The Cuckoo is a Pretty Bird – Appalachian Songbook Series


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The Cuckoo is a Pretty Bird - Appalachian Songbook Series

27″w X 33″H
Hemp – hand dyed, screen printed and embroidered

This folk-lyric song dates back to 13th century Britain, possibly the oldest English lyric song with  continued popularity to modern times. The cuckoo bird is an ancient symbol for the coming of summer as well as a classical symbol of fickleness.  A “cuckold” in early England was the slang term defining a man whose wife had been unfaithful, relating this to the behavior of cuckoo birds who lay their eggs in the nest of other species. It has been recorded numerous times, including renditions by Bob Dylan, Jean Ritchie, Peter Paul and Mary, Doc Watson, Tom Rush and countless others.  It almost always includes the refrain: “The cuckoo is a pretty bird, she sings as she flies; she brings us glad tidings, and she tells us no lies.”

The Cuckoo is a Pretty Bird - Appalachian Songbook Series, detail

Detail image