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Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.

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KOOKABURRA (Composite)


Related threads:
Kookaburra vs Down Under? (61)
Lyr Add: Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree (40)


GUEST,Jeremy 05 Apr 06 - 10:02 PM
Azizi 05 Apr 06 - 10:20 PM
Bob Bolton 05 Apr 06 - 11:30 PM
Bob Bolton 05 Apr 06 - 11:54 PM
Bob Bolton 06 Apr 06 - 12:14 AM
Joe Offer 06 Apr 06 - 03:04 AM
Joybell 06 Apr 06 - 08:20 PM
dick greenhaus 06 Apr 06 - 08:31 PM
GUEST,Julia 06 Apr 06 - 10:50 PM
GUEST,Julia 06 Apr 06 - 10:53 PM
GUEST,thurg 07 Apr 06 - 12:54 AM
GUEST,thurg 07 Apr 06 - 12:28 PM
Anonny Mouse 07 Apr 06 - 02:00 PM
Joybell 07 Apr 06 - 05:56 PM
Joybell 07 Apr 06 - 06:05 PM
Helen 07 Apr 06 - 06:24 PM
Joybell 07 Apr 06 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,Allen from Oz 07 Apr 06 - 07:24 PM
Bob Bolton 08 Apr 06 - 05:20 AM
Helen 08 Apr 06 - 06:24 AM
GUEST,RIchard Bridge 08 Apr 06 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge 08 Apr 06 - 06:36 AM
Joybell 08 Apr 06 - 07:38 PM
Anonny Mouse 09 Apr 06 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,boborch 07 May 07 - 11:59 PM
Jim Lad 08 May 07 - 01:43 AM
Bob Bolton 08 May 07 - 02:40 AM
Jim Lad 08 May 07 - 02:54 AM
Raggytash 08 May 07 - 05:46 AM
Azizi 08 May 07 - 07:17 AM
Azizi 08 May 07 - 07:37 AM
Azizi 08 May 07 - 08:13 AM
Sandra in Sydney 08 May 07 - 08:38 AM
Azizi 08 May 07 - 08:50 AM
Jim Lad 08 May 07 - 10:42 AM
Kajikit 14 May 07 - 09:56 PM
Rowan 14 May 07 - 10:54 PM
JennyO 14 May 07 - 11:55 PM
Azizi 15 May 07 - 12:49 AM
JennieG 15 May 07 - 03:46 AM
Nigel Parsons 15 May 07 - 04:56 PM
Viracocha 28 Jul 07 - 01:46 PM
Jeri 28 Jul 07 - 02:46 PM
Jeri 28 Jul 07 - 03:23 PM
Rowan 28 Jul 07 - 10:55 PM
GUEST,Larrikin Music Publishing 29 Oct 07 - 03:09 AM
GUEST 29 Oct 07 - 05:21 PM
Rowan 29 Oct 07 - 05:59 PM
sian, west wales 03 Jan 08 - 06:13 AM
mark gregory 09 Feb 10 - 11:01 PM
JohnInKansas 10 Feb 10 - 09:40 AM
JohnInKansas 10 Feb 10 - 10:31 AM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Jul 10 - 12:06 AM
GUEST,Gerry 06 Jul 10 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,Nony Mouse 07 Jul 10 - 11:08 PM
GUEST,kate 102.0 07 Dec 10 - 06:47 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Oct 11 - 06:02 PM
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Subject: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,Jeremy
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 10:02 PM

I have come across what seems to be songwriter information for KOOKABURRA. Apparently it is by Marion Sinclair, written in either 1932 or 1936 (sources vary), so copyright is probably still in effect.

Hope this is how I'm supposed to send this kind of note.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 10:20 PM

Thanks, Jeremy.

I suppose this is the "Kookaburro sits on an old gum tree" song?

And is this an authentic Australian song?

It's a shame, but the only Australia songs I remember learning in public schools were that song and "Waltzing Matilda".

Now many children don't have music classes, so they might not learn even these songs.

I know this isn't the topic of this thread, but I wish some Mudcatters would share the names and hopefully online sources for lyrics for other Australian folk songs.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 11:30 PM

G'day Jeremy,

It does seem that Marion Sinclairwrote the song for the Girl Guides - and the 1934 tour by the Baden-Powells may have been the first occasion it was sung:

The Chiefs visited Australia during their world tour of 1934. Their main stop was the Centenary Jamboree at Frankston in Melbourne. Again they came via Port Moresby, also stopping at Darwin, Thursday Island, Townsville, Brisbane (for just one hour), and a weekend at a huge rally at Centennial Park in Sydney. The Jamboree in Melbourne was the first time the internationally-known and translated round, Kookaburra, was sung en masse. The song was written by a Guider from Frankston, Marion Sinclair.

After the Jamboree, the BPs went on to Adelaide, where Lady BP officially opened Paxlease Training Centre.


Under Australian law, the song remains in copyright if Marion Sinclair was still alive in 1955. If she was an active Guide Leader 21 years before ... that is quite likely. The situation with countries having less respect for others' copyright (eg, USA) is less clear ... and I can't even clear up the Australian situation, as I have not found any biographical info on Marion Sinclair.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 11:54 PM

G'day again,

I found a reference to Marion Sinclair's life as 1896 - 1988 - so all that Guiding must have heald her in good stead. As she seems to have died before copyright extensions came in, the song is copyright, in Australia, until 1 January 2039.

I found another reference that gave "Larrikin Music" as the copyright holders ... which seems odd - unless Warren Fahey, the founder of Larrikin, acquired the copyright for some project. If so ... it is probably now owned by Festival Music, who bought out Warren's "Indie" folk music label. If I can collar Warren, I'll ask if he knows anything about the rights ...

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 12:14 AM

Back again ...

Warren says that Larrikin Publications was separate from Larrikin Records, which was bought by Festival Records ... and the book side was bought by Music Sales.

They have actively pursued an advertising agency that filched Kookaburra for an advertising campaign ... but ignore all the non-commercial uses. If you were thinking of recording ... well, I reckon you would need to stump up on copyright.

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 03:04 AM

Gee, there's not much on this song in the Traditional Ballad Index, just a citation from Folksinger's Wordbook.:

Kookaburra


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

AUTHOR: unknown

EARLIEST DATE: 1973

KEYWORDS: animal nonballad

FOUND IN:

REFERENCES (1 citation):

Silber-FSWB, p. 413, "Kookaburra" (1 text)

File: FSWB413B


Go to the Ballad Search form

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2006 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: Lyrics add: Kookaburra parody version
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 08:20 PM

There's a parody version. Don't know any details except that I know it from about 1950.

Kookaburra sits on the telephone wire
Jumping up and down with his pants on fire
Help Fireman! Help Fireman!
Put my undies out.

Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 08:31 PM

It was widely disseminated by Josef Marais in the 1940s and, later, by Marais and Miranda.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 10:50 PM


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 10:53 PM

Dang the buttons..

There are tons of kids parody versions of this song- just ask any eight year old.

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Tickling all the monkeys he can see
Stop Kookaburra, stop kookaburra
That's not a monkey- that's me!

etc etc

So try to tell kids about copyright....?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 12:54 AM

Since it's the kind of thing people seem to amuse themselves with on this forum, I'll amuse myself by passing along this '50's rock take on Kookaburra that a couple of us came up with at summer camp, circa 1970:

(Ba-ba-ba bop!)
Saw the kookaburra late last night;
(Ba-ba-ba bop!)
He's tellin' me everything's all right;
(Ba-ba-ba bop!)
Eatin' all the gumdrops he can see;
(Ba-ba-ba bop!)
Leavin' none for my baby and me.

Then the usual chorus.

Don't recall if we had more verses. Anyway, it was number one on the summer camp hit parade for a couple of weeks.

Hope we didn't contravene any copyright regulations.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 12:28 PM

For what it's not worth, I've remembered the second verse we had:

Saw the kookaburra in the tree,
Catching all the monkeys he could see;
Stop, kookaburra, stop, stop, stop -
That's not a monkey, that's my baby.


There it is, complete. Thank you for asking!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Anonny Mouse
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 02:00 PM

We used to sing the song (when he was in the ol' gum tree) at Boy Scout Camp (geeeez was THAT a loooooong time ago!!!!). Nobody worried about copyrights. Besides, you wouldn't find any of the Lomaxes out there with a tape machine trying to capture it for posterity.

Two questions (one answer I forgot, 'cause someone told me) the other...not sure. What in Hell is a "Kookburra" (a bird?) and what is a "gum tree" (always pictured gum-drops--don't ask why; it's a Freudian thing).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 05:56 PM

Mouse, The Kookaburra is a large Australian bird of the Kingfisher family. They have a very distinctive laugh that sounds human. You'll find a web-site with a call easily enough. They become quite tame and will grab meat from the hands of picknickers if they get a chance. In the wild they are meat-eaters - snakes, lizards, fish, small mammals, little birds, eggs. They live in couples or small family groups. They nest in hollow branches of a very specific size and shape. A horizontal space.
Everybody loves Kookaburras. My American husband calls them "coo-coo-burras".

Here, in Australia, a Gum Tree is any tree of the Eucalypt group. In America "Gum Tree' is used for many different trees.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 06:05 PM

I'm interested -- Do you still sing "coo -coo- burra" in America? My husband was taught to sing the name that way when he learned it back in the 1940s. Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Helen
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 06:24 PM

Scroll down to Kookaburra and listen to mp3 file of its laugh

If you hear just one laughing it often means rain in the next day or so.

I just did a Google and found out that Tarzan movies often used a kookaburra laugh as one of the jungle sounds. I had forgotten that.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 06:42 PM

Thanks Helen. That's better. Yes, the movie jungle sounds always had a Kookaburra. I've never heard a satisfactory explanation for that. There are some, but they seem far-fetched.

Our Kookaburras laugh when they know someone's lighting the Barbi down in the local park.
Local folklore has it that the Black Cockatoos arrive when it's going to rain but as they live locally, and it almost never rains, I've wondered how that works. Then there's Currawongs -- called Rain-birds - where do they go when it's not raining anywhere? Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,Allen from Oz
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 07:24 PM

My observations at Cowra New South Wales has been that the Kookaburra seems to be the first bird heard in the morning and the last at night (around dusk). You are quite right about Kookaburra sounds ( of laughter) being used in Tarzan movies.

Allen


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 05:20 AM

G'day Joybell,

A couple of small corrections:

... Here, in Australia, a Gum Tree is any tree of the Eucalypt group ...
A gum tree is actually one of the smooth-barked eucalypts - the ones that exude a (usually blood red) gum from cracks in the bark - or insect attack points (as a protection against further attack. The rough-barked eucalypts don't often exude gum and are just called eucalypts ... or by their species name (eg "stringybark", for the most obvious example).

... They become quite tame and will grab meat from the hands of picknickers if they get a chance ... Everybody loves Kookaburras ...
Not so much tame as "brazen"! Some years back we were picnicking with my brother Graeme and Anne, his wife ... at Barrenjoey Lighthouse in the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park - noth of Sydney. We were getting stuck into a chicken salad - when I heard a squawk from Graeme. I turned to see that a kookaburra had landed on his left forearm and was leaning over to pick up a chicken leg in its beak. As soon as the leg was firmly held, the kookaburra flew up into a fork, high in a nearby gum tree ... and beat the chicken leg firmly against the tree trunk a half dozen times ... just to make sure it was dead, before eating it!

Another time, we camped in the Warrumbungle National Park (north-east NSW) and the campers next to us had their fireplace going well - to cook a meal of lamb chops and snags (sausages). I heard one of them call out that a kookaburra had landed on the back of one of the camp chairs by the fireplace ... and as they all looked at the kookaburra ... it made its choice of the sausages, swooped over the freplace to steal a sausage - and again, characteristically, beat the sausage a couple of times against a tree trunk before flying off with it (back to the nest?).

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Helen
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 06:24 AM

Yes, Bob, but we still love them!

I remember a barbecue where someone was talking animatedly and waving a snag around on a fork and a Kookaburra swooped by and snatched it, beat it against a tree branch and ate it. Very funny to watch.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,RIchard Bridge
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 06:26 AM

In the UK the life + 70 duration for copyright does not require the author to have been living when the period was extended from life + 50 to life + 70 (indeed some copyrights sprang back into being so the UK copyright ought to extend to 31 Dec 2059.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 06:36 AM

I have just been refreshing my memory of the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (as amended to the end of 2005) and I can't readily find any transitional provisions removing the extension to life + 70 (as per S 10) from copyrights that expired before S10 was amended to life + 70 (of course in 1968 it would have been life + 50).

This may be careless Saturday morning looking, of course.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 07:38 PM

Great stories, Bob. Yes I know about the different trees among the Eucalypts - it's just that almost everyone still calls them all "gums" regardless. I should have said -- Here, in Australia -- people call --any tree of the Eucalypt group a Gum Tree. (But they might not be correct)

Kookaburra sits in a stringy-bark tree...

Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Anonny Mouse
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 04:34 PM

Thanks for all the info and background!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,boborch
Date: 07 May 07 - 11:59 PM

I have read recently that this tune is actually based on an old Welsh tune -- long before the text (and song) Kookaburra was actually written in the 1930's. Any "reference librarians" out there with any information on this ??

A real puzzler


boborch


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Jim Lad
Date: 08 May 07 - 01:43 AM

Azizi: If you look up "Banjo Paterson" you'll probably find enough contributions in his name, to fill any Australian cultural void.
You'll probably even recognize a good deal of it as you go.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 May 07 - 02:40 AM

G'day Jim Lad,

I hope that Azizi is still looking in on this thread ... but it was one year and three days back that she made her sole posting!

As far as pursuing A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson for Australian songs, I don't think she will find more than a small fraction of his verse set to music, compared to the poetry of Henry Lawson. Waltzing Matilda is a special case ... 'Banjo' wrote it as lyrics to a tune he just heard played by Christina Macpherson, in 1895. His poem "The Bushman's Song" is collected with a tune (and usually called "Travelling Down the Castlereagh") ... but most of his poems are written in very much "poetic" schemes that don't lend themselves to easily becoming songs.

Conversely, Henry Lawson mostly wrote in four-square ballad form - and many more of his poems went straight into song form, as soon as they were published - and many more have been set to tunes, new or old, in the Australian "Folk Revival" (including one set by me!).

Lots of songs came from the Australian colonial period and the Gold Rush ... and the attentions paid to that gold by bushrangers! However, very few made any easy transition to other countries and cultures until the world "folk boom" ... and the biggest publishing area - the USA - is more geared (at its corporate end, anyway) to dealing with new (copyrightable) material.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Jim Lad
Date: 08 May 07 - 02:54 AM

"to fill any Australian cultural void" is what I said. Azizi is in and out all of the time so she'll probably get this.
Thanks for the rest of the info but short of a few quotes from The Sanitary Disposal Man's Christmas card collection, I think Banjo's about the finest representative of outback culture that there is to offer.
Cheers!
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Raggytash
Date: 08 May 07 - 05:46 AM

I recall this song from the 1960's when at junior school it was included in a BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) publication for schools, we all learnt it in class, probably about 1963-64


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 07 - 07:17 AM

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."

-snip-


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.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 07 - 07:37 AM

Sorry. I meant "somewhat like giggles" not "someone like giggles".

Though I actually knew a young woman whose nickname was "Giggles".
I guess she got that name because she giggled alot.

Well, why else would a person be called "Giggles?"

Moving right along, does anyone remember any more parodies of "Kookaburra Sits On An Old Gum Tree"?.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 07 - 08:13 AM

Somewhat off topic [again]:

A cursory reading of this online article about Banjo Paterson- http://home.alphalink.com.au/~eureka/banjo.htm shows he held some strong, decidedly non-multicultural positions.

This is not to detract from his creative accomplishments, but as an African American-stratch that-as a human being, I certainly hope that Australia has rejected the sentiments about the undesirability of non-Europeans that it appears that Paterson expressed.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 08 May 07 - 08:38 AM

Azizi, most of us have, but there are still pockets of White Australia around, tho not in the circles I inhabit!

Pat Drummond's "Who is that refugee?"

Oz national folk body with lots of links - Folk Alliance, Australia

Songs, some with MP3s

check out the Song Index on Warren Fahey's Folklore site

Australian traditional songs, a selection by Mark Gregory

Mark Gregory's Union Songs



sandra


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 07 - 08:50 AM

Thanks for posting those links, Sandra.

I'd prefer to check them out now, but I've got to go to work :o{

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Jim Lad
Date: 08 May 07 - 10:42 AM

Aziz: Phew! Glad I didn't recommend Stephen Foster.
Good Morning All!
from the sunny Highlands.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Kajikit
Date: 14 May 07 - 09:56 PM

I grew up in Australia and the version I remember was:

Kookaburra sits on the 'lectric wire
Jumping up and down with his pants on fire
Fly, kookaburra fly, kookaburra fly away from here!

We'd usually sing the traditional version as the first verse, and the 'lectric wire' one as the second. :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Rowan
Date: 14 May 07 - 10:54 PM

If one is interested in Australian children's playground parodies of this and other songs (similar to the collections done by the Opies in UK) you could check out "Cinderella dressed in yella" (published in the late 60s?) and subsequent editions from Ian Turner and (from memory) June Factor. The copy I bought in the early 70s and annotated extensively with my own recollections got stolen some years ago but it and the subsequent additions/editions werey very extensive.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: JennyO
Date: 14 May 07 - 11:55 PM

Back in the 70's when I was teaching, and the 80's when my kids were going to school, the ABC had a radio program for kids, and an accompanying book. I think at the time it was called "Singing Together". I believe they still have the book (now called "Sing") and recordings, although no radio program any more. "Kookaburra" was one of the songs in the book that the kids liked.

There was another verse, which I don't think anyone has mentioned yet:

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Eating all the gum drops he can see
Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
Leave some there for me!

While looking around, I also found something which might interest Azizi - here. It is a lesson plan for teaching the song AND a circle dance. Personally though, I don't remember seeing kids dance or do actions to it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Azizi
Date: 15 May 07 - 12:49 AM

Jenny O,

Aren't vibes amazing?! I was sleeping, but woke up and decided to peek at Mudcat and the first thread I glanced at was this one, and what do I see but that you had just posted a comment that included my name. I musta heard you callin me, girlfriend]


What is also amazing is the selective power of memory. I now recall that when I was a child I also learned that second verse about Kooaburra eating gum drops. I'm not sure why I forgot it-esepecially since now I know what gum drops are but I don't think I knew that when I was a young school child.

Btw, Jenny, I like the website whose link you posted. I think that children's songs should be used more often in the classroom-for fun and to reinforce all kinds of social and academic skills. However, that lesson plan strikes me as a bit too rigid. For instance instead of sticking exactly to the performance instructions that are given on that website, I think it would be interesting to see how children would choreograph the moves to make to that-and to other songs.

And-fwiw- I think American children & youth & adults * would really have problems with these directives:

"Make a circle. On the first line of the song, take one jump to the circle center and assume a slight squatting position with hands on top of thighs. On line two, stand upright and flap arms like bird wings. On first "Laugh kookaburra," shake your shoulders in a pantomime of a laugh. On the second "Laugh kookaburra," hold your belly in continued pantomime of a laugh. On the last line, jump back to original circle area and nod heads at one another".
-snip-

Mostly I think that they {we} would have problems with the "assume a ...squatting position" instruction. To Americanize this instruction, "assume a" could be changed to "make a" . But 'squat'?!!? Hmmm. Why do I think about people going to the bathroom when I read that word? Maybe it's me...

I think that there is probably another word or phrase that could be substituted for squat, but I can't think of it right now.

Then there's the line "hold your belly in continued pantomime of a laugh".... Hmmm, again. Sure, you could explain what a pantomine is. And that's good, but would kids "get" that laughter involves holding their "stomach} {which is a more easily understood USA English word for children for belly}? I don't think so, unless you evoke the image of fat, jolly Santa Claus who would hold his stomach when he laughed. Then, some of the overweight children might get laughed at which is definitely not a desired outcome...

I guess that I'm being too analytical. I just think that not only should the game instruction not be too rigid, it should also not take so long to explain how to play the game that children get bored or figgity while waiting for the actual game performance to begin.

That said, I feel like I just trashed a gift. In the real world, I would have just said "thank you" and left it like that. But instead, I went into my analytical mode. Jenny, please don't think that I don't appreciate you hipping me to that website. I do appeciate it. Thanks again.

Now it's back to bed for me.

Goodnight and good day and best wishes,

Azizi

* I said "children, youth, and adults" because I've found that it's fun and good for all age groups to experience playing singing games together.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: JennieG
Date: 15 May 07 - 03:46 AM

My kids used to sing:

"Kookaburra sits on electric wire
Tears in his eyes and his pants on fire
Ouch, kookaburra! ouch, kookaburra!
Hot your bum must be!"

When you are a 5 year old boy it is very daring to be allowed to say "bum".

Rowan, I have a copy of "Cinderella Dressed in Yella" which was culled from the school library where I work. I will decide if I really want to keep it otherwise you (or anyone else who would like it!) are welcome to it. I couldn't let it just go to the tip :-)

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 15 May 07 - 04:56 PM

I wonder whether the BBC realise that it's not traditional. It was used rather extensively in one episode (Fear Her) of the last Dr Wh0 series

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Viracocha
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 01:46 PM

In my Brownies (which was only the 90s), I was taught:

KOOKABURRA

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

Kookaburra sits in an old gum tree
Counting all the monkies that he can see
Stop, kookaburra! stop, kookaburra!
Please do not count me!

Kookaburra sits on electric wire
Tailfeathers burnt and his bum's on fire
Ouch, kookaburra! ouch, kookaburra!
Burnt your bum may be!"

There were other verses, I think, and I'm not sure it was 'ouch, kookaburra' in the 3rd verse, but my version was definately 'tailfeathers burnt' not 'tears in his eyes'...

-Viracocha


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 02:46 PM

There's a reason the original only has one verse, and since no one's mentioned it yet, I will. I realize everybody may know this and just hasn't said it, so I may be stating the bloody obvious. It's a round.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 03:23 PM

I have the song in Sing a Tune, published by INFORMAL MUSIC, Delaware, Ohio, © 1961, Cooperative Recreation Service, Inc.

The author of the song is given as 'M. Sinclair', and a note at the end reads, "From the DITTY BAG by permission Janet E. Tobbit.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Rowan
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 10:55 PM

I missed this thread until today so didn't see JennieG's offer. If you ever decide you don't want it Jennie, just PM me.

And Jeri is right about it being a round; I'd never even questioned the notion as I'd never heard it sung as anything else. Even the playground parodies were sung by the kids as a round (forgive the grammar) so I was interested to see others had encountered sequential verse formats.

For Azizi:
When teaching bush dances to adults (even to adolescents) around Oz I had no trouble with the audience responding to invitations to take the floor with a partner and then explaining the different figures in terms of "Gents" and "Ladies"; everyone understood that it was implied that one's partner would, routinely, be of the opposite sex. Because much of the bush dance tradition came via mining camps and shearers' contexts where women were scarce, there grew a tradition of "buck sets" composed entirely of males; those playing the women's parts would thread a scarf through their belt at the hip. It seems it has always been more acceptable for women to partner each other without any need to signify who was dancing which part.

The point of the tale is that, in my experience with younger children at such dances in Oz (mostly at schools; in audiences with lots of age groups there was never any problem) the younger sproglets would be resistant to participating if there was any notion that they would be required to dance with someone of the opposite sex, or even hold hands with them. So, although the call would be to "Grab a partner and form a set/circle/etc" the instructions would be for the taller person in each couple to be "a kangaroo" and the shorter to be "a wallaby"; if arches were involved in the dance they would need to have a kangaroo partnered with a wallaby. Subsequently all the called instructions used "Kangaroos" and "Wallabies" instead of "Gents" and "Ladies". Full participation and never any confusion.

Apologies for the thread drift but I thought it relevant to Azizi's post about culturally dependent interpretations.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,Larrikin Music Publishing
Date: 29 Oct 07 - 03:09 AM

I don't know if anyone is still interested in this thread but I can confirm the following
Song Title: Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree
Composer: Marion Sinclair (Died 15 Feb 1988)
Copyright Protected until: 2039
Copyright Owner: Larrikin Music Publishing
Contact for permissions: publishing@musicsales.com.au


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 07 - 05:21 PM

Now that this thread has reappeared I can thank JennieG [ublicly for Cinderella dressed in yella; I've already thanked he privately and now my daughters are combing through it discerning variations from their own (much more recent) experiences.

The mention of the ABC (Oz) songbook "Sing" reminds me that I was recently reminded by a friend that the 2007 edition contains a parody of "On top of old smoky" that refers to the loss of a meatball when somebody sneezed. The book lists the copyright for both words and music to Tom Glaser but both of us recall singing this (with, from memory, two extra verses); me in the 50s and him (my friend) in the 60s and I'm not sure Tom was up to writing songs at that time. Perhaps it's another case of copyrighting the "arrangement" and an extra verse tagged onto the end.

End of thread drift.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Rowan
Date: 29 Oct 07 - 05:59 PM

Sorry, that post was me sans cookie.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: sian, west wales
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 06:13 AM

I looked this thread up as we've had an enquiry re: Kookaburra copyright here at trac. I see that 'GUEST,boborch' mentioned a possible Welsh connections, and it may be that s/he had been reading a rather wobbly Wikipedia entry on the subject.

Dr Rhidian Griffiths at the National Library of Wales says that the Welsh words were only published to the tune in 1989. If the words are old (and they don't sound as if they are) they wouldn't have been sung to that tune. One of our best musicologists, Phyllis Kinney, says, "I suspect that the Welsh words were written to fit the tune rather than the other way around --- the metre is not a typical Welsh folksong metre and the 'Kookaburra' lines with their masculine endings are quite the opposite of Welsh traditional verse."

It's been recorded at least twice.

I actually used to work for someone in the 1980s who, with several friends, wrote Welsh words to a number of popular English-language 'campfire songs' for use with Welsh young people. I don't know if the Welsh version of Kookaburra is 'one of theirs'.

sian


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: mark gregory
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 11:01 PM

Warren Fahey's "Larrikin Records And Larrikin Music Founder Speaks
Out" article and proposed solution to the copyright issues surrounding
Men at Work and the tune of "Kookaburra Sits On An Old Gumtree" has
been added to the Australian Folk Songs website at:

http://folkstream.com/reviews/larrikin.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 09:40 AM

There was a recent court decision on one of the well known Aussie tunes, possibly Kookaburra. A group included a break that "sounded like" the refrain in a new composition. The court ruled that they must pay "back royalties" for all recordings and all performances, to the tune (no pun intended) of some few hundred thousand dollars.

I believe the brief article appeared on the MSNBC news website about a week ago, but unfortunately I didn't save a note on it, and don't see it there now.

Does anyone have a better memory? (Or did anyone else see the same hallucination?)

John


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 10:31 AM

The above mentioned hallucination was about Kookaburra. It apparently wasn't "newsworthy" enough to stay up at MSNBC, but a search found:

Down Under: breach of Kookaburra copyright

[quote]

After Larrikin Music proved last year that it owned the copyright in the song "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree" its claim that two Men At Work recordings of the song "Down Under" infringe Larrikin's copyright in Kookaburra because both of those recordings reproduce a substantial part of Kookaburra (in a flute riff) has succeeded: Larrikin Music Publishing Pty Ltd v EMI Songs Australia Pty Limited [2010] FCA 29.

After hearing evidence about the history of the Men At Work recordings and expert evidence on the musical notes in both songs, Judge Jacobson concluded that Down Under reproduced a substantial part of Kookaburra.

However the judge also commented that "I would emphasise that the findings I have made do not amount to a finding that the flute riff is a substantial part of Down Under or that it is the "hook" of that song."

Damages are to be assessed.

The case also considered whether two Qantas advertisements which contain an orchestral version of a part of Down Under breached Kookaburra's copyright: the judge concluded they did not.

Posted 5th February 2010 by admin in Legal

[End quote]

An embedded link indicates you can see the Full Decision if interested.

John


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 12:06 AM

The Court has now deemed that 5% of the revenue is adequate compensation for the 'proved plagiarism'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 01:07 AM

Here's a link to the Sydney Morning Herald article on the compensation decision. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/06/2945781.htm?section=justin


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,Nony Mouse
Date: 07 Jul 10 - 11:08 PM

There was an interview with the founder of the label a while back. There is reference to an old South African tune and the Welsh tune is play at about 6:30 onwards.

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/breakfast/stories/2010/2813948.htm


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: GUEST,kate 102.0
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 06:47 PM

kookaburra sits on the flam
jumping up in down with his pants on fire
kill kookaburra!kill kookaburra!
i shot hem last week


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Subject: RE: Origins: Kookaburra - possible copyright info.
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 06:02 PM

Men At Work Lose Kookaburra Copyright Suit (from Associate Press, on NPR)

October 7, 2011

In singing of Vegemite, they plundered a kookaburra.

Australian rockers Men at Work lost their final court bid on Friday to prove they did not steal the distinctive flute riff of their 1980s hit "Down Under" from another of the country's most famous songs, the children's campfire staple "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree."

The High Court of Australia denied the band's bid to appeal a federal court judge's earlier ruling that the group had copied the flute melody from "Kookaburra," a song about an Australian bird whose call sounds like laughter. But because the lawsuit was filed only two years ago, the band won't have to give up royalties from its heyday.

"Down Under" and the album it was on, Business As Usual, reached No. 1 on the Australian, American and British charts in 1983, the year Men at Work won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. The song remains an unofficial anthem for Australia, with lines such as "He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich," a reference to the yeast extract spread that is popular among Australians.

"Kookaburra" was written more than 70 years ago by Australian teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides competition. The song went on to become a favorite around campfires not just in Australia, but in the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

Sinclair died in 1988, but publishing company Larrikin Music which now holds the copyright for "Kookaburra" filed a lawsuit in 2009.

Last year, Federal Court Justice Peter Jacobson ruled that the "Down Under" flute riff replicated a substantial part of Sinclair's song. The judge later ordered Men at Work's recording company, EMI Songs Australia, and "Down Under" songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert to give up 5 percent of future royalties, and of royalties earned since 2002.

The court didn't specify what the 5 percent penalty translates to in dollars. Larrikin wasn't able to seek royalties earned before 2002 because of a statute of limitations.

Lawyers for Men at Work's recording companies maintained that the band hadn't copied anything and had vowed to fight the ruling. But Friday's decision from the High Court ends the band's chance to appeal.

"Larrikin welcomes the decision and looks forward to resolving the remaining issues between the parties," Adam Simpson, a lawyer for Larrikin, said in an email.

the other Mudcat thread


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