Chinook Jargon songs, part 1

Have you heard a version of this song?  Let me know.  (See also part 2, part 3 and part 4.)

As found in the second edition of a really authoritative collection with musical notation.  It supplies each song with plenty of background information (Philip J. Thomas, Jon Bartlett and Shirley A. Cox.  2006.  Songs of the Pacific Northwest.  Surrey, BC: Hancock House; pages 60-61.)

Like many ‘CJ songs’, this one is partly in English. (So we can call it doggerel too.)  The collector/editor glosses some of the Chinook words; I’ve expanded on those notes.

Seattle Illahee (I)


There’ll be mowitch     [venison]
And klootchman by the way     [woman]
When we ‘rive at Seattle Illahee     [place]


Row, boys, row!  Let’s travel
To the place they call Seattle
(That’s the place to have a spree!) AD LIB
Seattle Illahee


There’ll be hiyu clams     [plenty clams]
And klootchman by the way [women]
Hiyu tenas moosum     [lots of “little sleep”]
Till daylight fades away


Kwonesum kwonesum cooley     [always always running (or going)]
Kopa nika illahee     [at my living place]
Konamokst kapswalla moosum     [together steal “sleep”]
As the daylight fades away

As the accompanying notes mention, this may be one of the oldest Pacific Northwest folk songs.  It’s likely that the subject matter is the renowned Seattle ‘bawdy house’, the Illahee (mentioned in an earlier post on this blog).  The second and third verses refer pretty explicitly to sex (tenas moosum, kapswalla moosum).  As I read the third verse, it’s saying ‘[I] keep on, keep on moseying / to my [beloved] Illahee / [to] snatch some sex’.  The food references are imponderable.