Wondering Where the                     Lions Are

Bruce Cockburn:  Wondering Where the Lions Are

Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda

 "Walls windows trees, waves coming through"

"down in the valley where the river used to be"

"fat boy"--- a nuclear bomb

 "Huge orange flying boat rises off a lake"

"Young men marching, helmets shining in the sun, polished as precise like the brain behind the gun"

 "Freighters on the nod on the surface of the bay"

" And I'm wondering where the lions are"

Where are the leaders when we need them?

artist:  Bruce Cockburn

songwriter:  Bruce Cockburn

date released:  1979 by Bruce Cockburn

And you thought this song was about lions?  Think again.  Through the infectious West Indian rhythms comes some sobering Coburn thoughts:  "Everyone dies, and it's all over the place.  Could the huge orange boat rising off the lake be the mushroom of an atomic bomb?  Nature's dying and the rivers are dried up after a nuclear holocaust, there are soldiers marching.   And as he lay dying, he is  thinking about eternity and some kind of ecstasy got a hold on him. Where are the leaders, the lions, who are in charge of this global mess?"  

Nineteen seventy-nine was a frightening place for this fledgling singer-songwriter from Ottawa.  Sino-Russo tensions were heating about along their border, and no one really knew the nuclear capacity of either country.  Just waking up to sunshine and dreaming of lions was a blessing to young Coburn.

Bruce Cockburn was born in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1945.  He spent his early years growing up on a farm in Pembroke, Ontario, where he found his first guitar in his grandmother's attic.  

While Cockburn was popular as a singer-songwriter in Canada in the folk, rock and jazz traditions, he burst onto the American music scene in 1979 with his hit single, "Wondering Where The Lions Are."  

Cockburn's songwriting is a work in progress. Thematically, his songs exhibit a wide range of social commentary, beginning with the urban,  moving on to the global and then addressing the political affairs of the world.   Political activism took him to various troubled parts of the world where he was also to absorb their musical influences:  Reggae, Latin, West African Kora, blues, etc.  

In his lifetime, Cockburn received five honorary doctorates, most recently an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Memorial University of Newfoundland.  

Cockburn was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1982 and was promoted to Officer in 2002.  In 2001, Cockburn was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.