Friday, May 01, 2009

Sumer Is Icumen In

Well, folks, it’s that time again. The April showers give way to the May flowers. Thus we have “May Day.” Makes sense, right?

“Sumer Is Icumen In” was written by an anonymous English composer, probably around the mid-13th century, as a round in six parts. This can be really confusing, as seen in what is possibly the most amusing example our Research Department could find, a rehearsal for a circle dance. These people would have enough trouble chewing gum while doing this, never mind counting to three.

Maybe the lyrics would help.

Summer is a-coming in,
Loudly sing, Cuckoo!
The seed grows and the meadow blooms
And the wood springs anew,
Sing, Cuckoo!
The ewe bleats after the lamb
The cow lows after the calf.
The bullock stirs, the buck-goat turns,
Merrily sing, Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing, cuckoo;
Don't you ever stop now,
Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!

Doesn’t do it for ya, does it? Maybe if we went totally authentic and used Middle English...

Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,
Sing cuccu!
Awe bleteþ after lomb,
Lhouþ after calue cu.
Bulluc sterteþ, bucke uerteþ,
Murie sing cuccu!
Cuccu, cuccu, wel singes þu cuccu;
Ne swik þu nauer nu.
Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu.
Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu!

Nah, still ain’t happening? Well, why not take it to the next level, starting from scratch?

“The Safety Dance” was the biggest hit single by that wacky 1980s pop group known as “Men Without Hats” (which has a similar ring to the title of this weblog, so now know you where we got the idea. Now quit screwing up the name on your blogrolls and get with the program!!!). It was written by lead singer Ivan Doroschuk, who does his own stunts for this video, as you can see. It was released in the States in 1982, and in the UK in 1983. Don’t ask me why. Anyway, it hit number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on Cash Box, as well as number one on the Billboard Dance Chart. In the UK it reached number six. It was the only major international hit for the group.

The video was filmed in West Kington, near Bath, in southwest England. Ivan is the only band member who is obvious; the others appear somewhere in the town square. This is the perfect video for May Day. It has everything: mandolins, masks, Maypoles, merriment, Morris dancers (the Chippenham Town Morris from Wiltshire, to be exact), mullet heads, musicians -- and of course, midgets! (I know, I know, he‘s a dwarf, not a midget, but that doesn’t begin with an “m” now, does it?)

So, we’ve decided just to go with this for the Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

Now then, everybody look at your hands!
.

2 Comments:

At 5/05/2009 05:24:00 AM, Anonymous matthias said...

It might be summer for you ,but we are going into winter,with May being a very cold autumnal month. Hopefully we will get rain,and lots of it ,as we have had a drought for nearly 12 years.
Anyways have a great spring

 
At 5/07/2009 11:05:00 AM, Blogger chloesmom said...

Ivan Doroschuk's Mom, Betty, is/was a respected voice teacher at McGill when I was a student there in the 70s. As a keyboard major (piano), I accompanied some of her students at voice lessons and in recital. I remember seeing Ivan from time to time, and this video was fun to watch. Men Without Hats was a big deal in the Montreal area at the time, though I didn't pay much attention, being busy with a newborn at the time. Brings back nice memories. Thanks for posting!

Regards,
Patricia Gonzalez

 

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