Sunday, December 2, 2012

“Hippy-Ti-Yo”

Taïaut / Taiyo (Tī yō) hound dog

Thought to have influenced the English “Tallyho,” which is a cry used to excite hound dogs when fox hunting.

The geneology of the phrase “Hippy-Ti-Yo” is complex. “Hippy-Ty-Yo,” “Hippy-Ti-Yo,” “Hippy-Tai-Yo,” “Hippitiyo,” “Les huppés taïauts,” “Tayeaux Dog Tayeaux,” and “Hip et Taïauts” are among some of the variations of the phrase and song. Origin of the phrase is suggested to belong to the Cajun and Black Creole cowboys of the Cajun Prairies, which extend west from Bayou Teche and the Vermillion river to the Calcasieu river. Lafayette is the largest city on the eastern border of the prairie, while Lake Charles is the largest city on the western border. East of Bayou Mermentau was corn and cotton land (due to soil type), while west of the bayou was ric
e and cattle land. Growing up in Evangeline parish, within the watershed area of Bayou Mermentau, I was surrounded by rice fields and cattle, however, when my parents were growing up, the land was used to raise cotton. The town of Ville Platte, county seat of Evangeline parish, has a cotton festival every October. So, land that was formerly used to grow cotton is now used to grow rice and raise cattle. Since the land is within the watershed, this would make sense, since it is sort of a transition zone from the land in the East to the land in the West.

Anyway, it is suspected that cowboys from Texas heard the phrase being used as they drove their cattle across the Cajun prairies to be sold in New Orleans (Kansas stockyards eventually became more popular). It is thought that such phrases as “Whoopie Ti Yi Yo!” found in the Western classic “Git Along Little Dogies (doggies?)” is derived from the exclamation “Hip et Taïaut” and its variations that were heard in the Cajun prairies.

Sources:
Bernard, S. K. (1996). Swamp Pop: Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues. University Press of Mississippi, MS.

Vidrine, M. F., Fontenot, W. R., Allen, C. M., Bosari, B., and Alain, M. (2001). Prairie Cajuns and the Cajun Prairie: A history. Proc. 17th N. A. Prairie Conference: 220-224, 2001.

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