This classic song and updated video-version come from Editor Alina Celeste.
I don’t remember learning this song, I seem to have always known it. I’ve sung or hummed the melody once a day for most of my life, and I still love it. It’s a wonderful song to throw in during shows, because most people will know the melody and it lends itself so easily to improvisation. I’ve used it as a zipper song, as a movement song with instructions, and once, as a lullaby.
Shoo Fly Don’t Bother me was published in 1869 as “Shew! Fly, Don’t Bother Me: Comic Song and Dance or Walk Round”. It is most often attributed to T. Brigham Bishop. He wrote it, the story goes, while stationed as an officer in an all black regiment for the Civil War. While researching it, I was sad to learn that the original lyrics contain racist language. As a result, the version we all know today is actually just the chorus. This blog post has a lot to say about the song, and a long list of references for further reading on it.