Grateful Dead

Iko Iko

Lyrics By: Traditional
Music By: Traditional

(note 1)
Hey now (hey now)
Hey now (hey now)
Iko iko un day
Jockomo feeno ah na nay
Jockomo feena nay
[repeated twice]

My grandma see your grandpa
Sitting by the Bayou
My grandma see your granpa
Gonna fix your chicken wire (note 2)

My spy dog see your spy dog
Sitting by the Bayou
My spy dog see your spy dog
Gonna set your tail on fire

My little boy see your little boy (note 3)
Sitting by the Bayou
My little boy see your little boy
Gonna fix your chicken wire

My grandma see your grandma
Sitting by the Bayou
My grandma see your grandma
Gonna fix your chicken wire

First introduced into the Dead's repertoire in 1977, and played regularly thereafter. There are all sorts of variations on the lyrics, and what's below is only a sample. These are the lyrics from 2 September 1980 (Dick's Picks Vol 21). (1) the chorus is fragments of Cajun patois, with more or less phonetic spelling. You will often find "Jockamo" rather than "Jockomo" for example (and Andrew Katzenstein has suggested "Giacomo"). And you sometimes see "feeno ai nan" and "feenan." I don't believe there is a "correct" spelling. (2) "chicken wire" is what it sounds as if Jerry is singing (though on some other versions it sounds more like "chicko wiyo"). I haven't tracked this line down to any definitive "source" in other versions. Reg Johnsey came up with this explanation: The way country people celebrated Carnivale/Mardis Gras was to make conical masks out of chicken wire and decorate them, wearing them with costumes festooned with strips of cloth. So, the references to fixing someone's chicken wire sounds like a joking threat to mess up their masks, since part of the battle was how good the costumes were. (3) in some versions (eg 27 Feb 1990), Jerry sings "My marraine see your marraine" for this line. This is a line that Dr John sings as "My marraine see your parrain." "Marraine" is French for "godmother," though in patois it is often used for "grandmother." "Parrain" is godfather/grandfather. (thanks to Adam Wasserman for the explanation)

Iko Iko