boogaloo roots?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Mar 28 01:07:04 UTC 2007

> From what I have gathered so far, the following traces some of this history:
>1) "boogaloo" is most likely a derivation of boogie-woogie

I don't know that this is substantiated (but I haven't looked into it).
Maybe it's from "boogie" + "loup-garou" for all I know.

>(and thus,
>a derivation of the West African "bogi" (dance).

I haven't seen any evidence in favor of this speculation (but I haven't
searched very hard either).

>Another etymologist suggested that there may also be a connection
>between "boogaloo" and the Santeria saint Babalu-Aye though he
>cautioned that link was more tenuous.

Any evidence? There are lots of etymology stories around, most of them
false (of course).

>2) The earliest application of the term "boogaloo" seems to center on
>boogie woogie pianist Abie "Boogaloo" Ames who, according to the
>Washington Post's obit, received that nickname in the 1940s. By the
>mid-1950s (as noted in the earlier ADS-L post), there was at least
>uses of the term again within the musical world.
>3) "Boogaloo" didn't emerge in a major way until the mid 1960s,
>starting with Tom and Jerry-O's "Boo-Ga-Loo" from 1965 but there's
>considerable confusion as to where they got the term from. From what
>I've found, it's possible they took the name of their song from an
>existing dance (rather than the other way around) which opens the
>question of who invented the dance known as boogaloo.
>If anyone has any information on uses of "boogaloo" that predates
>Abie Ames, I would appreciate potential leads.

Here's an early instance ... not very enlightening etymologically though.


_Lethbridge [Alberta] Herald_, 30 Oct. 1939: p. 4:

[quoted from "Time Magazine": letter from Darien GA]

<<I like the explanation of this war given by "Boogaloo" a happy-go-lucky
Negro as he talked with my husband.>>

[remainder is about the war]


-- Doug Wilson

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