I was thinking about the new title of my blog this weekend.  I was wondering how many people out there knew instinctively where the title originated from.  How many other people knew the song?  Where did you learn it?  And what version did you learn?

I just recently discovered that there are so many different versions.  Who knew?

So if you know this song…let me know.  Share with me where you learned it and what version you learned.  I think that’d be fun.

Here’s the version that was taught to me and my sister by my parents.  We used to sing it on car trips (both short  and long).  It’s a great memory for me.

Flea

(echo)

Flea, Fly

(echo)

Flea, Fly, Flow

(echo)

Kumalata Kumalata Kumala Vista

(echo)

No, no, no, not la vista

(echo)

eenie meenie decimeenie oohwa oohwa ameenie

exameenie cellameenie oohwa oohwa

(echo)

Beat Billie Oaten Doaten Do Watt A Ditten Datten Sshh

(echo)

 

 This one is ‘close’

 

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Comments
  1. lanxi says:

    I have no idea where I learned it (maybe girl scouts), but as soon as I saw the new title, I started humming it to myself. Mostly because I couldn’t remember any more of the words.

    • jo says:

      I learned this in the 6th grade in 1971 from our gym teacher. Your version is identical to the one I learned. Great stuff. D.

  2. Denise says:

    I learned it in girl scouts and the version I recall went…
    flea, flea fly, flea fly flow
    kumalata kumalata kumalata vista, oh no no no not la vista
    eenie meanie decimeanie oohwa chuwanna meanie
    exameanie xylameanie oohwa oohwa
    a be bittle lee oten boaten bobo ska ditten dotten hot chuwawa mmm mmm

  3. Ken says:

    I’m in my 50′s and learned it very young from my older sibblings and their freinds. The trick back then was to do the whole thing as fast as you could with only one breath. Fun times. How old is this thing? Does anyone know?

  4. Cristobal says:

    Jesus…

    This song is older than the hills. AND there is an AWESOME punk(ish) version of it with some rudimentary lyrics that go along with it. Ahem: “Every time I go to town, boys start kickin’ my dog around. And every time I go to sleep, they’re wakin’ me up with this crazy speak: Kumalata, Kumalata, Kumalata Vista. Noooo, no, no, no, not la vista. Decimeenie, xylomeenie, doowah-doowahnameenie, Exomeenie, xylomeenie, doowah, doo-WAH. (Followed immediately by an AWEsome guitar riff.) WHO KNOWS OF THIS SONG!?!? I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR THE CREATORS OF THIS SONG AND/OR A DECENT COPY OF THIS SONG FOR A DECADE!!!

  5. Audrey says:

    This “punkish” version used to lull me to sleep as a little girl for quite some time. I lost the tape it was on long ago and have been searching for a copy of it ever since! Friends would tell me it’s an old camp song and I would look at them like they were crazy since the only version of the song I knew had more lyrics and mad guitar riffs. I’m so glad to see there are other fans of this song. :)

  6. jill says:

    I learned a similar version in grade school it went like this

    kumalata kumalata kumalata vista,
    oh no, no no na vista
    einie meenie decemeanie oohwah oohwah a meanie
    einie meenie decameanie oohwah oohwah
    beat billie oten doten bobo enbeaten boten shhhhh

    We love it, we sat in a circle and sang it with moracas!

  7. Michael says:

    The “punkish” version is by a band called Guadalcanal Diary off their album Flip Flop. Great song!

  8. Anthony says:

    I love that song!! I learned it about 25 years ago at summer camp in WA called “camp cross”. It was a church camp but not strict. We would sing songs by the campfire every night before bedtime. Such great childhood memories. We also sang songs like “one tin soldier”. I’ll never forget those times!!

  9. Andrea says:

    I learned a different version at school in the UK about 15 years ago. At the end of each music lesson my teacher would gather us around the piano – she would play and we’d sing songs like this. I never knew what it was but it always stuck in my mind.

    Fee, Fi, Fee Fi Fo
    Kumala
    Vista
    Kumala Vista
    Kumala, Kumala, Kumala Vista
    Oh No No Na Na Vista
    Eenie meenie decimeenie ooh ah la eenie meanie
    Stacken dooken racken rooken rah rah rah

  10. Jill says:

    I learned it over 40 years ago from my sister and my 6 girl cousins in WI. Grandpa had to turn off his hearing aid when we were all at their house, which was often.

  11. KyoudaiDoushi says:

    This is the version my Mum taught my sisters and I when we were kids. After every line the second person echoes:
    —-
    Flea
    Flea Fly
    Flea Fly Flow
    Kumalata kumalata kumalata vista
    oh no, no not the vista
    Eenie meenie decimeenie ooh walawala meenie decimeenie solomeenie ooh walawa.
    Beat billie oaten boaten no boat but deeten datten shhhh
    —-
    It should be noted that the “shhhh” part continues on by the person leading it until the one(s) repeating it finish saying the last line as well. Kinda amusing for the kids as they tend to try and repeat the exact length of the “shhhh” that the leader does as well. We use to break down laughing by the end of it.
    It should also be noted that Mum used to break up the “Eenie Meenie” line into two parts, the second starting with the “Decimeenie” part as the whole thing was too long for us to even remember much less repeat back. As we got older being able to say the whole thing was sort of an accomplishment for us… though considering we were like 5 when we first learned it, that’s not all that surprising.
    Oh, and in response to Ken, I have no idea how old it actually is, but I learned it from my Mum and Mum learned it from Grammy (my Great-Grandmother), and Grammy learned it when she was a little girl in the orphanage. Grammy is also in her 90′s.

  12. Mary Bissell says:

    I learned my version at a church camp:

    Kumalata kumalata kumalata vista/Oh no no no not the vista/Eenie meanie eskameanie ooh walla walla meanie/Eenie meanie eskameanie ooh-wah ooh-wah/A beat billy oat boat no boat-a beat-a botten no boat-a beat-a botten bush uh-huh

  13. Judy says:

    Yes, I know the song! I was putting away leftover pizza tonight, and found myself singing “that’s a lotta that’s a lotta that’s a lotta pizza!”

  14. John Fischer says:

    Have known this cheer/chant since the 50′s.. I like all the variations! But they all are missing one line. Before “…beat billy ot’n dot’n” the line is:

    Bo bo ski watt’n dotten, what not’n chow…
    Beat billy oat’n doat’n bo bo b’deeten dotten, ssshhhhh

    or..
    Beat Billie Oaten Doaten Do Watt A Ditten Datten Sshh…
    as you have above.

    • the ME in Melissa says:

      thanks John. I have never heard it with that line it, but maybe I’ll try throwing it in the next time we sing this.

  15. Gary says:

    Wow. Just did a search because I found myself singing this song to my 18 month old son and realized that I’d learned from my older sister (who learned it in the Girl Scouts) when I was about 4…I’m now 46, she’s 53. Thought I’d see if I could learn its origins. Our version is a bit different (they all seem to be), and went

    Flea
    Flea Fly
    Flea Fly Flo
    Kumalata Kumalata Kumalata Vista
    Oh, no, no nosta vista
    eenie meenie decimeenie oohwa, a wahlameenie
    eenie meen decimeenia ooh wa, oo wa
    be billy oaten goat and no boast to giddiliac and shhhhhhh

  16. B says:

    I can date this back to 1972 at a Methodist church camp.

  17. libby says:

    A version of the song may be found on Folkway recordings from St. John’s Island, South Carolina, sung by African-American children. I am a teacher looking for different lyrics to this interesting rhyme!
    http://www.carnegiehall.org/honor/history/index.aspx

    • robyn says:

      Hi Libby
      I am also a teacher ( preschool) and this song is perfect for the kids………did you come up with any other simple repetitive clapping tunes that you could share with me
      Thanks and Cheers
      Robyn

  18. Janet says:

    i learned this in the 4th grade from my PE teacher………… she would start it off…………and go around the circle with each of us repeating it………. the one that repeated it correctly……… won………………. i won………….. because the PE teacher would let out a big sigh after she finished it…………..everyone else didn’t include the sigh…………… they couldn’t figure out why they weren’t winning……………….. God………………. that was 40 years ago. hahahahaha
    my grandchildren now sing it…………… have no idea what it means………..would love to know.

  19. Geren says:

    I learned (yet) another version in the Guides. Each line was first sung by the Guide leader and we’d repeat, all the while clapping out the beat…

    Flea
    Flea Fly
    Flea Fly Flo
    Vista
    Koomala, koomala, koomala, vista
    Oh, no, no, no not the vista
    Eenie Meenie, decameeni, oola, la walla meenie
    Exa meenie, zal-a-meenie, oola la wa!
    Beep Diddly oden boden, booba de aden dodum
    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  20. Melissa says:

    My mom taught it to me back in the early 60′s and she was NOT in scouting at all. She’s originally from TN.

    • Janice Crissup says:

      My best friend, Susan and I used to sing this all the time. We would sit on the sidewalk and do a clap crossing over and hitting each others opposite hands. Our words were similiar but a little different. It would have been around 1958. I do not know where we learned it but imagiine my surprise when my daughter starting do ‘claps’ wiith her friends, around 1985 and this song popped up in my mind out of nowhere! I taught it to her and she in turn has taight her daughter!
      Janice

  21. Ryan Kane says:

    I learned the song while a camp counselor at Camp Vermilion in Northeastern Minnesota – it went like this:

    Vee
    Vee-Vay
    Vee-Vay-Voh
    VISTA
    Kumalata, Kumalata, Kumalata Vista
    Oh, no, no, no-no, no Vista
    Eenie Meenie deci meenie, ooh walla walla meenie
    Deci Meenie Sala Meenie, ooh walla walla meenie
    Ish-Bibli-Oaten-Doten, Bobo-ske-deeten-daten Shhh – All right

    There was another version about frogs that I saw online and then one about Pizza that I don’t recall the last line to. The rest goes like this:

    Cheese
    Sausage
    Pepperoni
    PIZZA
    Eat-a-lotta, eat-a-lotta, eat-a-lotta Pizza
    Oh, no, not anchovy Pizza
    Little bitty fishies taste bad on a pizza
    Pizza tastes bad with little bitty fishies
    … (I wish I could remember or come up with something good)

  22. Shelby says:

    AWWWW! my mom taught this to me when I was little! We actually started singing it the other day just trying to remember it!! Good times :)

  23. Claire Rich says:

    I learned a version of it in elementary school in the early 70′s in Las Vegas.

  24. Skoren says:

    I learned the same song, only a bit different.

    It goes:

    Fee
    (echo)
    Fee fi
    (echo)
    Fee fi fo fum
    (echo)
    Kumala, Kumala, Kumala Vista
    (echo)
    Ayyyyy, ay no la vista
    (echo)
    Eenie meanie walla meanie, shoo-bop do-walla meanie
    (echo)
    Ip dibbity wobba-dobba shoo-bop do-wabba-dabba
    (echo)
    Vista!
    (echo)
    Vista!
    (echo)
    AYYYYYY!
    (echo)

    Yeah… a bit different.

  25. Josh says:

    I found your blog trying to figure out where to find this song.
    My version was a little more rockin.

  26. kat says:

    We did it as a repeat, while clapping our hands and patting our knees alternately. And I swear we did Abalaba kubalaba, not Kumelata. This was girl scouts, South Florida, late 70s.

    Abalaba kubalaba abalaba vista
    Na na na na na na vista
    Eenie meenie decimeenie oowah toowanameenie
    Eenie meenie decimeenie oowhah toowah
    Beat billie oten doten bo bo badeeten doten
    Shhhhh

    We also did a variation on a hand clapping game with the neighborhood kids, going faster and faster toward the end –

    Abalaba kubalaba abalaba vista
    Abalaba kubalaba abalaba vista
    You want it, you want it, you want it so bad
    And if you can’t get it, makes you mad
    Keep your eye on the ball for a cat named whiskey
    Oreo-bisco, San Franscisco
    National pom-pom

  27. kawthar says:

    i learnt this in school its sick

  28. Tim Howe says:

    My sister taught me this one in the 80′s but it ended something like this:

    Beep billy oden doden be bop badeeten doten slide slide gediddly ide.

  29. Aj says:

    We did ours at camp a little differently mainly in the end!
    Flee
    Flee Fly
    Flee Fly Flo
    Vista
    Kumalata Kumalata Kumalata Vista
    Oh, no, no no not the vista
    eenie meenie decimeenie oohwa, a wahlameenie
    edecimeenie xylameanie oohwa choohwa
    a beat diddly oten boaten oh boat shabatten beaten
    oh boat shabatten beaten YeeeeHaw

  30. angela says:

    we did this in select choir to warm up our voice and mouth….alont with mae me my mo moo…and mamma made me mash my eminems(m&m’s)…still do it to be silly to my kids…

  31. Matt Meyer says:

    We sang it at Camp Gailor Maxon in Sewanee TN. Great memory.

  32. lihue DAVID Dellinger says:

    I remember singing this song a long toime ago at a church summer camp in S.C. when I was thirteen. The version I remember is different. Ish billy oten boten bo bo badeetan doten wa na oosh is all I can remember but I do remember the good times we had trying to get right. Thanks for all the memories!

  33. Kit says:

    Just found this searching for my version of the song I learnt years ago, but my little niece taught me a different version…her’s goes like this:

    Fee (echo)

    Fee – Fi (echo)

    Fee – Fi – Fo (echo)

    Vista (echo)

    Kumala Kumala Kumala Vista

    Oh, o-oh, oh oh la vista

    Eenie meenie decimeenie you are the one-a-meenie

    Ip diddly oaten doaten dow row, sa-roeten doaten

    I actually like the addition of the ‘you are the one’ bit!

  34. mars says:

    Are you still taking replies? I cannot believe the words to this song are here. I am sixty and this is one of the songs I learned in girl scouts, but I remember it as Goumalata. Kinda like Chinese telephone, I am sure the words get confuled as so many people teach it. But the melody (chant) is still the same!

  35. Paul says:

    OMG! I thought I’d Google these silly lyrics I remembered as a child and come to see that this was a real song sung by so many kids! I learned it at a YMCA summer camp in FL around 1982. What I thought was so crazy actually had a real source, not simply my imagination. :-)

  36. Alma says:

    I’m from Sweden and I learned the song on a summer camp when I was about 7 years old. I dreamed about the song this week and didn’t remember all of the lines and I did some research and found your version of the song and mine is similar but I can’t remember the ending.

  37. Alex says:

    I learned the same version, where we’d speed up after every time we’d sing the song. I learned it at camp, and my brother loves it.

  38. emily says:

    I learned the song at camp. It went like this.

    Vista! (repeat)
    Koomalata Koomalata Koomalata Vista! (repeat)
    Oh no no no not the vista! (repeat)
    Inimini Decimini Oowalawalamini (repeat)
    Obo sqatin datin wat nat in chow (repeat)
    Eatin beatin idle didle espididle odledodle obo sqatin datin wat nat in chow (repeat)

    Then you keep going faster and faster until you cant any more.

  39. Cory says:

    We sang it at Sycamore Ranch Camp in Southern California, in Westlake Village 1973
    It was one of the campfire songs after dinner.
    It went like this:

    Flea!
    Flea fly!
    Flea fly flo!
    Vista!
    Kumala kumala kumala vista
    Oh no no no not tavista
    Eenie meenie estameenie oo ooanameenie Estameenie salameenie oo ah oo ah!
    Beep biddly oten boten bobo baditten dotten wotten totten shoooooooo weeeeeeee!

  40. John-tbone says:

    Where I come from this is a song we use to warm up our vocal chords for choir, and every time we sing a verse we take the melody up a step. Also, to start a verse someone has to call out a statement, like “if you have blue eyes” or “if you’re a junior” and if the statement applies to you you sing the first line, and if it doesn’t then you sing the echo lines. Our version is as follows:

    Kumala kumala kumala vista (echo)
    Oh, no no no not the vista (echo)
    Eenie meenie eximeenie oh wah, oh wah a meenie (echo)
    Eximeenie cellimeenie oh wah, oh wah (echo)
    Be billy oto, bobo ski boto, bobo ski boto, squady sha (echo)

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