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The Swinging Bush Ballads Of Australia

The Swinging Bush Ballads Of Australia

It is the living and surviving experiences of people in Australian bush that has led to the songs and music, commonly known as ‘bush music’ in Australia. These songs are made by the ordinary individuals and showcase the colorful slang that was in vogue in the bush life.

The bush music was based on the convict songs that were sung in the early days of colonies in Australia. The bush ballads composed of the ruthless life as well as events and experiences, the lives of bolters, drovers, bushrangers, swagmen, and shearers. Later, the music included themes about war experiences, unions, and railways.

The bush ballad, Waltzing Matilda became the most famed and is the unofficial national song of Australia that deals with a swagman shearer. A good number of songs and lyrics were later composed and published that after writing them down for private use. They were taken as among the oral tradition, as found in folk music and played during Wedding bush dance in Melbourne.

The Swinging Bush Ballads Of Australia

Bushranger Ballads

Many of the bush songs were invented by convicts that dealt with escaped convicts, also known as bushrangers. One finds a slew of ballads that dealt with ‘Bold’ Jack Donohoe, the young Irish convict who later became a bushranger and was shot dead in 1830. As part of defiance, these ballads were sung for decades. The most common ballad of about Jack Donohoe might have been ‘The wild colonial boy’. Bold Jack Donohoe was sung in the shearers’ strike of 1891as a voice of the shearers meant in opposition to the squatters and also the government.

The slaying of bushranger Ben Hall was recorded by the bushranging ballad Streets that was taken to be undertaken in 1865 by police troopers.

Overlanders – Stockmen’s And Drover’s Songs

Following the gold rushes, the drovers and shearers made songs and ballads that later became the oral tradition of bush music in Australia. Perhaps, the most popular song of the shearer, Click go the shears, made use of the tune and some text from the civil war song of America.

‘Overlanders’, also known as drovers and stockmen, became the developers and prided about the skills that were needed to drive over long distances herds of cattle and sheep. One can find the expression of this in many ballads and songs like Kings of the Earth sung by Ogilvie that are played during Bush dances for wedding in Melbourne; some of the best known droving songs were composed by Graham Jenkin and Lionel Long that were the favorite Australian bush songs. The songs that could be found included ‘The drovers song’, ‘The drovers dream’, and ‘The Queensland drover’, with some rousing chorus.

Author: Shenanigans Bush Band is a well-known musical Bush band in Melbourne playing some enchanting music during Bush dances for wedding in Melbourne and other parts of Australia and overseas as well.

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