader that a number of musicians, great in their own right, have said is the greatest musician in American history. That may be a bit exalted, but it may not be overly stretching it either. 

 


I tried some of this stuff in Mozambique last Fall. It was not disgusting, until I discovered that the women who fermented the skokiaan  (it tastes more like a beer with high alcohol than true booze, milky and slightly sticky) used spit to start the process.

Needed this music then.


 jmkate wrote:
Chairdance, everyone!

 
You caught me!
My Dad would have approved of this, highly. RIP Dad, I miss you so very much.
Oh, thank you. This is so joyful and makes being up super, super-late for an asinine reason a little better...
This was used in the movie "Impostors"  (Oliver Platte & Stanley Tucci). A comic gem if you ever get to see it.  Two would be actors stow away on an ocean liner to avoid the law. Of course they are innocent and of course their accuser shows up as a passenger. Comic mayhem involving disguises, egos, and sub plots follows. Find it if you can, it is on dvd.
Lovely music.
Time capsule brilliance! A tune from the trumpet-playing band leader that a number of musicians, great in their own right, have said is the greatest musician in American history. That may be a bit exalted, but it may not be overly stretching it either. 
Terrific.
Chairdance, everyone!
{#Music}  Music to my ears.  Love it.

Loouie!!!
Don't think so - this seems to have been recorded in August 1954

 
suesblues wrote:
is this a cover of a Miriam Makeba song?
 


 suesblues wrote:
is this a cover of a Miriam Makeba song?
 
Wiki says:

"Skokiaan" is a popular tune originally written by Rhodesian musician August Musarurwa (d.1968) (usually identified as August Msarurgwa on record labels) in the tsaba-tsaba big band style that succeeded marabi. Skokiaan (Chikokiyana in Shona) <1> refers to an illegal self-made alcoholic beverage typically brewed over one day that may contain a dangerous ingredient, such as methylated spirits.<2><3> The tune has also been recorded as "Sikokiyana," "Skokiana," and "Skokian."

It goes on to say the song has been covered many times.

This is SO great!
I'm doin' that dance Ferris Bueller did to the theme from "I Dream of Jeannie."  {#Roflol}{#Bananasplit}
is this a cover of a Miriam Makeba song?
Damn Bill.............. you certainly know how to mix it up {#Roflol} Thanks!

can't remember when I last heard this one, but it was probably on my dad's vinyl. Great choice, thanks. Terrific song by a terrific man.
7>8 when the lyrics kicked in :-)
This is so far from my normal choice in music but I don't care, I love this song.
After what I've learned about this song, and about Satchmo, I truly wish my father was still alive - he'd have LOVED to know this stuff, as he was a big Louis Armstrong fan.

I have fond memories of many Louis Armstrong appearances on the Jack Benny Show. (Yeah, that dates me a bit.) What a personality. Just one really cool dude.

Love Satchmo!
Sundown in Germany and this part of happy music. Great Satchmo
Another great choice here on RP!!!
No, no, this is what the 10 rating is for, right here.
It was fun to hear this tune pop up in the series premiere of HBO's Treme.
{#Dancingbanana_2}

Just so fine
I am not a fan of big band sound, but armstrongs voice and playing makes it nice!
 BoynHill wrote:

This made me smile as soon as it started. Had to have a look who it was, and glad to see i'd previously rated it a 9. {#Dancingbanana}

 
OK, you've convinced me. 8 -> 9.

Great fun and makes me happy. 
AdyMiles wrote:
awful. i don't know what people 'hear' in music like this
Louis would have recommended (as he did to the Queen):


"Satch says, ‘Leave it all behind ya!'"


I'm not one for Big Band, but this one is undeniably fun.
 rjwarwick wrote:
Sweet jesus, Bill— you might as well play this once a week!  You kill me with your OVER-PLAYED songs!
 
heaven forbid!

This is SO COOL !!!!!!

This made me smile as soon as it started. Had to have a look who it was, and glad to see i'd previously rated it a 9. {#Dancingbanana}


 WonderLizard wrote:
"Glazer's unwitting condescension seems to have been lost on Louis Armstrong..."

I'm bothered by this if only because I don't think Louis ever missed anything. My guess, and it's only a guess—which is just as valid as the Wikipedia writer's guess—is that Louis knew exactly what "skokiaan" was/is and ...
 
Right on. Louis Armstrong was very smart, and his public persona was just that, a persona. No doubt he was well aware of the history behind the song. Maybe he performed it as a slap in the face to the racists who actually believed the stereotypes, who knows? Taking an insult and appropriating it as your own is not without precedent.

Love the song. And enjoy learning more about its background: finding out stuff like that adds immeasurably to the listening.

 ginniet wrote:
This is another example of something I would never hear if I didn't listen to RP.  Thanks again, Bill!

{#Clap}
 


Exactly why I listen every day
Just FYI, "skokiaan" is basically African moonshine.

 calypsus_1 wrote:

Louis Armstrong by ~mercurium
©2006-2010 ~mercurium

Tools: pencils (2H-3B)
Original size: 15x17 cm
Time spent: 8 h


 


Nice, very nice
...this is an almost farcical contrast to rachael yamagata's elephants, which was the last song information page i had open before this played...
Fun!

Louis Armstrong by ~mercurium
Elina   ©2006-2010 ~mercurium

Tools: pencils (2H-3B)
Original size: 15x17 cm
Time spent: 8 h




How about a version of Tico Tico !
Let's hear it for the great Louis Armstrong!
I love how my late mother's favorite music is played here....this, Cab Calloway, on and on!! timeless, choice stuff!!!
Satchmo Rooools!!!!
My absolute favorite Louis Armstrong tune and that my friends is saying something!!!  10!!!!!! 20!!!!!! No, 99!!{#Bananajam}
This is another example of something I would never hear if I didn't listen to RP.  Thanks again, Bill!

{#Clap}
{#Dance}
What a classic!!  ...always gets my toes tappin'.
 raewah wrote:

Maybe you ought to find a different station...one that plays Britney Spears?
 
Rather than dish an insult to both AdyMiles and Britney Spears, say what you like about it.
 AdyMiles wrote:
awful. i don't know what people 'hear' in music like this
 
Maybe you ought to find a different station...one that plays Britney Spears?
Radio Paradise continues to impress and entertain me, Although some people complain about some repetition, I'm blown away by the many, many, fantastic tracks and the excellent segues.
Thanks Bill, if only all radio were as good as this.
awful. i don't know what people 'hear' in music like this

Great song! My favorite song of his...
Sweet jesus, Bill— you might as well play this once a week!  You kill me with your OVER-PLAYED songs!
It`s 6:24 a.m Sunday , and I just logged on and Bill is serving up this gem .

I fear my day will be going down-hill from here on in . 
Brilliant!!! 10! {#Dancingbanana}
Louis is not "godlike"; he IS a god.
10+
 OZA wrote:
This always reminds me of the end of Slacker as well. Great flick.
 


The end of this one, too.... good stuff all 'round.

Satchelmouth gets a 10!

Gotta love that jungle bungalow.
I was feeling a little down and droopy until this came on.  Thank you for making my afternoon (again), Bill! {#Bounce}

"Glazer's unwitting condescension seems to have been lost on Louis Armstrong..."

I'm bothered by this if only because I don't think Louis ever missed anything. My guess, and it's only a guess—which is just as valid as the Wikipedia writer's guess—is that Louis knew exactly what "skokiaan" was/is and performed the song with a determined, teeth-clenching irony like The Drifters did with "White Christmas." Why did he do it? Why did The Drifters do "White Christmas?" Don't know. There's a lot of truth to the notion that around then black performers in general had to do a lot of stuff they didn't like in order to do what they wanted. Louis's career hadn't quite risen yet to the point that he was embraced as an international ambassador—that would happen later—and like a lot of older, black jazz players, he was looking for ways to connect to a post-War audience. His Wiki bio is curiously empty between 1949 amd 1964—perhaps telling. Finally, the song reached its height of popularity in 1954, and Louis's version is just one of many, a fairly common phenomenon then. Someone records a hit which first breaks regionally. Then all manner of folks get into the act, either trying to corner another regional market or get lucky and break it nationally. If the Wiki article's facts are correct, Louis's version wasn't even close to being the most popular/best selling.

 garthwb wrote —" Perhaps you'd rather they were all malnourished, had flies buzzing around them, and were thouroughly depressed! "

 Well yes, Cincinnati is over the top, but they always seem to pull through. It's the Great American Dream that keeps them in the saddle. ....  SOB
 Ag3nt0rang3 wrote:


But few are so successful as Americans.
 

Very true. Our governement and economy are collapsing around our ears and all we can think of is who's going to be the next American Idol. {#Rolleyes}
Boy did I need this song! Louis makes me happy when I'm not. What a great entertainer and a real human being. :)
CLASS ACT FROM WAY BACK...# 1 on the tooter and etc in my Mind and music and the movies too (High Society) Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra,Celest Holmes, Bing Crosby.....great show
garthwb wrote:
To all those who think Africa is so unhappy... Poppycock, I say! ...-SNIP-... Africa does not conform to your stereotypes!
Holy Sheep Dip! An original viewpoint and an optimistic one at that! Are you sure you're on the right chat board? :eyes: :clap: Just on the song's merits, I kind of like it. It's dated and simplistic, sure, but it has charm and you can dance to it.
To all those who think Africa is so unhappy... Poppycock, I say! I was born, bred and buttered there, now livng in Europe, and I can guarantee you there are a great many happy people there. They could, perhaps,have things better, but they make do... Like all of us! Judge not, and remember, everything's relative! About 90% of my happy memories are tied up to that beautiful continent. Perhaps you'd rather they were all malnourished, had flies buzzing around them, and were thouroughly depressed! Africa does not conform to your stereotypes! I'm forced to live in Europe now, but I'd really rather be there, come what may!
The wikipedia article referenced below is very informative.
English lyrics were added in 1954 by American Tom Glazer for the Canadian group The Four Lads. Glazer is perhaps better known for his On Top of Spaghetti (1963). ... In line with the spirit of the times, Glazer's lyrics contain what Time arts columnist Richard Corliss describes as jovial "ethnographic condescension:" "Oh-far away in Africa / Happy, happy Africa / ...You sing a bingo bango bingo / In hokey pokey skokiaan." Ethnomusicologist Thomas Turino points out that Glazer's depiction of the jungle setting is far removed from the topography of Southern Africa. But its one-size fits all "tropical paradise" idea was typical of exotic treatments at the time for songs from Latin American, Asia, and Hawaii. Glazer's unwitting condescension seems to have been lost on Louis Armstrong...
The "jovial ethnographic condescension" makes this song near-unlistenable for me.
Alifreckles50 wrote:
great fun! makes me wanna mambo!
How was your mambo?
Skokiaan is a particularly potent homebrew sold in illegal "shebeens" in the townships around Johannesburg... And this is great township-style jive-jazz, from particularly the forties and fifties, wow, my nostalgia glands are working overtime!
This whole album is a 10!! :dance: :dance: :dance: Wonderful music - outstanding, simply outstanding lyrics. My favs are: - A Kiss To Build A Dream On - I Still Get Jealous
Ag3nt0rang3 wrote:
But few are so successful as Americans.
Nonsense. Oh, and this song sucks.
Goodrich wrote:
I think most people everywhere try to tune out unpleasant things.
But few are so successful as Americans.
That's nothing, you should listen to Armstrong's previous hit song "Skokiean"where he sings "Happy, happy Illinois". :rolleyes: rockasaurus wrote:
... I can't help but cringe every time I hear Louis sing "Happy, happy Africa"...
Deadwing wrote:
Also keep in mind the era that this song was recorded in. Most Americans didn't know anything about Africa really. They all probably visualized lions and giraffes and happy dancing natives in brightly colored costumes. Frankly I expect most Americans probably still think that way as we tend to tune out unpleasant things happening in other parts of the World. :cry:
I think most people everywhere try to tune out unpleasant things.
great fun! makes me wanna mambo!
spudboy wrote:
SLACKER!!!!!! :cheers:
This always reminds me of the end of Slacker as well. Great flick.
Deadwing wrote:
Also keep in mind the era that this song was recorded in. Most Americans didn't know anything about Africa really. They all probably visualized lions and giraffes and happy dancing natives in brightly colored costumes. Frankly I expect most Americans probably still think that way as we tend to tune out unpleasant things happening in other parts of the World. :cry:
Well said. Josephine Baker dancing around in a skirt made of bananas also comes to mind. c.
Great song. But having been to Africa recently, I can't help but cringe every time I hear Louis sing "Happy, happy Africa". There is very little about that continent that is happy.
Also keep in mind the era that this song was recorded in. Most Americans didn't know anything about Africa really. They all probably visualized lions and giraffes and happy dancing natives in brightly colored costumes. Frankly I expect most Americans probably still think that way as we tend to tune out unpleasant things happening in other parts of the World. :cry:
:good-vibes:
SLACKER!!!!!! :cheers:
jlind wrote:
Wikipedia comes to save the day: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skokiaan
Very interesting and certainly a report which takes the wind out of the sails of the Eternal Victim Bunch who immediately assume it to be a racist song. Now if they would just parse the word "niggardly" and discover that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the word nigger but which is condemned by the PC crowd anyway.
leathepea wrote:
Nirvana to this? Thats why I love RP!
Exactly my thoughts. :D
rgrace wrote:
He's either being extremely ironic or doing what his corporate masters told him. When this came out, Black musical artists were most definitely not in the mainstream. Consider the context in which this came out. Jim Crow was quite powerful then. Frankly, I wish he hadn't done this crap. If I remember correctly, Armstrong himself was extremely angry and conflicted about doing this stuff. Maybe someone who's more biographically knowledgeable could step up to the plate and inform us?
Wikipedia comes to save the day: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skokiaan
That's why this is the best internet radio!