The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122263   Message #2716753
Posted By: Mick Pearce (MCP)
05-Sep-09 - 10:50 AM
Thread Name: Upon a tree a cuckoo/Auf einem Baum ein Kuckuck
Subject: RE: Upon a tree a cuckoo/Auf einem Baum ein Kuckuck
In my early post I said that I thought I kept hearing the song in German in my head and today it finally came to me why.

In the mid 80s I was in Addis Ababa for a few years and in that time played a great variety of music. As well as a band (The Rift Valley Stompers - we played folk, blues, jazz, rock-and-roll and pop songs) I played classical guitar in various combinations and also did a lot of playing in Cafe Concerts with (mostly) the French community there (the French had singers, but the English had most of the musicians). But in addition to the French I played and sang a lot of Russian songs and a few German songs. And sure enough when I checked my song folder from Ethiopia, there was the song, titled Der Kuckuck in the version I had. It was sung by a man called Rolf (I'm afraid time has lost his surname), who I think was Swiss rather than German.

The version he gave was as the first 5 verses posted by Joe above (slightly altered chorus: Simsalabim bam ba saladu saladim), but with an added verse after verse 1:

    Es regnete und er ward ... nass

I haven't found this verse in any of the online versions I've looked at, but in the copy Rolf typed for me he credits the song to Trad./Hannes Wader, so it's possible that Hannes added the extra verse (or maybe I didn't check hard enough online).

The song seems to date from the 1830s.