Tuesday, September 2, 2014


As my theme this year is "Music Around the World," I've been looking into lots of different folk songs from around the world.  I found this little gem, Kokoleoko.  I've found it in several different places, all slightly different versions.  The version below is the most common, found in "Spotlight on Music, Grade 5," as well as several South American sources.

If you change one note of this song (the f sharp to an a), it is a great recorder piece - using only the notes G-A-B-C, as shown in this example:

The translation is pretty simple.  Apparently "Kokoleoko" is just another way of saying "cock-a-doodle-doo," and "ahby" is "goodbye."

Now, each source I find this song says something different about where exactly it's from.  Most often, they say either Liberia or Ghana.  So, I've just labeled it as a West African folk song to be more accurate.

Anyway, this song is great for teaching the half note, which I do in 2nd grade.  We spend awhile preparing, using songs that have half notes, before actually labeling what they are.  This song is also great if you bring it back in the end of 3rd/beginning of 4th, or whenever you teach syncopation.

There is a clapping game that goes with this.  It looks more complicated than it actually is.  My 2nd graders are challenged by this, but really enjoy doing it.  You can watch an example below:

I recently made a Teachers Pay Teachers product for this song that has rhythmic practice slides, melodic practice slides, clapping game instructions, and notation for both voice in the original version and recorder in the revised version.

There is even a great treble choral arrangement out there by Mary Donnelly and George Strid.  Here's a cute recording I found of it on YouTube:

Hope you can find use for this great song!  My kids are absolutely loving it :)


  1. So cool!! I sing this in my choir!

  2. So cool!! I sing this in my choir!

  3. Hi there!! I'm gonna act out this song, with my little musicians, and I was looking for information, about its origin. You've been of GRAAAAADE help. Thanks a lot.

  4. I love finding songs I've never heard before! I'm not sure how I feel about finally tackling the clapping games at my school but we will see.

  5. I agree that this is a nice find. Will have fun with my G3 kids :)