Songs to Know #11 - Missy-La, Massy-La

Missy-La, Massy-La is a delightful passing game originating in St. Lucia. It was collected by Alan Lomax, J.D. Elder, and Bess Lomax Hawes in the book "Brown Girl in the Ring - An Anthology of Song Games from the Eastern Caribbean." J.D Elder explains in this volume that " this version of the worldwide game may have orginated among the gold prospectors of Guyana - that modern El Dorado where the streams give up gold and diamonds to those courageous enough venture into the jungles and up the wild rivers. For many Caribbean folk a gold ring is not so much an item of decorative jewelry as it is a symbol of status and community prestige. To lose a gold ring is a near-tragedy and even may be employed to "find 'em."

Missy-la, massa-la

Missy lost her gold ring, go'way

Missy-la, massa-la

Missy lost her gold ring

You've (or I ) got to find 'em, find 'em, find 'em, find 'em,

Find 'em, let me see, la la la la,

Find 'em, find 'em, find 'em, find 'em,

Find 'em, let me see.

Children stand in a circle with a string/rope behind their backs. On the string is a ring. One child stands in the middle of the circle and closes their eyes while the ring finds a starting place. The child opens their eyes and the circle of children pass/pretend to pass the ring around the circle while singing the song. When the song ends, each child puts their hands together behind their backs while the center child has three guesses to see who has the ring behind their back.

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