Bruce Cockburn, Canadian recording artist.
This is a fabulous acoustic guitar song, written by popular Canadian recording artist Bruce Cockburn in 1979.
When looking for a uke version of this song, Wondering Where the Lions Are, I came across multiple postings in the Key of D. Playing through the arrangement in this key was actually quite enjoyable, trying to sing in it did not jive. And it did NOT sound the way I heard it in my head. I immediately transposed it to Key of G. Not as fun to play because the arrangement in D has this nice flip around the G chord and Em7 chord, which was fun. In the Key of G, you get G then C and there’s nothing to accompany that, however, it sounded closer to how I hear it in my head.
I consulted with tunebat.com, which gave me the key of A Major. I did a quick transpose on the fly in that key, which has chords A, D and then Bm and A for the chorus. Which is fine, but still is not the original key. It does sound nice played together, though, but I found it a little bit too high for myself to sing. I have a bit of a mid-range voice, though I can go high, it is only temporary and I can’t do it unless I have warmed up, like if I’ve been singing songs for about half an hour already.
That being said, after listening to the recording on Youtube over and over, I finally hit on an F chord that matched. Then followed B flat and G minor. Now, most regular and beginner uke players just do not enjoy playing B flat and so they tend to avoid playing songs in the Key of F, or try to transpose it out of F and into a more Player Friendly Key. Now imagine, you dislike B flat to begin with, PLUS you are given G minor in the chorus. F is a fairly easy chord, but those are two tricky chords for a 3-Chord Song. I’m trying to offer song arrangements in the Player Friendly/User Friendly category. And anyone who says, “all you have to do to get to Gm from the F chord is just keep your fingers in the F chord position and simply move them over one string each, then apply your ring finger to the third string” is a jerk. By the time you look at your uke fret to get that third finger on there and lose your place on the song sheet – guess what? It’s time to go back to F chord. So Key of F for this song = NOT Player Friendly.
The reason I decided to transpose it from the internet offerings in the Key of D was, just so much fun going back and forth between D chord and Em chord for the chorus, meaning it was an absolute CHORE! A finger-fumbling work-out! And he sings “I’m wondering where the lions are” 6 times, then “uuh huh” twice more after that, making it a well-rounded 8 measures.
Since the song was recorded in the Key of F, which I am offering an arrangement of today, I went with the transposition into the Key of G, which is only 1 note higher, and a little bit more Player Friendly, plus I think the Am sounds great in the chorus. It’s still a bit low for singing, but maybe those ukers with the low voices will enjoy it well enough. If you still feel it’s a bit too low for you, check out the other arrangements I mentioned that are available at various internet sites in the Key of D, or transpose it to the key of A. In my arrangement in the key of G, substitute A chord for G, D chord for C, and Bm for the Am in the chorus. Once again, this is 1 full note higher. See what I did there? I pretty much taught ya how to transpose!