top of page

Iko Iko


Written by Rosa Lee HawkinsBarbara Anne HawkinsJoan Marie JohnsonJessie ThomasSharon JonesMarilyn JonesJoe Jones
Produced by Cyndi Lauper & Lennie Petze
Executive Producer: David Wolff
Engineered and mixed by Brian McGee
Additional mixing by Jason Corsaro
Arranged by Cyndi Lauper, Lennie Petze & Jimmy Bralower
Linn Drums: Jimmy Bralower
Bass Synth: Peter Wood
Additional Head Sounds: Jon Goldberger
Percussion: Lennie Petze & Jimmy Bralower
Background Vocals & Jam Box: Cyndi Lauper

Release Information


Following is the "Iko Iko" story, as told by Dr. John in the liner notes to his 1972 album, "Gumbo," in which he covers New Orleans R&B; classics. I suspect that, like me, Cyndi was a huge fan of this album when it came out. Highly recommended.

"The song was written and recorded back in the early 1950s by a New Orleans singer named James Crawford who worked under the name of Sugar Boy & the Cane Cutters. It was recorded in the 1960s by the Dixie Cups for Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller's Red Bird label, but the format we're following here is Sugar Boy's original. Also in the group were Professor Longhair on piano, Jake Myles, Big Boy Myles, Irv Bannister on guitar, and Eugene 'Bones' Jones on drums. The group was also known as the Chipaka Shaweez. The song was originally called 'Jockamo,' and it has a lot of Creole patois in it. Jockamo means 'jester' in the old myth. It is Mardi Gras music, and the Shaweez was one of many Mardi Gras groups who dressed up in far out Indian costumes and came on as Indian tribes. The tribes used to hang out on Claiborne Avenue and used to get juiced up there getting ready to perform and 'second line' in their own special style during Mardi Gras. That's dead and gone because there's a freeway where those grounds used to be. The tribes were like social clubs who lived all year for Mardi Gras, getting their costumes together. Many of them were musicians, gamblers, hustlers and pimps."

(This comes from David Cederstrom)



My grand-ma and your grand-ma were

Sit-tin' by the fire. - My grand-ma told

Your grand-ma: "I'm gon-na set your flag on fire."--



Talk-in' 'bout, Hey now ! Hey now ! I-KO, I-KO, un-day

Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né. - Jock-a-mo fee na-né.-


Look at my king all dressed in red.-

I-KO, I-KO, un-day. I bet-cha five dol-lars he'll kill you dead.--

Jock-a-mo fee na-né


(Repeat Chorus)


My flag boy and your flag boy were

sit-tin' by the fire. - My flag boy told

Your flag boy: "I'm gon-na set your flag on fire."


(Repeat Chorus)


See that guy all dressed in green ? -

I-KO, I-KO, un-day. He's not a man;

He's a lov-in' ma-chine.--

Jock-a mo fee na-né.--


(Repeat Chorus)


© 1964 Arc Music Corp., Melder Publishing Company and Trio Music Co., Inc.

(adm. by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.) (BMI)

All Rights Reserved

bottom of page