Bowdrill

Humorous song about fire by friction.

Traditional folk melody and chorus with new words by Sarah Pirtle, 2005.

Lyrics

I want to build a fire. Oh, layo lakee ya.

And watch the flames grow higher. Oh, layo lakee ya.

But there is just one catch. Oh, layo lakee ya.

I do not have a match. Oh, layo lakee ya.

So my friend said to me. Oh, layo lakee ya.

I have a bowdrill. Wait and see. Oh, layo lakee ya.

Come into the forest glade. Oh, layo lakee ya.

Here is a bowdrill I have made. Oh, layo lakee ya.

 

Chorus

Oh, layo lakee ya. (8 times)

 

So we knelt and pulled the bow. Oh, layo lakee ya.

Back and forth that bow did go. Oh, layo lakee ya.

First a spark, then a glow. Oh, layo lakee ya.

And we helped that fire grow. Oh, layo lakee ya.

Yes, it’s true it may take time. Oh, layo lakee ya.

But this gift is yours and mine. Oh, layo lakee ya.

The first people passed it down. Oh, layo lakee ya.

And we will pass it on and on. Oh, layo lakee ya.

 

Chorus:

Oh, layo lakee ya. (8 times)

Production: Engineered by Loren Feinstein, Colrain, MA.

Story of this Song

Staff trained at Vermont Wilderness School brought bowdrills they made to Journey Camp, showed how to make and use them, and taught their significance. At the same time children from the Hilltown Charter School were singing a “Layo Lakee Ya” song. The steady rhythm complimented the bowdrills. I created new words which are done with the hand clap pattern they taught us.

Hand clap: Clap your hand. Drop that palm to your thigh. Cross over to the other leg.
On that new side rise up and tap that elbow and then up to that same palm which initiates the same thing on the other side -- clap, drop, cross, elbow.