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In my New Zealand bird songs, I bring into the music the notes of the birds - the cooing of the wood-pigeons, the hoot of the "more-pork" or little owl, the plaintive roundelay of the "riro-riro" or rain-bird, and the chiming notes of the bell-birds. For instance, the rippling guitar accompaniment of The Bell-Birds, reproduces nearly as possible the notes of bell-bird chorus, which can be heard at dawn and dusk in certain parts of New Zealand. This song incidentally, is perhaps the saddest I have ever written, having the tragic theme of love in war-time. In two world wars, many thousands of our young men were sent far from their homes to flight and die under foreign skies, and their ordeal was made even harder by separation.
Text by Willow Macky