Chant to Nana by Heather Houston

In the Yoruba traditions, Nana is the Great Grandmother of all the Orishas, the Grandmother of our sacred waters, and the Mother of the Universe. This wise and revered Orisha embodies the spirit of the earth, the moon, the rain, mud, swamps and fresh spring waters. She is the energy of transformative healing powers. She watches over the women and is the protector of everything female. It is said that she has very little patience for men and surrounds herself mainly with priestesses. Women find comfort in her knowledge and strength. They flock to her for guidance and spiritual healing.

For many years I chanted chants to Nana with my teacher Alba Lirio. One day when I was driving through the hills of Marin, tending to my broken heart, an original melody flowed through me with lyrics to Nana. I clearly needed the healing energy she brings, and have been forever grateful for the gift of this chant. The women in my circles adore it as well.

Lyrics:

Part 1: (the round)
Eh na na Eh na na Eh na na, Eh na na Eh na na Eh

Part 2: (the hight part)
Eh di na na eh wa
Eh wa eh wa
Eh wa eh wa eh

Part 3: (the low part)
Eh di na na eh wa
Eh wa eh wa
Eh wa eh wa

Wood Stone by Joules Graves

This song is a most beloved classic in my song circles. I’ve been teaching it since 2005 and everyone loves it! It’s one that people can really sing out on. I typically use a rattle to help keep the beat. Enjoy!

This song is in the public domain.

Lyrics:

Wood stone feather and bone
Roaring of the ocean guide us home
x2
High angel singing
x2
In my soul
x4
River sea redwood tree
Howling of the wind gonna set us free
x2
High angel singing
x2
In my soul
x4

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.

Lyrics:

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

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

The Veil Between Worlds by Heather Houston

This hauntingly beautiful layer song poured through me on All Hallow’s Eve in 2017. I was in the kitchen doing dishes, and was summoned to sit near my altar by candlelight to receive this song. I like to offer a space for the women in my circles to name and deeply honor a few of their ancestors.

© Heather Houston
All rights reserved

Lyrics:

Part 1:
The veil between worlds it is opening.
The spirits are calling our names
To listen to their wisdom
To gather round sacred flame.

Part 2:
In the silence we hear them
Voices from the past
Giving name to illusion
Truth that we have outcast

Difficulty Level: 4