Estray Bonajour Escravos de Jó

About 30 years ago, I met Richard Nessen, who taught me a game I thought was called "Estray Bonajour," and that the words were something like: "Estray Bonajour and a wannee, tashee ta, Cheeta, Voya Zigee Escaroo, Kayva, Kayva, kehaygeza, kehaygeza, keziggy, ziggy, za." I loved the game and dutifully taught it, year after year, exactly as I thought I learned it. Here, in fact, is me, doing that very thing:

 

I played it like this:

Each participant holds a shoe or object of similar heftin the right hand, and, as each line is chanted, passes the shoe to the right.

Estray

Bonajour

and a wannee

tashee tah

Estray

Bonajour

and a wannee

tashee tah

 

Chanting continues as participants pass the shoe to the right, again one pass per line

Cheetah

Voyah

Ziggee Escaroo

Kayvah

Kayvah

 

Still passing to the right, these lines are spoken, usually loudly, while shoe-passing continues.

Kehaygeza

Kehaygeza

 

Again spoken, rather than chanting. But here the shoe is not actually passed, but held on to, whilst placed first in front of the player on the right then in front of the player on the left, and finally released in front of the player on the right, whilst shouting "zah!".

Keziggy

Ziggy

Zah!

 

Repeat

Kehaygeza

Kehaygeza

Keziggy

Ziggy

Zah!

About thirty years later, I learned the actual game, and that, in the handing-down, it had become so significantly other than it should have been. I correct myself entirely, and present with similar aplomb, the Brazilian game "Escravos de Jó," played very much like this:

Each participant holds a shoe or object of similar thereto, in the right hand, and, as each line is chanted, passes the object to the right, while singing:

This is done twice.

 


Escravos de Jó
jogavam caxangá

 

 

Players lift the object , singing:

then put the object down, singing:

then shake their fingers twice at the object singing:

tira,

põe,

deixa ficar

 

Continuing to pass to the right two more times, chanting

guerreiros com

guerreiros fazem

 

And now, without letting go of their object, players put it in front of the player on the right while saying:

Then put it in front of the player on the left while saying:

Then put it in front of the player on the right, while saying:


zig

zig

za

 

Then, without stopping, they begin the second round, this time just humming. When the second round is finished, they continue the movement, but silently.

Sooner or later, someone makes a mistake. Tradition has it that that person is out for the rest of the game, the game continuing, the rounds going faster and faster, until only one player is left.

Played by children, families, and sometimes played by the college-inclined as a drinking game.

I, however, play it for laughs: starting over when someone finally makes a mistake, nobody ever getting called out.

Loosely translated from the Portugese: Slaves of Jo (or Job) played Caxanga. Take it out, put it back, leave it on. Warriors with warriors do zig zig za.

You may draw your own conclusions.

I've learned of similar games in Israel and Italy. In Israel, the game is called "Avanim Ovrot m'yad l'yad." In Italy, I was told of two similar games: "Salomé Son Letre" and a faster version called "Tu stai sem[re intorno ame." The game is frequently played with shoes and in the sand.

 

 

And yet, despite my best intentions to right wrongs and pepetuate only the ethnographically correct, I've decided, right or wrong, to continue perpetrating the very version I learned from Mr. Nessen all these many years ago, for the fun of it.