I'm afraid those nonsense 'burdens' (as they are known in Folk music) are pretty random chosen for their ease of singing and pleasant sound.
as an historical linguist, i find it likely that the hey down ho down, tra la tra li, fol the diddle ay dol type refrains have their origin in some far-distant pageantry, something like a precursor of heraldry, as a kind of identity feature of the people whose song it originally was, for use when converging on an annual fair, for example, or other rare event that might bring the various groups together.
i correlate the 'hey down ho down' refrains to an origin among hay and goose down or eider down traders. derry down is dairy produce and goose down. rye fol denotes the rye producers. toora loora is from old irish words for towers and books. even in the early u.s., *cow*boys' refrains included '*cow cow* yicky yacky yay' not fol the rol. (can't imagine what yicky yacky yay might have meant. american folksong shows a greater tendency to garble up half-remembered fragments and reconstitute them than i see in english or irish songs, although neither of them is entirely innocent, so perhaps it's just a mock-up.
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