Oj Djevojko Moja — Croatian Folk Tune

From what I’ve gathered, this song is about forbidden love. A young girl wishes to see her love, and her mother forbids her to go. She must stay and eat her supper.

If you have a better translation for this song, please do share it with me. My women’s choir Yala Lati loves singing this one! And sometimes I’ll just teach the first verse in my song circles.

Ask Heather for sheet music if you’d like to give it a try with your groups.

Shosholoza – Traditional song from Zimbabwe

Shosholoza From Zimbabwe

“Shosholoza” is an Nguni song that was sung by the mixed tribes of miners mining gold in South Africa. It is a mix of Zulu and Ndebele words and can have various other South African languages thrown in depending on the singers. It was sung by African workers that were working in the South African mines in a call and response style. As the miners sang, their spirits were lifted.

The lyrics of the song refer to the steam trains that used to carry migrant miners from Zimbabwe to South Africa. But as the melody suggests, the song is really about hope. Literally, Shosholoza means “go forward” in the Ndebele language. In the late 20th century, anti-apartheid activists found the song inspiring and used it to keep up their hopes. Then, when apartheid fell, the song became a vehicle for national reconciliation. As depicted in the movie “Invictus,” South Africans of all backgrounds joined together in singing Shosholoza in willing their team to victory in the 1995 rugby World Cup. Today, Shosholoza is an unofficial South African national anthem and reminds us that change is possible.

So fun to sing!!!

This song is in the public domain.

Lyrics:
Shosholoza
Kulezo ntaba
Stimbela siphubme South Africa
Wen’ uyabaleka
Kulezo ntaba
Stimbela siphubme South Africa

Translation:
Go forward
You are meandering on those mountains
The train is from South Africa

You accelerate
you accelerate
on those mountains
The train is from South Africa

Chant to Yemaya – Traditional Yoruba Chant

A traditional Yoruba chant to the Goddess of the sea, the Mother of all, often portrayed as a mermaid.  I like to invite my singers to call out the qualities of the ocean before we sing it, then invite them feel the flow of the water in their bodies as they move and sing. It is also meant to observe the qualities of female and male that merge and melt within us.

This chant can be sung in a round.

Possible Translation: 

Goddess of the sea

Female and male merge or melt. (they are one)

 

A traditional chant in the public domain.

Lyrics:

Yemaya oh, ako, ako yo yemaya
Yemaya oh, ako, ako yo yemaya

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

Lyrics:

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

Cherokee Morning Song – Traditional

Chanting the sun up! This one resonates deeply with my soul. I thank the ones who channeled this beautiful song through. Learned from from a Waleala CD.

Public Domain

Lyrics:

Winde ya ho
Winde ya ho
Winde ya
Winde ya
Ho ho ho ho
Hey oh hey oh
Ya ya ya

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 heard that overtone melody once, with my very first circle of song leader trainees! Amazing!

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

This song is in the public domain.

Lyrics:

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

Slow Version:

Fast Version:

Ise Oluwa from West Africa

This beautiful chant from Nigeria is sung in the Yoruba language. A favorite to sing with my shruti box layering in harmonies as we go.

Arrangement by Heather Houston

This song is in the public domain.

Meaning:
God’s good work will never be destroyed. I like to think of it as the Creator’s beautiful work lives on for eternity.

Lyrics:

Ise oluwa
Kole baje oh
Ise oluwa
Kole baje oh
Kole baje oh
Kole baje oh
Ise oluwa
Kole baje oh

Evening Rise – Composer Unknown

An absolute favorite in my song circles and in my choir. The harmonies are hauntingly beautiful, easy enough to learn and very satisfying for everyone once they get all of the parts. I learned this song from my dear friend Lydia Neilsen, who learned it in her permaculture community. As far as I can tell, this song is in the public domain. I have not been able to track down the composer. Please let me know if you have any information.

Lyrics:

Evening rise, spirits come
Sun goes down when the day is done
Mother Earth awakens me
to the heartbeat of the sea