“Sumer Is Icumen In” (Wicker Man Version)

Happy Summer Solstice! Y’know, unless, like Sergeant Howie here, you’re not into that sort of thing…

SPOILER ALERT. Don’t watch if you haven’t seen The Wicker Man before! Rent the full film.

Summer is Icumen in,
Loudly sing, cuckoo!
Grows the seed and blows the mead,
And springs the wood anew;
Sing, cuckoo!
Ewe bleats harshly after lamb,
Cows after calves make moo;
Bullock stamps and deer champs,
Now shrilly sing, cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo
Wild bird are you;
Be never still, cuckoo!

Sumer Is Icumen In“, a traditional English round, is one of the oldest known pieces of polyphonic music in existence, dating back to the early 13th century. It’s actually a song celebrating the advent of spring (or Christ’s crucfixion, depending on what translation you favor), not summer. Yet it always seems ends up in my stereo on June 21st.

The entire original Wicker Man soundtrack, arranged and recorded by Paul Giovanni and Magnet, is recommended listening on this, the longest day of the year.

An early Middle English form of notation, showing performers how to sing in a round.

7 Responses to ““Sumer Is Icumen In” (Wicker Man Version)”

  1. Keith Says:

    You mean we can just listen tot he soundtrack and don’t have to sacrifice a virgin police officer? I think I’ just wasted a lot of my day.

  2. Ben Morris Says:

    Ohh, this is oh so very appropriate for the day, both Wicker Man and Sumer Is Icumen In!

    Regarding early polyphonic music in general however my favorite is the music of PĂ©rotin, specifically his Viderunt omnes (most likely written in 1198).

  3. James Shearhart Says:

    No! Not the bees! Oh, wait, this is a proper movie. Right….

    Also, nice post. Makes me wanna make a man-like figure and burn it out on Baker Beach….

  4. Mer Says:


  5. Dave C Says:

    Hail the Queen of the May!

  6. .typhoid Says:


  7. bjacques Says:

    Summer arrived just in time here. Otherwise I’d be singing Ezra Pound’s version:

    Winter is icumen in
    Lhude singe goddamn
    Raineth drop and staineth slop
    And how the wind doth ram!