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Run, Nigger, Run

anonimo
Lingua: Inglese

Lista delle versioni e commenti


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[Prima metà dell’800]
Una folksong di ignoto autore afro-americano la cui esistenza è già documentata in una raccolta di canti, il “White's Serenaders' Song Book”, pubblicata nel 1851.
Sulla melodia della popolare “Fire in the Mountains”.
Come gran parte delle canzoni popolari, anche di questa le versioni sono molteplici. Quella che contribuisco - dove le prime due strofe sarebbero originali, le seguenti interpolate e le ultime (indicate tra parentesi) sicuramente aggiunte in epoca più recente - è tratta da “American Ballads and Folk Songs” di John ed Alan Lomax, volume originariamente pubblicato nel 1934.
Tra le versioni, da segnalare quella risalente al 1927 del gruppo di Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers (testo trovato sull’imprescindibile Mudcat Café), che tuttavia sembra stravolgere l’originaria canzone afro-americana in una più adatta ai bianchi razzisti, considerati versi come “Run nigger run well you better get away/... / Some folks say a nigger won't steal / I caught three in my corn field / One has a bushel and one has a peck / One had a rope and it was hung around his neck...”



La canzone è inclusa nella colonna sonora del film “12 Years a Slave”, diretto nel 2013 dal regista londinese Steve MacQueen, dove si racconta la storia di Solomon Northup, talentuoso violinista di colore, che nel 1841, da uomo libero che era, venne sequestrato e ridotto in schiavitù per 12 anni prima di riguadagnare la libertà. Nel film il brano - accreditato ai Lomax - viene interpretato dall’attore Paul Dano, nella parte di John Tibeats, un violento e sadico guardiano della piantagione dove Solomon Northup è finito.



“Pattyrollers”, o “paddyrollers” o “patterrollers” erano termini, distorsioni di “patrollers” (a sua volta derivante dal francese “patrouiller”) con cui gli afro-americani indicavano i componenti delle “slave patrols”, le squadre che davano la caccia agli schiavi fuggiaschi, costituite negli Stati del Sud fin dall’inizio del 700 ed operanti fino alla fine della Guerra Civile. Su alcuni siti - anche sul beneamato Mudcat Café - qualcuno afferma che “paddy-rollers” deriverebbe dal fatto che le “slave patrols” fossero spesso composte da immigrati irlandesi, ma la cosa è totalmente priva di riscontri.

Come riportato nel volume di John ed Alan Lomax poc’anzi citato, “Just after the Nat Turner Insurrection in 1832 the Negroes were put under special restrictions to home quarters, and patrolmen appointed to keep them in, and if caught without a written pass from owner they were dealt with severely then and there; hence the injunction to 'Run, Nigger, Run, the Patter-roller Git You' to the tune of 'Fire in the Mountain' - vigorous and lively with more pathos than ever ‘Dixie’ carried, which it antedated many years...”

run
The day is done, night comes down
Ye are long ways from home--
Oh, run, nigger, run, patter-roller git you.

Yaller gal look and trine keep you overtime,
De bell done rung, overseer hallowing loud--
Oh, rull, nigger, run.


Do, please, marster, don't ketch me,
Ketch dat nigger behin' dat tree;
He stole money en I stole none,
Put him in the calaboose des for fun!

Chorus:
Run, nigger, run, de patter-roller ketch you.
Run, nigger, run! it's almos' day.
De nigger run, de nigger flew,
De nigger los' his Sunday shoe.
Run, nigger, run, de patter-roller ketch you.
Run, nigger, run! it's almos' day.

[and/or] Chorus:
Oh, run, nigger, run! de patter-roller ketch you.
Run, nigger, run! it's almos' day.
Oh, run, nigger, run! de patter-roller ketch you.
Run, nigger, run! it's almos' day.

Some folks say dat a nigger won't steal,
But I kotch one in my corn-fiel';
He run ter de eas', he run ter de wes',
He run he head in a hornet nes'!

De sun am set, dis nigger am free;
De yaller gals he goes to see;
I heard a man cry, "Run, doggone you,"
Run, nigger, run, patter-roller ketch you.

Wid eyes wide open and head hangin' down,
Like de rabbit before de houn',
Dis nigger streak it for de pasture;
Nigger run fast, white man run faster.

And ober de fence as slick as a eel
Dis nigger jumped all but his heel;
De white man ketch dat fast, you see,
And tied it tight aroun' de tree.

Dis nigger heard dat old whip crack,
But nebber stopped fur to look back;
I started home as straight as a bee
And left my heel tied aroun' de tree.

My ol' Miss, she prommus me
Dat when she die, she set me free;
But she done dead dis many year ago,
En yer I'm hoein' de same ol' row!

I'm a-hoein' across, I'm a-hoein' aroun'
I'm a-cleanin' up some mo' new groun'.
Whar I lif' so hard, I lif' so free,
Dat my sins rise up in front er me!

But some er dese days my time will come,
I'll year dat bugle, I'll year dat drum,
I'll see dem armies a-marchin' along,
I'll lif' my head en jine der song--
I'II dine no mo' behin' dat tree,
W'en de angels flock fer to wait on me!

[I run down to de ribber, but I couldn't get across,
I jumped 'pon a hog and thought he was a hoss!

As I was goin' through the fiel'
A black snake bit me 'pon my heel,
Dat serpent he did 'ceive a shock,
For de nigger's heel's as hard as a rock.

As I was passin' Wright's old mill,
My team got balked at de foot o' de hill.
I hollered to de driver, "Dat won't do;
I must shove an' so mus' you."]

inviata da Bernart Bartleby - 12/8/2014 - 19:11


ci arriva questa precisazione, che sembra un po' scritta da google translate ma comunque comprensibile, e promettiamo a Yvonne di controllare

Hi,

Ho trovato vostra pagina mentre cercavo parole di una canzone tradizionale “A bushel and a peck”. Volevo condividere con voi che c’e un grave errore nelle parole come vengono scritto sulla vostra pagina. La canzone non dice “one had a rope around his neck”. Dice invece “had a roass’n ear around his neck”. Cioe una panocchia di mais. Non una corda. Questo e importantissimo perche le parole sono molto commune e tradizionale, e sono repetute in tante canzioni tradizionali. Non ha il senso minacciante di linciaggo come voi e altri--che non hanno conoscenze della nostra cultura, musica, ed accento—l’hanno assegnato. Si tratta invece di un gioco di giovani, dove due persone devonno gareggiare per chi bacera quello che porta la panocchia.

Vi offro questa versione da Willie Nelson come esempio delle vere parole:


Spero che revaluterete quello che avete scritto, e farete la correzione, perche quell’ interpretazione sbagliato e stata disseminato da persone che cercano il male dove non c’e e di perpetuare idee false.

E spero che perdonerete il mio italiano, che certamente ha bisogno di miglioramento.

Con rispetto.

Yvonne Hart

CCG Staff - 22/10/2020 - 23:46


Premesso che si tratta di una canzone ottocentesca di tradizione orale, esistente in molte verisoni.

La versione qui contribuita NON riporta il verso incriminato.

Quel verso fa parte di un'altra versione, quella di Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers (Atlanta, Georgia, 1927), riportata su Mudcat Café al link ancora oggi attivo.

A quello stesso link nessuno dei tanti intervenuti riporta la versione suggerita da Yvonne Hart.

In ogni caso, è assolutamente chiaro come la canzone parli di neri fuggiaschi e dei loro persecutori e non di giochi amorosi tra giovani.

L'intervento di Yvonne Hart quindi non mi sembra molto centrato, ma merita senz'altro un approfondimento.

B.B. - 23/10/2020 - 09:34


Aggiungo che il verso riportato tra virgolette da Yvonne Hart (“had a roass’n ear around his neck”) NON dà nessun riscontro ad una prima ricerca su Google.
Ma verifico ancora.

B.B. - 23/10/2020 - 09:45


Il verso "And one had a roaster near tied around his neck" è di una canzone interpretata anche da Willie Nelson, ma scritta e composta nel 1960 da Cowboy Copas (1913-1963), celebre country songwriter.
Non c'entra nulla con l'ottocentesca "Run, Nigger, Run", mi pare...

B.B. - 23/10/2020 - 09:53


Ho come la sensazione che l'infuocata campagna elettorale statunitense abbia lambìto anche le CCG/AWS...

B.B. - 23/10/2020 - 11:37


Nel libro citato in introduzione White's Serenaders' Song Book non ho trovato il testo della canzone, in nessuna versione

Dq82 - 23/10/2020 - 12:26


La versione prodotta dal sottoscritto ben 6 anni fa è quella tratta da “American Ballads and Folk Songs” dei Lomax...

La presenza di una versione su "White's Serenaders' Song Book" (1851) è indicata su en.wikipedia con la (vera o presunta?) riproduzione della pagina da quella raccolta...

B.B. - 23/10/2020 - 14:16


L'attribuzione di en.wikipedia potrebbe essere scorretta.
Giusta è sicuramente quella della Library of Congress, nella collezione "America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets": testo su foglio volante ottocentesco.

B.B. - 23/10/2020 - 14:23


In realtà nel testo di en.wiki è citato il White's Serenaders' Song Book (1851), ma se si va alla nota il libro citato è American negro folk-songs di Newman Ivey White del 1928, nel quale effettivamente risulta

Dq82 - 23/10/2020 - 16:02


Ivonne Hart cita un'altra canzone con un testo completamente diverso probabilmente con la stessa melodia.

I went to a Turkey roast down the street
The people down there are eatin' like wild geese
So I'm on my way and I'm goin' back, Alabam

Talk about people havin' a lot of time
Eating up their chickens and drinkin' their wine
I'm on my way and I'm goin' back to Alabam

Now some folks say that a tramp won't steal
But I caught three in my corn field
And I'm on my way I'm goin' back to Alabam

Well, one had a bushel and one had a peck
And one had a roaster near tied around his neck
And I'm on my way I'm goin' back to Alabam

There comes Sal walkin' down the street
With the run down shoes tied on her feet
I'm on my way I'm goin' back to Alabam

When I get ready to leave this earth
I'm going back to my money's worth
And I'm on my way I'm goin' back to Alabam

Dq82 - 23/10/2020 - 16:17




Lingua: Inglese

Il testo del "foglio volante"
RUN, NIGGER, RUN! OR THE M.P. 'LL CATCH YOU.

De sun am set—dis nigger am free,
De colored gals he goes to see;
I heard a voice cry, "Run, dad, fech you!
Run, nigger, run, or de M.P. 'll catch you!

Chorus and repeat.

Run, nigger, run, de M.P.'ll catch you!
Run, nigger, run, tum a du daddle da!

Spoken. — Oh! you ought to seen me dressed dat day. I had a pair ob dese United States gaiters, hem-stitched behind, made ober at Blackwell's Island; and den I had on dat pink snuff-colored coat, and den I had on dat green white satin vest, together wid a hickory mahogany cane, wid a gold brass feller on de bottom. Oh! dar wasnt room enough dat day for me. I knocked de people off of de side-walk, and some of de time I got knocked off; but I got dar at last, and rung de bell. She opened the door; then hung my hat up on the floor. I set down by her side about an hour, telling her dat I lubbed her, when all at once she swooned ober in de chair, and exclaimed, "Look dar!" Says I, Whar? when I looked ober toards the door, and there was a white mans face, peeping fro de crack ob the door; at the same time he exclaimed, What, Mr. Bones?

Run, nigger, run, c.

Wid eyes erect, and head hanging down,
Like de sprightly hare before de hound,
Dis nigger streak it through de pasture,
Nigger run fast, white man run faster.

Spoken. — Well, I didn't zactly run; but I done some pretty tall walking. I went ober fences, fro fields, and I got drowned four times in the mud, an at last I got on the other side; an just as I passed the old corn crib, thar was a little boy come out from behind the crib, an he whispered in my ear, an told me to "What did he tell you to do, Mr. Bones?"

Run, nigger, run, c.

And ober de fence, as slick as an eel,
Dis nigger jumped—all but his heel;
De white man caught dat fast you see,
And tied it tight around de tree.

Spoken. —Yes, just like all the niggers, the heel is the biggest part ob the foot, an' just as I jumped ober the fence, he coch me by the heel, an held me fast, an sez, "I got you now." Sez I, I dont know bout that; so he took an tied it three or four times 'round the tree, an' then I tought I was a goner, when all at once something fell out of the top of the tree, cut off my heel, an at the same time it exclaimed What, Mr. Bones?

Run, nigger, run, c.

Dis nigger heard dat old whip crack,
But nebber stopped for to look back;
I started home as straight as a bee,
And left my heel tied round de tree.

Spoken. —Yes, there wur no time to stop an' look back then, kase I wur making bout a milemile an a halftwo milesthree miles ana halfor four miles to the minute. So ober the fence I went, knocked in the front door, upset the cook stove, spilt all the victuals ober the floor, scalded de old cook to deff, an knocked the old woman fro the front window ; den de old man got after me wid de broomstick, an ebery jump I took, he hollered out "What did he holler, Mr. Bones?"

Run, nigger, run, c.

inviata da Dq82 - 23/10/2020 - 16:32




Lingua: Inglese

La Versione dal film 12 anni schiavo, che poi è quella razzista degli Skillet Lickers (del resto nel film viene cantata come "worksong" da Paul Dano nei panni del sadico schiavista Tibeats)

Oh, run, nigger, run, well, the pattyroller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

Run, nigger, run, well, the pattyroller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

Nigger ran, nigger flew
Nigger tore his shirt in two

Run, run, the patty roller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

Nigger ran, ran so fast
Stoved his head in a hornets nest

Run, nigger, run, well, the pattyroller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

Nigger ran through the field
Black slick coal and barley heel

Run, nigger, run, the pattyroller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

Some folks say a nigger won't steal
I caught three in my corn field
One has a bushel
And one has a peck
One had a rope and it was hung around his neck

Run, nigger, run, well, the pattyroller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

Run, nigger, run, well, the pattyroller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

Oh, nigger ran and nigger flew
Why in the devil can't a white man chew

Run, nigger, run, well, the pattyroller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

Hey, Mr. Patty roller, don't catch me
Catch that nigger behind that tree

Run, nigger, run, well, the pattyroller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

Nigger ran, ran so fast
Stoved his head in a hornets nest

Run, nigger, run, well, the pattyroller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

Nigger ran, ran so fast
Nigger, he got away at last

Run, nigger, run, well, the pattyroller will get you
Run, nigger, run, well, you better get away

inviata da Dq82 - 23/10/2020 - 16:46


E quindi, alla fine cosa abbiamo concluso?

Mi pare che l'intervento di Yvonne Hart sia completamente fuori centro. Fa riferimento ad altra e diversa canzone.

Quanto a "Run, Nigger, Run", resta da stabilire se originariamente si trattasse di canzone "bianca" di celebrazione della "caccia al negro", oppure invece di una canzone "nera", di ambito "Underground Railroad", che poi successivamente i bianchi razzisti del sud fecero propria.

Se ho capito bene, per quanto comprendo certo americano ottocentesco...

B.B. - 23/10/2020 - 20:41


Volendo provare a sintetizzare quanto emerso dopo l'intervento di Yvonne Hart:

1) "Alabam" di Cowboy Copas, canzone del 1960, non c'entra proprio nulla, o assai poco, con l'ottocentesca "Run, Nigger, Run".
Spero che la prossima volta Yvonne Hart intervenga documentandosi meglio e non a sproposito, e soprattutto evitando nel tono di ostentare pretenziosa sicumera (chi se la cava meglio di me con l'inglese, provi semmai a tradurle quest'ultimo concetto).

2) Se a proposito di "Run, Nigger, Run" non si volessero tenere in considerazione i diversi interventi su Mudcat Café (a cominciare da 1 e 2), trattandosi "soltanto" di un forum di appassionati di folk music, allora suggerisco di fare riferimento a quanto riporta il ben più attendibile Smithsonian Institute / Folkways Records:

RUN NIGGER RUN
From "Virginia Mountain Boys: Old Time Bluegrass from Grayson and Carroll Counties, Virginia: Vol. 3"

IMPORTANT NOTE: This song contains derogatory language.

It first appeared as an African American folk tune in the antebellum South, sometime after Nat Turner’s Rebellion (1831) but before the American Civil War (1861-65). The lyrics describe an enslaved person who emancipates himself by running to freedom. The song also warns of “pattyroller” slave patrols that existed at the time, which would catch and punish runaways. As an African American folk song, the lyrics were often interpreted as empowering enslaved peoples to exercise their agency by fleeing their confines and spread knowledge about the dangers that may lie ahead if they try to escape slavery.

Run, Nigger, Run


In the late 1800s, the song began to appear on the American minstrelsy circuit, where it was re-interpreted by Euro-American performers. New lyrics occasionally cast the African American protagonist as criminal and incorporated the perspective of plantation owners. With the advent of recording technology, these versions soon reached mass audiences through radio play. Despite these developments, the original versions were simultaneously maintained among African American folk performers.


Throughout the twentieth century, musicians performed multiple versions of this song. As time progressed, pressure mounted to change the title and lyrics so that the N-word was eliminated. At Smithsonian Folkways, we have many examples of these versions in our collection, including “Run, Johnny, Run” (Bruce Hutton), “Run...Run / Mama Your Son Done Gone” (Elizabeth Cotten), “Run, Jimmy, Run” (Clarence Ashley), and “Run, Boy, Run” (Jim Smoak & The Louisiana Honeydrippers). The version featured here, performed by the Virginia Mountain Boys, is the only version in our collection that retains the N-word in the title and lyrics.

While we have no knowledge of the views or intentions of the musicians on this recording, we feel that the word—even considering this historical context—continues to contribute to discrimination and violence against black communities in the United States. Thus, while we leave it on our website so as not to erase this history, we have made it impossible to listen to it out of context by buying the track or streaming it alone.

B.B. - 24/10/2020 - 21:47



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