11372534266_a4506d7960_b

Sun Arise

by Rolf Harris

Australia

I learned this song from Denis Donnelly and Siobhan Robinsong,founders of the Ubuntu Choirs Network. They sang a very singable group version of the songs once during training, but never formally taught us any harmonies for it. A year later, with it still buzzing around in my head, I considered asking Denis whether he had any sheet music or teaching tracks for their version, but decided to go exploring first instead. What I found was the original – more complex, zany, raw, and a lot harder to follow than the version I heard in Canada. I kind of loved it.

I knew I couldn’t teach the original in a single evening, so I created a simplified set of lyrics – something between the original and what Denis and Siobhan were doing – and brought out my shruti box to act as a drone. Thus, a new variation was born. (And yes, the original does contain the “vocal-didgeridoo” thing).

From Wikipedia: The song’s lyrical structure is simple with the vast majority of the lines starting simply “Sun Arise”. The lyrics of the song came from a story Butler told [Harris] about Aboriginal beliefs. Some tribes see the sun as a goddess. Each time she wakes in the morning, her skirts of light gradually cover more and more of the land, bringing back warmth and light to the air. The only explicit reference to anything Australian in the song is the mention of the Kangaroo Paw flower, which is endemic to Western Australia.

Harris countered judgements of the song being “boring” by saying that the Aborigines, who he was trying to imitate, would “repeat a phrase over and over again and it would become mesmerizing“.

In our version, I’m not assigning specific harmonies to specific groups. I’m keeping a call-and-response format for structure’s sake, and everyone who’s not calling (everyone but me) gets to do didgeridoo sounds all the way through the first line of every verse.

I want sort of a rugged, free-for-all feeling to climb over the course of the song. Therefore, I have only two tracks below. The first is a “whole feeling” example of the song with many voices in it. The second track is “Just the Follow Part” – so if you’re not sure what to sing, study the Just The Follow Part and consider that “your part.”

Lyrics:

Caller: Sun Arise, she bring in the morning,

All: Sun Arise, she bring in the morning,

Fluttering her skirts all arounnnnnnnnnnnd

Caller: Sun arise, she come with the dawning

All: Sun arise, she come with the dawning

Bringing back the warmth to the grounnnnnnnnddd

(bridge) Sun Arise, come every morning

Sun Arise, come every day

Sun Arise, every every every every dayyyyyy

Caller: Sun Arise, on the kangaroo paw

All: Sun Arise, on the kangaroo paw

Fluttering her skirts all arounnnnnnnnnnnd

Caller: Sun Arise, filling all the hollows

All: Sun Arise, filling all the hollows,

Bringing back the warmth to the grounnnnnnnnddddd

(bridge) Sun Arise, come every morning

Sun Arise, come every day

Sun Arise, every every every every dayyyyyy

Caller: Sun Arise, bring in the morning

All: Sun Arise, bring in the morning

Fluttering her skirts all arounnnnnnnnnnnd

Caller: Sun Arise, come with the dawning,

All: Sun Arise, come with the dawning

Bringing back the warmth to the grounnnnnnnnddddddddd

Bringing back the warmth to the grounnnnnnnnnddd

Bringing back the warmth to the grounnnnnnnd

 

ALL/FREE FOR ALL (mind the change of lyrics since the recording to “fluttering her skirts all around”)

JUST THE FOLLOW PART

0b678366980d3ce2b9f2be335627e846index

 

Kangaroo Paw Flowers