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This version of the folk song Darling Johnny O is derived from the SSA arrangment, which was in turn based on the unaccompanied mixed voice choir arrangement found in my Four New Zealand Folk Songs arranged in 1999. The original version is found in Neil Colquhon's collection Song of a Young Country: New Zealand folksongs published by A.H. and A.W. Reed. Bot the words and the music are anonymous.
New Zealand is too young a country to have a true 'folk' tradition and much folk music is really variants of earlier British songs, often with local names and places substituted for the originals.
This version was made at the requested of mezzo-soprano Margo Knightbridge who had sung the SSA version as a member of the vocal group The Three Mezzos.
Darling Johnny O is in the tradition of love ballads. A young woman sings of her love who, having signed onto a ship, has not been heard from for a long time. She sings proudly of her lost love and vows to travel wherever necessary to find him.
Written for Margo Knightbridge