Monkey's Wedding

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MONKEY'S WEDDING. AKA - "The Monkey Married the Baboon's Sister," "Oh the Monkey Marry to the Baboon Sister," "Paw Paw Patch," "Ten Little Indians." English, American, Canadian; Air (2/4 time), Two-step, March. A 'monkey's wedding' is a term for a sunshower (i.e. when it lightly rains but the sun shines through) in South Africa, but also in other parts of the English-speaking world as well. In fact, there are a variety of similar terms cross-culturally throughout the world, often involving inter-species marrying (or sometimes referencing the Devil) descriptive of the phenomenon.

However, "The Monkey's Wedding" is also a widespread and old comic song (that may pre-date the sunshower-phrase), but most often heard nowadays (when it is heard) as a children's song. Variants, sometimes quite distanced, can be found throughout the English-speaking world (see Mudcat discussion [1]). The following opening stanza is from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag (1927):

The monkey married the baboon's sister,
Gave her a ring and then he kissed her.
She set up a yell.
The bridesmaid stuck on some court-plaster.
It stuck so fast it couldn't stick faster.
Surely 'twas a sad disaster,
But it soon got well.

The song is older that Sandburg's volume, however, and was published in W. E Tunis' The Shilling Song Book (1860, Niagara Falls, N.Y., p. 16) nearly word-for-word. Eileen Southern (The Music of Black Americans, 1983, p. 186) maintains it was a plantation fiddle tune from the antebellum South.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources:

Recorded sources: RCA Victor LCP 1001, Ned Landry and his New Brunswick Lumberjacks - "Bowing the Strings with Ned Landry."

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Hear Ned Landry's version at Ted McGraw's site [3]




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