Ching-A-Ring Chaw


I would like to share with you another one of Aaron Copland’s songs from his American folk songs collection.

Aaron Copland


The collection was written in two parts, the first set of five songs were arranged following a request from Benjamin Britten for his Music and Art Festival in Aldeburgh in 1950.  These songs were well received and so Copland decided to write another five in 1952.

Benjamin Britten


Last week I shared with you the lilting lullaby “The Little Horses” which came from the second set of songs so as a contrast I selected another song from the same set “Ching-A-Ring Chaw” as I liked the energetic nature of the piece.  When selecting the songs to sing together for a recital sometimes it is good to show a little contrast and variety.  I hope that you enjoy the recording.

Ching-A-Ring Chaw

Ching-a-ring-a ring ching ching,
Hoa dinga ding kum larkee,
Ching-a-ring-a ring ching ching,
Hoa ding kum larkee.
Brothers gather round,
Listen to this story,
‘Bout the promised land,
An’ the promised glory.
You don’ need to fear,
If you have no money,
You don’ need none there,
To buy you milk and honey.
There you’ll ride in style,
Coach with four white horses,
There the evenin’ meal,
Has one two three four courses.
Nights we all will dance
To the harp and fiddle,
Waltz and jig and prance,
“Cast off down the middle!”
When the mornin’ come,
All in grand and splendour,
Stand out in the sun,
And hear the holy thunder.
Brothers hear me out,
The promised land’s a-comin’
Dance and sing and shout,
I hear them harps a strummin.’

41 thoughts on “Ching-A-Ring Chaw

  1. Very happy and uplifting. Even if I suspect it has its roots in slavery hoping for a brand new day????? Could that be right?? Last night I was at a documentary film showing, about wild horses (brumbies) in Australia. I mentioned your “The Little Horses” to the lady next to me, and she knew it well. She kept humming it before the documentary started . . .

    1. Hi Gwen, as with many folk songs passed down from person to person the origins of this song go back to at least the early 19th Century. I found an article which referenced the Library of Congress website Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1820-1860 (U.S.A.) which gives the first noted publication date as 1833. Copland decided to alter the lyrics so as not cause offence and in doing so would have been considered ahead of his time in back in 1950’s.

      The meaning of the original lyrics were thought to have been associated with the then newly established Republic of Haiti following the overthrow of the French army by the slaves who lived there 1804. The promise of freedom, safety and a better life for those still living as slaves.
      Whatever the origins Copland through his adaptation has preserved a song that can be seen as uplifting and full of hope.

      Best Wishes

  2. What a delightful song with your beautiful voice on this cold wintery day in Canada! It has made my home warmer! 🙂 Thanks for sharing Charlotte!!

    1. Touch wood we’ve had it quite mild up to now this winter, I’ve seen some photos of all the snow on Janice’s blog and Jims these areas must be so much better able to cope with it.

      Best wishes

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