arr. Paul Jennings

This traditional Australian round has always been a favorite of ours, and given all the attention Australia has been getting lately (and will continue to get as we get closer to the 2000 Olympics), we thought it was a great selection for this issue. Actually, the arrangement grew organically as my interest in the didjeridu and its origins grew.

Originally, we had thought that it might be nice to feature a didjeridu as part of the arrangement, possibly just on one sustained note, something that could have been accomplished with our sampling synthesizer. We also wanted to do an article on the didjeridu as a part of the issue. As I learned more and listened more, I knew that this one sterile keyboard note wouldn't do, so we bought a lovely didjeridu pitched in D, and I set out to learn to play the didjeridu.

Wrong! It didn't take long to discover that it had been too many years since this player had played bassoon not to mention a low brass instrument, and there was no way I was going to do a passable job by recording time. So I called our bass trombonist, Jared, who had just returned from Italy where, amazingly enough, he had been playing a friend's didj! When we arrived for the session, I gave him the instrument and the rough outline of the arrangement so that he could have a couple of days to prepare. The result is what you hear on the recorded tracks.

We combine two didjeridus (both played by Jared) with traditional Australian clap sticks. They are hardwood sticks, decorated much like the didjeridu, which sound a bit like claves. Added to that are several other percussion instruments, including frame drum, a box drum from India, and a Native American drum from the Southwest. You will also hear guitar, bass, drums, and alto flute.

The arrangement begins with a short sustained didjeridu duet which leads into the 8 measures of introduction in tempo. You will note that the alto flute enters just before the singers are to begin each new verse of the song. This little motif and the quiet guide track on the accompaniment performance of the recording should help you always know where you are should you get a little lost in the round.

We include four verses here, two of them adapted from original verses we have heard of the song, and two new ones created for the fun of it. We encourage you and your singers to add verses or replace some of ours. Maybe you could write verses where the kookaburra has adventures with a dingo (a wild dog), a boomerang, or even Crocodile Dundee! (Just kidding...) As your students study Australia, they may have suggestions of their own.

While the recorded tracks are a lot of fun, this is a tune that can be performed many ways without the tracks. It would work well, for instance, with autoharp and/or guitar, rhythm sticks, hand drum and other rhythm instruments. If your students make their own didjeridus, they can join in. (See our suggestions on page 60.) The possibilities are endless.

Also note that as a special introduction to our Student Reproducible Parts, we have included a student part for Kookaburra which can be found on page 59. If you order these parts for the issue, you will receive similar parts to every song found on the recordings.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.