Ging Gang Goolie

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"Ging Gang Gooli(-e)" or "Ging Gang Goo" (below “Ging Gang”) is a gibberish song, widely spread around the world. It is popular among Scouts and Girl Guides.


The Niggers' Morning Song. From p. 21 of the program for a 1905 New Year's cabaret. The Nig--rs' Morning Song (Hinkan, koli, Ging Gang Goolie) - Illustration.png
The Niggers' Morning Song. From p. 21 of the program for a 1905 New Year's cabaret.


In 1905 the song, with Scandinavian spelling of the gibberish, was presented at a New Year’s cabaret in Gothenburg, Sweden. [1] [2] The lyrics and the melody were presumably derived from student singing in Central Europe. Robert Baden-Powell is often quoted as the originator of the song, but there is no evidence that he was involved in its creation nor its introduction. After early adoption by the Scandinavian Scout organisations, the song became eventually (starting in the 1940s and 1950s) a global hit among Scouts. The 1905 lyrics:

Hinkan, kolikolikolikolifejsan / Kinkan koh, kinkan koh
Hinkan, kolikolikolikolifejsan / Kinkan koh, kinkan koh
Ava, illa shava / O illa shava / Kolifejs!
Ava, illa shava / O illa shava / Kolifejs!
Tjolafalla, tjolafalla!

Phoneticized to English (earliest documented version 1952; many other variations in spelling and phonemes exist):

Ging gang, goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha / Ging gang goo, Ging gang goo
Ging gang, goolie goolie goolie goolie watcha / Ging gang goo, Ging gang goo
Heyla, heyla sheyla / Heyla sheyla / Heyla, ho!
Heyla, heyla sheyla / Heyla sheyla / Heyla, ho!
Shallawalla, shallawalla! / Shallawalla, shallawalla!
Oompah-oompah! / Oompah-oompah!

The Nig--rs' Morning Song. From p. 21 of the program for a 1905 New Year's cabaret. The Nig--rs' Morning Song (Hinkan, koli, Ging Gang Goolie) - Music and lyrics.png
The Nig--rs' Morning Song. From p. 21 of the program for a 1905 New Year's cabaret.


In 1969, a version was recorded by British comedic group The Scaffold. Released as a single, "Gin Gan Goolie" reached number 38 on the UK Singles Chart. [3]

In 1991 Dorothy Unterschutz, a Canadian Scout Leader from Edmonton, wrote a dramatization of the song in the form of a tale named "The Great Grey Ghost Elephant". It was published in Scouts Canada's "The Leader" magazine in the 1991 June–July Issue (p.7). The tale has also become a hit. [4]

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  1. Engdahl, Axel (1920). "12 (Axel Engdahls jubileumsalbum 1895-1920. Axplockning ur författarens revyfabrikation, page 12, Nxxxxx- morning - song)". (in Swedish). Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  2. Engdahl, Axel (1905). Fru Lundins inackorderingar eller den nyaste kinematagrafen : Folkteaterns nyårsrevy 1905 ("Mrs. Lundin's Lodgers, or The Newest Cinematograph" by Axel Engdahl: New Year's cabaret 1905 at the Folkteatern): download of the entire original cabaret brochure from 1905 (60 MB), ref. the cover page for location and year, and page 21 in the actual brochure for the song (digitized page 25/31).
  3. Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 680. ISBN   0-00-717931-6.
  4. "a true-to-original variant". Scouting Resources UK. Retrieved 2015-05-23.