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Several songs have been written about Dahomey and even a play produced with that name.
The poster announcing the London premiere of In Dahomey at the Shafesbury Theatre, 1903. The poster features the famous cake walk with Bert Williams, acclaimed comedian, at the top of the cake photo.
The real Dahomey was in Africa:
Dahomey (/dəˈhoʊmi/) was an African kingdom (located in the area of the present-day country of Benin) that existed from about 1600 until 1894, when the last king, Behanzin, was defeated by the French, and the country was annexed into the French colonial empire.
However, there is another Dahomey in Africa, near Casablanca. Though the name is there, I did not find any references to it. Just the Benin citing.
Harry P. Guy wrote "Daughters of Dahomey" and called it an 'Oriental Ragtime Waltz'. And, of course, Emile Grimshaw wrote "Fun In Dahomey", which may be referring to the play production.
Isn't that interesting?
Thanks Hal..very interesting! But I wonder why everyone chose Dahomey?
I would say that "Dahomey" was central to much discussion in 18th & 19th cent UK politics. Both the Brits and the French obtained their slaves via trade with the kings there and it was a lucrative, brutal business. Even after the UK stopped the slave trade, there were still financial ties to the area well into the mid 19th cent. By the turn of the 20th cent, it had become simply an exotic place-name. From reading about it, I can imagine that the man-on-the-street would have used the name as a generic for "someplace exotic in Africa" as well as a euphemism for "where black people come from". Much the same as "Ethiopian" or "Senegambian" (or Mexican or Dixie), each conjures a special milieu built of both myth and history.
Add to that: Dahomey is a great word for lyricists having three syllables and an ending in "y"...damn near as rhyming as you could ask for.
What rhymes with Dahomey? "At home he...."? "You owe me?" or am I pronouncing Dahomey wrong?
But I'm coming up blank with a rhyme for Senegambian". "swallowed an Ambian"?
Yes, you're pronouncing it wrong. Dahomey is pronounced "moon". ;-)
Anything with either "e" or "ly" will work. Really, you got to go all TPA on it...
can't you just show me
A girl, oh so lovely
down in Dahomey
where they go 'ohh me!"
I've got my left knee
hung on the hall tree
down in Da-hom-ey