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KMEK Workshop Highlights

This Saturday, Kodaly Music Educators of Kansas hosted Amy Abbott from Music a la Abbott in Wichita for our Spring KMEK workshop.

Over 60 teachers from Kansas and neighboring states attended Amy's session, "Say, Say, Oh Playmate,"  which was packed full of fun singing games for upper elementary. Those are the kids that I am always finding I am needing additional resources and games for, or maybe I just get bored of some of the ones I have... I don't know. Either way, this session was just what we needed to motivate us to keep the joy going in the music class as the end of the year draws near.

Amy has so graciously said I can share some videos that fellow KMEK members shared and I will try to cite where the songs come from.

I definitely recommend looking into these sources for more information as well as having your local Kodaly chapter invite Amy out. I can say that she was definitely among my favorite presenters! :)

Little Swallow - stick passing game
Source: 150 American Folk Songs

Epo I Tai Tai - performed in 4 part canon.
Source: Amy learned this song from Susan Brumfield. If you have a primary source, please let me know.

One, Two, Three O'Leary

Crosstown (When Billy Was One)
Source: Amy learned this from Kathy Hickey. If you have more source information, please let me know!

Cobbler,Cobbler (Pass the Shoe)
Source: Jill Trinka

Have you played any of these before? I hope you enjoyed a peek into our workshop. We definitely have some amazing things going on in Kansas. We hope you can join us in Wichita for MKMEA 2015 this October!


  1. E Poi Tai Tai E is a Maori song for tititorea. I wonder if Chelsea McKinnon would have a primary source? I really enjoyed her guest post :)

  2. Dr. Hickey got When Billy Was One from Sail Away, number 99.

  3. Also, Oh my goodness, I thought Epo E Tai tai E was Hawaiian, but look what I just found in this google search! It's vulgar! And I've been teaching it to Kindergarten! Thanks John Feierabend!
    During World War 2 Les Cleveland collected many NZ soldiers' songs, including this bawdy variant of E Puru Taitama sung in Italy by Maori infantrymen.

    E pō i taitai e!
    E pō i taitai e!
    E pō i taitai,
    E pō i tukituki!
    E pō i taitai e!

    At night up high!
    At night up high!
    At night up high!
    At night, thrusting!
    At night up high!
    When I phoned Les in 2005, he said he had no further details about that song, because a German shell had blown up his notebook! But postwar usage indicates that the soldiers probably used it as a salty commentary after less explicit love songs.

    My guess is that the soldiers were adding this salty chorus to sentimental songs like Lili Marlene, to describe what "Lili" was usually waiting for.

    "Underneath the lantern by the barrack gate,
    darling I remember the way you used to wait...
    E po e taitai e! E po e taitai e!
    E po e taitai, e po e tukituki..."
    Certainly the chorus was used that way by Pakeha soldiers who brought the song back from Italy with them. Al Young recalled how, as a young boy in 1950, he heard ex-servicemen in Otago singing...

    Close the door, they're coming through the window
    Close the window, they're climbing up the stairs
    Close the roof they're coming through the ceiling
    Those Ta-ta-ta, Ta-ta, Ta-ta, Ta-ta are everywhere.
    E po i taitai e! E po i taitai e!
    E po i taitai, e po i tukituki!
    E po i taitai e!
    ... no doubt recalling how they were overwhelmed by sexually starved young women when they returned home to Otago after six years away at war.

    1. Amy didn't tell us what that one was about. She said we'd have to look it up on our own!

    2. Yep, I did say you'd have to look it up. It is vulgar... I never teach what it means. ;)

  4. Hi -- I'm trying to find the source for this as well, and just so you know, here's some info that I have gathered over the years. No one seems to really know! (From Christopher Roberts, Seattle WA)
    This song has been found in song collections from around the world, and has often been translated as “I will be happy.” This appears to be incorrect. Other translations include references to drinking alcohol, and one another finds the following translation:
    At night up high, eh, at night up high, eh!
    At night up high, at night thrusting!
    At night up high, eh!
    There does not appear to be agreement on the meaning, but teachers should be aware of the potential issues. Information per:
    Archer, J. (2007). The little Waiata that ran away: Songs from the Maori-Pakeha cultural interface. Journal of Folklore Research, 44(2-3), 239-247.

    1. Thanks for sharing what you know! It's such a lovely song, too bad the true meaning could potentially be pretty vulgar.