Bruce William Woodley (born 25 July 1942 in Melbourne), Australian singer-songwriter and musician. He was a founding member of the successful 1960s pop-folk group The Seekers.
Then and now images: Bruce Woodley is on the right in the first pic and on the left in the second. Other original group members: Judith Durham, Athol Guy and Keith Potger.
The Seekers' songs were mainly sweet and gentle: The Carnival is Over and A World of Our Own spring to mind first. The group also recorded Kumbaya, my Lord - a little information on that, of which I wasn't previously aware - ain't Google great?
"Kumbaya, my Lord" was first recorded by an out-of-work English professor, Robert Winslow Gordon, in 1927. Gordon went on a search for black spirituals and recorded a song "Come by Here, My Lord", sung by H. Wylie. The song was sung in Gullah on the islands of South Carolina between Charleston and Beaufort. Gullah is the creole language featured in the Uncle Remus series of Joel Chandler Harris and the Walt Disney production of Song of the South. "Come by here, my Lord" in Gullah is "Kum by (h)yuh, my lawd" (see our Gullah dictionary).
American missionaries took the song to Angola after its publication in the 1930s, where its origins were forgotten. In the late 1950s the song was rediscovered in Angola and returned to North American where it swept the campfire circuit as a beautiful and mysterious religious lyric. That is why the song is associated with Angola in many current printed versions.
In the US, however, the song was associated with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other campers sitting around a campfire in perfect harmony. The picture of a warm, cozy community without conflict associated itself with the song and especially that foreign-sounding word in its title, kumbaya. Since the word had no actual meaning in English, cynics eventually converted this harmless connotation into the actual English definition of the word. That definition now seems to be "naive, unrealistic optimism" to many of us.
"Naive, unrealistic optimism"? At this point in the 2016 election season my own naive unrealistic optimism has taken a hike, I can barely see its backpack disappearing over the far horizon - and nary a wave farewell!
This song is striking a rather unrealistic note, as things are right now - but it's a pleasant enough tune: