Sample Lyrics
"Under the Bamboo Tree"
Words and Music by Bob Cole and J. Rosamund Johnson

underbamboo.jpg (18970 bytes)This song was a popular favorite for generations, even though the lyric (authored by African Americans) would be found terribly offensive today. Songwriters Cole and Johnson introduced the tune in their popular vaudeville act. It was interpolated in the Broadway musical Sally in Our Alley (1902), where it was introduced by Marie Cahill. The song went over so well that she had to reprise it in her next show, Nancy Brown (1903). Many will recognize this as the song and dance duet shared by Judy Garland and Margaret O'Brien in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). 

This is the lyric as it appears in the original sheet music published by Jos. W. Stern & Co, NY in 1902. That edition inaccurately describes the composers as brothers, and only attributes the song to Cole.


Verse 1
Down in the jungles lived a maid,
Of royal blood though dusky shade,
A marked impression once she made,
Upon a Zulu from Matabooloo;
And ev'ry morning he would be
Down underneath the bamboo tree,
Awaiting there his love to see
And then to her he'd sing:

Chorus
If you lak-a-me lak I lak-a-you
And we lak-a-both the same,
I lak-a-say,
This very day,
I lak-a change your name;
'Cause I love-a-you and love-a you true
And if you-a love-a me.
One live as two, two live as one,
Under the bamboo tree.

Verse 2
And in this simple jungle way,
He wooed the maiden ev'ry day,
By singing what he had to say;
One day he seized her
And gently squeezed her.
And then beneath the bamboo green,
He begged her to become his queen;
The dusky maiden blushed unseen
And joined him in his song.

Chorus
If you lak-a-me lak I lak-a-you
And we lak-a-both the same,
I lak-a-say,
This very day,
I lak-a change your name;
'Cause I love-a-you and love-a you true
And if you-a love-a me.
One live as two, two live as one,
Under the bamboo tree.

Verse 3
This little story strange but true,
Is often told in Mataboo,
Of how this Zulu tried to woo
His jungle lady
In tropics shady;
Although the scene was miles away,
Right here at home I dare to say,
You'll hear some Zulu ev'ry day,
Gush out this soft refrain:

Chorus
If you lak-a-me lak I lak-a-you
And we lak-a-both the same,
I lak-a-say,
This very day,
I lak-a change your name;
'Cause I love-a-you and love-a you true
And if you-a love-a me.
One live as two, two live as one,
Under the bamboo tree.

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