Time and Tune: Hassebu

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started14th Jan 1971
ended25th Mar 1971
last rpt28th Mar 1974
4 school years
duration20 mins
subject 🎶MusicMusic
age rangeAge 7-9
languageenIn English
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Hassebu is a unit of the BBC schools radio series Time and Tune from the 1970s, covering Music for primary school pupils.

An adaptation of a folk tale from Zanzibar. Hassebu was a very lazy boy who did not like to work. One day he and some other boys go out into the jungle and discover a honey well. The other boys take the honey to sell and leave Hassebu at the bottom of the well, where he discovers a secret passage leading to the King of Snakes' cave. Hassebu learns all the secrets of the snakes, and when he leaves the King places a mark on his back to protect him from jungle animals.

Later Hassebu is spotted by the Sultan's guards. The Sultan had eaten the honey and become ill, and only the King of Snakes can save him. Hassebu goes to find the magic spell that will cure the Sultan and save his friends.

Hassebu was Time and Tune's first experimental cantata, with a complete set of original songs and narrative telling one story. Most of the episodes consisted of the usual teaching of songs, along with activities in which listeners could create their own spells and charms - the narrative was not included. The final episode was a complete performance of Hassebu with the songs and narration in order, and some "spells and charms" written by listeners and recited by the snake. Schools could mount this version of Hassebu as their own performance.

To the best of my knowledge, no recordings of episodes from this unit have been kept by the BBC archives, but a recording of the performance was issued on LP.


The seven songs from Hassebu, with a short extract from each.

SongLazy Coconut Tree

Like the lazy Coconut, Coconut Tree.
Like the lazy Coconut, Coconut Tree.

SongJungle Rain

Jungle rain, jungle rain,
Come and have fun in the jungle rain.

SongThe Honey Well

Now we've found the Honey Well,
We'll be rich as kings.


The snake goes softly by.
Sssssssoftly by,
Sssssssoftly by.

SongThe Rivery Song

While the river goes flowing sweetly by,
While the river goes flowing by.

SongLet's Make a Magic Spell

Ev'rybody listen,
See if you can tell.
Ah well, no spell!


Now that I've discovered
That I'm happy to be me.


Hassebu Written by John Emlyn Edwards
Music by Douglas Coombes
Pamphlet illustrated by John Griffiths
Time and Tune Written & Produced by Douglas Coombes


The series was broadcast in Spring 1971, and again in Spring 1974. In both terms it went out on Thursdays at 11:00-11:20am.

# Title Broadcast (1971) Broadcast (1974)
1. Broadcast eleven 14 Jan 1971 17 Jan 1974
2. Broadcast twelve 21 Jan 1971 24 Jan 1974
3. Broadcast thirteen 28 Jan 1971 31 Jan 1974
4. Broadcast fourteen 4 Feb 1971 7 Feb 1974
5. Broadcast fifteen 11 Feb 1971 14 Feb 1974
6. Broadcast sixteen 18 Feb 1971 28 Feb 1974
7. Broadcast seventeen 4 Mar 1971 7 Mar 1974
8. Broadcast eighteen 11 Mar 1971 14 Mar 1974
9. Broadcast nineteen 18 Mar 1971 21 Mar 1974
10. Broadcast twenty (concert) 25 Mar 1971 28 Mar 1974


The unit was accompanied by the usual pupils' pamphlet (price 11d, or 4½p) and teacher's notes when it was broadcast in 1971. The same pupils' pamphlet was reprinted when the unit was repeated in 1974, but a new set of teacher's notes was produced.

Hassebu proved so successful that a separate pupils' book (price 20p) and teacher's book (price 35p) were put out by BBC Publications for sale to the general public.

The cantata was also included on the first Time and Tune LP, in the BBC Records Study Series, catalogue number RESR 23.


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