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Giant Gippsland Earthworm


Not cute and furry like a koala nor as majestic as a blue whale
Evolution's not just a beauty contest where being boring's a fail
But we humans help some endangered species
Much more just 'cos they're gorgeous
It's survival of the fair featured-est
Unnatural selection
They net all the affection
While others don't get more than a mention
So if you live in dark damp place and don't have a face
Your plight as a threatened entity might not attract much attention

So let the Giant Gippsland Earthworm remind us from the start
That in nature every creature plays a part
Create a movement underground
And make that groovy gurgling sound
Let it be a call to arms for those without
Diversity is what it's all about

The Giant Gippsland Earthworm
In Boonwurrung is called Karmai
Takes 5 years to mature, then makes one baby at a time, that's why
Megascolides australis needs us to guard its habitat
And being 1 to 3 metres long, it needs rather a lot of that

So let the Giant Gippsland Earthworm remind us from the start
That in nature every creature plays a part
Every fungus, plant and microbe
Has a mighty vital role, you know, as populations flow and ebb in this symbiotic web

Weeds, parasites and diseases, though they don't please us they have their reasons
Just like the seasons and the bacteria in your guts
We’re poisoning pests and overcleaning, excessively intervening
We need some weening before the door to nature's way shuts

For the soil, the sea and you and me, we need
Balance in what we think, balance in what we do
Balance in what we eat, you can't just have pavlova

Balance in what we grow, balance in what we know
Balance in how we move, otherwise you just fall over

But these underground dwellers are down to earth fellas
They can't fall any further, although
If that’s a metaphor
Their numbers need some more
  And up's the way to go!

Let the Giant Gippsland Earthworm remind us everyday
May its largeness bring largess in every way
Create a movement underground
And make that groovy gurgling sound
Let it be a call to arms for those without
Diversity is what it's all about

@Mal Webb 2021

I was asked to be involved in the SwitchOn Global Telethon for World Environment Day, and I saw that several of the artists involved were writing songs about key endangered species. The more I read about it, the more I noticed that all the attention was going to species that happen to have the good fortune of being cute, furry, majestic, intelligent and/or glamorous. Oh, the injustice! So I contributed this song about the Giant Gippsland Earthworm in attempt to address the balance. The song's rhythm is 7/8 with 5 across it (a blurred polypolyrhythm): The mbira is in 7/8 throughout the song, except for the intro, where it, like everything else in the song except for the chorus, is 5 in the space of the 7/8 bar. It's such a nice sploodgy rhythm!

Harmonically, it's based around the mbira in my "carrot" tuning (in A major, but with the 7th in the bottom octave flattened, so as well all the A major modes, I have a G major chord to use).

To hear/buy the studio version, go to: https://switchontelethon.bandcamp.com/track/giant-gippsland-earthworm and to hear our live performance of it on the telethon, go to 1:03:07 of https://fb.watch/5WGC-NCau4/