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

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

Let the Light Shine In by Heather Houston

An inspirational multi-layered song inviting us to open to the love and trust in the Source.

© Heather Houston
All Rights Reserved

As always, you are welcome to sing and share my songs. All I ask is that you give credit and tell the story if there is one. If you need practice tracks for your groups, please use my SoundCloud files. Thank you!

Lyrics: 

Part 1: Opening to the love, trusting in the Source, moving with the flow of the water.

Part 2: Listen Deeply

Part 3 & 4: Let the light shine in, Hallelujah

Part 4: All is well, let the light shine in

Difficulty Level: 3

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
https://dougvonkoss.com

Lyrics:

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