The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90351   Message #2045953
Posted By: Azizi
08-May-07 - 07:17 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
Hello, Bob & Jim, and others posting to this thread.

I'm still here! Thank God or thank whoever/whatever you call
The Force for that!

I can't resist "popping in and out of" Mudcat threads on children's rhymes, especially ones with parodies AND exchanges of cultural/historical information.


Thanks, Jim, for the suggestion to look up "Banjo Patterson" online. I'll do that ASAP! It will be a pleasure.


Btw, I learned "Kookaurra" in school-probabably elementary or junior high school {Atlantic City, New Jersey; in the early 1950s to the year 1960}.

This song definitely was taught to students by a teacher-probably the music teacher. It wasn't something that children learned on our own. I don't remember doing any movements when we sang that song-not even hand clapping. That's one reason why I know it was taught to us in school. And, unfortunately, I don't think we even considered making up any parodies of that song.

The words we sang were:

"Kookaburra sits in an old gum tree, Merry merry king of the bush is he, Laugh, kookaburra, laugh, kookaburra, Gay your life must be."


I think we were told that a kookaburra was an Australian bird. But I didn't know what a 'gum tree' was until reading this thread.

Unfortuantely, nowadays, since the meaning of the word 'gay' has changed in the USA to mean a person who is homosexual, singing "gay your life must be" would probably invoke snickers. By "snickers" I mean a quiet laugh, someone like giggles, but much more disrespectful. I don't mean the chocolate candy bars :o)

But seriously, in my opinio, the fact that children would laugh at the mere mention of what {they think} is a referent to an individual's sexual orientation doesn't speak well for our culture.

Fwiw, I think changing that line to "happy your life must be" would not only mess up the rhythm of the song, but it would also mean that adults were missing an opportunity to do some needed teaching about multi-cultural understanding & acceptance. But in today's educational system in the USA, a teacher might get fired for discussing the subject of sexual orientation...

Too bad.