Friday, September 14, 2012


"Our Jesus Chamorro"

Tonight there will be a tribute to an icon in Chamorro-language radio, Jesus Chamorro.

Jesus invented the phrase "oba skoba," with which he often ended a joke or witty remark.

"Oba" is a Chamorro pronunciation of "over," as in "over the top" when we tell a joke.

"Skoba" is actually eskoba, the Chamorro word for "broom," which we borrowed from Spanish escoba.

We like to pair two unrelated words that sound the same.  We do the same in English, as in "see you later, alligator."

I used to listen to Jesus Chamorro's radio show growing up in the 70s.  He really did a lot to promote the language.  I learned a lot of words and phrases just by tuning in.  Some of the songs he played that stand out for me are "O Marikita" by Saralu because it reminded me of my grandmother, who was called Mariquita; and the Pepsodent/Kanta Babue song ("I wonder where the yeller went") and "Ga'-mo teddy bear" and "I'm moving on."  Yes, lots of English there but the singers would put 90% of these songs into Chamorro and keep an English refrain.

Didn't Jesus have a sidekick named Wolford?

But NOT ours
(He's from Spain)

Because Chamorro is also a Spanish last name, there are many people called Jesus Chamorro.  But they did nothing to promote the Chamorro language and music!


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