Bele Mama – Cameroon, West Africa

This is a great ice-breaker of a song! The perfect opener. It gets your group singing in harmony in a matter of minutes. Possible meaning is “Mama come out and play!” When I first learned this, I learned that it was from the Torres Straight Islands and that it meant “Beautiful Earth.” The more research I do, the more I find that it’s actually from West Africa and has traveled and traveled far and wide. I learned it off of a “WombSong” CD. Enjoy!

This song is in the public domain
Arrangement by Heather Houston


Bele mama, bele mama ee ay
Bele mama, bele mama ee ay
Bele mama, bele mama, bele mama, bele mama,
Bele mama, bele mama ee eh

Earth My Body – Source Unknown

I’ve known and sung this beautiful chant in women’s circles for many years. It’s an invitation to feel one with the Earth, a reminder of our sacred connection to and responsibility for the more than human world. The composer is unknown, and the song is in the public domain.

Arrangement by Heather Houston


Earth my body,
Water my blood,
Air my breath
and fire my spirit

Rainforest Chant from Ituri Rainforest (Democratic Republic of Congo)

I learned this chant from Silvia Nakkach and Alba Lirio. Brought to Silvia and Alba through Ysaye Barnwell. Quote from Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock: “[This chant is] Sung to pull all of the members of the community into the center of the community. It can be sung for hours and, some people say, even days. If that’s what it takes to pull everyone into a like‐mindedness.” I’ve also heard that the chief of the village would know that it was time to resolve a conflict when he could hear a melody being sung over the top with overtones. And I actually hear it one time, with my very first circle of song circle trainees! Amazing!

A real crowd pleaser in my circles, and beautiful way to entrain the group. Can be done more slowly at first.

This song is in the public domain.


Ama ee boo oh ee ay
Ama ee boo oh ee ay

How Sweet the Sound by Doug Vonkoss

A dreamy song that I learned around the campfire at Song Village. It can be sung just as is, or in a round. I loved it so much that I tracked down the composer and asked his permission to use it in my song library.

© Doug Vankoss
All rights reserved

Recorded with permission from Doug


How sweet the sound was in the night,
the melody flowed like water,
the women sang of the moon’s delights,
and the men all sang about honey.

Difficulty Level: 2