Paula Larke was born in North Carolina and received her professional theatre training with the New York Shakespeare Festival and with touring productions. She combines storytelling with her music and often performs songs and stories from traditional African-American culture.
Paula said she learned this song under the title “Willowbee” in North Carolina, but found that teachers and students in South Carolina knew it as “Zudio.” This is a traditional game song that incorporates specific movements to go along with the lyrics. To play it, students should line up in two facing lines. The two children facing each other are partners.
1. Have students do the movements along with the song. To begin, have them line up in two lines facing each other. The two children across from each other in the lines are partners.
2. Have students perform other songs that have movements to accompany them, such as “Ring Around the Rosy,” “London Bridge,” and “Hokey Pokey.” You can also teach them the “Little Johnny Brown” song and movements from the KET Dance Arts Toolkit.
3. Have students create a simple dance to another familiar folk song. (Ideas: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” or “John Henry.”)
4. There are four 8-beat phrases in this song and an irregular 12-beat ending. Many folk songs and folk dances have this 32-beat structure. Have students count along with the beats.