E Malama – Bryan Kessler or Mark and Sharie Anderson

I learned this gorgeous chant first from Marion Van Neman at Esalen, then again from Kaitie Tye Warren at LA SongFest. My arrangement is most similar to one by Nikomo. I changed the key and arrangement a bit to adapt it for treble voices. Singing this one in unison, or just one or two harmonies is just as powerful!! That’s how I do it in my Sisters In Harmony circles. Only in my advanced choir do we sing all of the parts.

A Hawaiian saying meaning:
“We must do what’s right to take care of our sacred ocean and earth”

Lyrics:

(E malama ay)
E malama i kai eh ah
(E malama ay)
E malama i kai eh ah
(E malama)
E malama pono i kai eh ah

This song is in the public domain

Wade in the Water Medley – Traditional Spirituals

Traditional Spirituals

I learned this medley from Ysaye Barnwell at a music educators conference way back in 1999. A favorite amongst my elementary school choirs as well as my adult choirs and circles.

Wade In the Water was an Underground Railroad song, sung as a guide to assist the those moving towards freedom to know where the safe river crossings were, or to get into the water so the dogs would lose the scent. Also referencing the Bible from Exedos. “An angel troubled the water”. A call to get in the water to become whole and healed again.

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child – a song of grief for those separated from their families and their homeland.

I Wanna Die Easy When I Die – the enslaved people’s way of claiming that they WILL make it to freedom, and they will not die until they do – Such strength and conviction of spirit!

When I sing these songs with my groups, I also like to presence that we are still on a journey of reparations, justice and equality with people of color who are descendants of the enslaved. There are still deep wounds that need to be healed. I like to have the circle speak their prayers, or I like to set an intention that as we sing these songs, we are creating a ripple of love and healing for those still on the journey, and for our nation as a whole.

Lyrics:

Wade In The Water

Wade in the water
Wade in the water children
Wade in the water
God’s gonna trouble the water

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long way from home

I Wanna Die Easy

I wanna die easy when I die
I wanna die easy when I die
I wanna die easy when I die
Shout salvation when I rise
I want to die easy when I die

These songs are in the public domain

Re-Wild My Soul – Heather Houston

This beautiful chant poured through me one morning in a meditation on my sister’s land in Northern WA. With Mt. Baker above me, Canyon Creek below me, sunshine, wind, eagles, vast sky and forest all around me, I went into a deep state of communion with the land and allowed this song to move through. It doesn’t make grammatical sense entirely, but it’s easier to teach this way. Enjoy!

Lyrics:

Oh river, re-wild my soul Help me let go of control Show my heart how to flow with ease again I am ready, take me in.

Oh mountain, re-wild my soul Help me let go of control Show my heart how to lift mine eyes again I am ready, take me in.

Oh eagle, re-wild my soul Help me let go of control Show my heart how to fly so free again I am ready, take me in.

Oh vast sky, re-wild my soul Help me let go of control Show my heart how to be spaciousness again I am ready, take me in.

Oh soft wind, re-wild my soul Help me let go of control Show my heart how to be clear and cleansed again I am ready, take me in.

Oh sunshine, re-wild my soul Help me let go of control Show my heart how to shine with warmth again I am ready, take me in.

Oh forest, re-wild my soul Help me let go of control Show my heart how to trust this path again I am ready, take me in.

Oh mama, re-wild my soul Help me let go of control Show my heart how to beat with yours again I am ready, take me in.

©Heather Houston
All rights reserved

I’m Going Back – Heather Houston

A great rhythmic entrainment song. I love to get my singers moving their feet together on this one, and then eventually invite them to play the heart beat on their chest. This one flowed through one morning in thinking about recording my “Sisters of the Moon” album. It didn’t make it on the album, but it sure is fun to sing in circle. Enjoy!

© Heather Houston 2019
All rights reserved

Lyrics:

I’m going back
to the earth
I’m going back
to be re-birthed
into the cycles of the moon
where I feel the rhythm of our unified
heart, beat
I’m going back

The Earth Delights – Heather Houston

Original Poetry by Khalil Gibran

A beautiful reminder of the intimate dance we do with the more than human world. This has been a favorite quote of mine for over 20 years, and I woke up one morning this Spring with this sweet little melody moving through. I love the syncopation of the harmonies. It’s so fun to play with the rhythm on this one. A fun challenge for my circles of singing women, and yours!

© 2019 Heather Houston
All rights reserved

Lyrics:

The earth delights to feel your bare feet
And the wind longs to play with your hair

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

Put Your Roots Down – Composer Unknown

A fun, rhythmic, layered song inviting us to listen deeply to the rhythm of the Earth and the sound of the river.

Lyrics:

Part 1: Put your roots down, put your feet on the ground, can you hear what she says when you listen?

Part 2: Cause the sound of the river as it moves across the stone is the same sound as the blood in your body as it moves across your bones.

Author unknown
Public Domain

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