Wednesday, December 12

South of Timbuktu

Shannon, Alex and I were recently discussing Christmas songs about animals. Alex had just introduced us to "Dominick the Donkey"and of course there is "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" and I guess "Christmas Don't be Late" might count [make sure to watch this video, as it's both informative and weird], because it is sung by chipmunks, at least. But some of you out there already know where I'm going with this. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to mention "Santa's Using Zebras Now". For those who don't know, this is a piece of piano sheet music that's been floating around the Blockburger home for decades now.

"Santa's Using Zebras Now" is about a kid in Africa that writes Santa a letter, but when Santa tries to go down there to give him presents, the reindeer revolt because it's too hot. (Apparently, until 1968 Santa just ignored much of the African continent.) So, Santa starts using zebras south of Timbuktu. Not surprisingly, neither Alex nor Shannon had heard of this song, so I set about googling it. As it turns out "Santa's Using Zebras Now" turns up only 17 hits on the whole internet. Maybe someone else does know the song! But no, they don't. The #1 hit on google turns out to be my cousin's blog. His last name isn't Blockburger, but he is from the Blockburger side of the family. But it's not even him that is writing about it, the reference to the song is found in a comment posted by "Cousin S" who is my sister. It turns out that the Blockburgers are the world's leading scholars on "Santa's Using Zebras Now". [And with any luck, this blog post will soon be the number 1 result on google.]

And now, for all you non-Blockburgers out there, I present perhaps the only audio copy of this song on the internet, brought to you by Mrs. Anderson's 2nd grade class: "Santa's Using Zebras Now".

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually I heard this song at a Uintah School Christmas program years ago. It may have been Stewart's grade singing, which would place it around 1987, give or take a few years. I'll bet Sabrina's mom, Judy, remembers it, because she led quite a few third grade choruses back then. Ah, another song retrieved from the golden oldie archives of music history!
By the way, how do you find this stuff? That donkey thing was just plain dippy!

Shanny said...

Well, I'm intrigued. Who is anonymous?

W.L.Platt said...

Loved the donkey. The chipmunk lip-sinc was strange. The hippos were okay. But I could not open the link to the zebras! Do the Blockburgers ever share their sheet music? I assume there is not copyright problem with this. I'd love the music - never heard of this song! Could become a new classic.

Lucile/Lisa said...

"I didn't mean to be anonymous," she said in a small voice. "I'm just a little ditzy when it comes to figuring out anything to do with computers." She paused significantly and sighed, her eyes misty with meaningful memories dredged up from her distant, pastoral past. "Actually I have an excuse. You see, I was born in Delta, Utah. Too much farm blood in me, I suppose."

Chris said...

Bethletard,

I just googled to try to find this song. My mother would have us sing it when I was a child. The last time I was stationed in Africa - I taught it to my kids (who were really cute at the Christmas party). Now I back in Africa and but our shipment won't arrive before Christmas. Any chance you could scan a copy? I'm not a good enough pianist to do this by ear (nor from memory).

I thought my family was the only one that sang that.
Chris

Clark said...

Chris,

Sadly, I don't have a copy of the song. It is somewhere at my parents house, which is a few hundred miles away. However, my sisters blog has some more information that might help. You can check out her blog post: http://suzannerene.blogspot.com/2007/12/santas-using-zebras-now.html

Mando said...

You have made my day. I sang this song when I was in grade school and have been looking for it for three years for my groups to arrange for our annual Christmas Show. I knew most of it from memory (al least the melody) but not all the lyrics. Now Im all set. Nice work.

b.c. said...

we sang this song in my high school chorus, too - maybe it's just something that choir people know?

Anonymous said...

i sang this song in the 4th grade. circa 1974. was trying to remember the words. glad i found this site

julia f. Baca said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Darleth Das said...

I sang this song way back & was desperate for the lyrics...thank you so much..I'm all set to pass this beautiful song onto the next generation!!

knitnoid said...

I just heard of this song last night when I was flipping through my sister in laws Christmas piano book. To cute.

Anonymous said...

There was a book too, I remember it from elementary school, I remember the pictures but have been unsuccessful in finding it as an adult