To My Old Brown Earth (Pete Seeger)
Melody and harmony
This page will provide words and music for the songs we do, as well as information about their origins, meaning, etc.
If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can also practice most of the songs below using our app.
There are a number of conflicting theories about where this song comes from and what it means.
A version on the Smithsonian Folkways site translates it as “Call Mama”.
One blogger says, “The reality is that the song is from West Africa. Since most West African countries were French colonies at one time, it’s probably pidgin for Appelle maman which means ‘call mum’. It bears a striking resemblance to a song about Saturday night partying so it’s almost certainly calling mum to go out to party.”
Another idea is that “Mbele mama” is a song in Swahili, meaning “long time ago mama”. Could this mean “ancient mother”? Check out this YouTube video: “Mbele mama” by Keruna.
Humbly – Laurence Cole
For more on this song, visit: www.laurencecole.com.
Part 1: Humbly we walk here, humbly we sing here, humbly we bless this ground.
Parts 2 & 3: Humbly, and with gratitude, remembering the ancient ones who walked this ground.
Part 4: Humbly we walk this ground, with the spirit of blessing in our hearts.
Click here for sheet music for Humbly.
Listen – Meredith Buck
Part 1: Listen (repeated 4x)
Part 2: Lay yourself down on the rocks now, let your body down in the river, listen for the drumming on the other side, lose yourself in the meantime.
Part 3: Listen, let your body be your guide, let the water decide… Lose yourself in the meantime.
(The recording is from a gathering of the Ubuntu Choir Network, in Victoria, BC.)
(downloaded from www.laurasandage.com)
Back on Solid Ground – Lisa Hunter
And I will sing this song. And I will raise up to the night sky. And I will sing this song. I do believe I’m back on solid ground.
Thanks to Gretchen Sleicher for helping us with this song and providing these mp3 files.
Magnificence – Peter Makena
Parts 2 and 3
There is so much magnificence in the ocean*
Waves are coming in, waves are coming in
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
*original lyrics say “near the ocean”
Recordings of “Magnificence”, both individual parts and all parts combined, are on songsforthegreatturning.net, thanks to Gretchen Sleicher.
A traditional Zulu song. Literally, Bambelela means “cling.” But the sense of it is “hang in there, don’t give up.”
All parts together:
Water Is Life – Mni Wičoni (song for Standing Rock)
This is where Sara Thomsen has shared sound files: