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The Cuckoo: A chart topper since the 1200’s

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The English folk song “The Cuckoo,” often sung as a round or canon, celebrated the arrival of summer, recalling the sights and sounds of English barnyards and meadows. Some scholars consider the song a parody and possibly too coarse for polite society. The manuscript in which it is preserved was copied between 1261 and 1264. The song evolved into a more poetic form and became part of the English folk song lexicon. Give a listen to this transitional version where “she never sings cuckoo ’til summer is near.” Now that’s old-time music!