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On the Road to Mandalay

Posted by Mike Moss, written by Oley Speaks


- Play count: 69

Size: 5,962kb, uploaded 4/24/2013 8:44:53 AM
Genre: Unknown/None Chosen / Playing Style: Unknown/None Chosen

The banjo is featured in several of Rudyard Kipling's poems, including this one from the Barrack-Room Ballads: Mandalay. This one was famously made into a song by Oley Speaks which only included three verses. My "sing-along" arrangement only includes the first and last, but as you can see in the attached sheet music, it is quite possible to sing the entire poem simply by repeating the entire song with the first ending before finishing with the final flourish. Rudyard Kipling wrote this poem after returning from Rangoon to England; on the way, his steamer made a stop at Moulmein (nowadays called Mawlamyine), where he was struck by the beauty of the Burmese women. The poem is a tale of longing of a soldier who wishes to return to a simpler, healthier life and to the girl he left behind in Burma. Note that, in the poem, the girl plays the banjo -- what more can a man ask for? You can download the sheet music for my arrangement here: This style of playing is known as Classic fingerstyle banjo. For more information visit:

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