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Spirits Rising

Spirits Rising is a powerful prayer for healing by Lisa Levine, a nationally known cantor, composer, recording artist, author and worship artist. The wordless refrain connects this song to the Hasidic Jewish tradition of niggunim, wordless tunes that are sung to enliven the soul and body.

Many leaders begin by teaching the refrain through call and echo, first in unison and then in harmony. Once the refrain is confident, return to the beginning and invite the group to sing the verses through call and echo.

The piece is useful for gathering groups, for services of healing prayer, and in interfaith contexts. 

"Spirits rising,
like the sun;
love within us,
Holy One.
Spirits rising,
like the wind;
winds of healing,
winds of change.

Refrain:
Na, na, na na..".

Additional verses can be found in the printed score.

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Uyai mose / Come, All You People

This short gathering song from Zimbabwe is a wonderful introduction to paperless singing. Composed by Alexander Gondo, it is in Shona, a Bantu language spoken by almost 11 million people in the region. The four-part arrangement that appears in many hymnals and songbooks is by John Bell.

Some leaders speak the text aloud first, inviting the community to echo each phrase. Others dive right into the music, inviting the community to learn the melody through call and echo. Harmony parts can be lined out in succession and, once confident, an upper-voice descant adds to the energy and shape of the song.

The song can be sung unaccompanied. If instruments are added, shekere (dried gourds) or marimbas would be appropriate to the context, not drums.

Shona:
Uyai mose, tinamate mwari. (x3)

Uyai mose zvino.

Pronunciation tip: Shona's five vowels are pronounced as in Spanish. Each vowel is pronounced separately even if they fall in succession.

Singing translation (I-to Lo):
Come, all you people, come and praise your Maker. (x3)
Come now and worship the Lord.

Copyright for the piece is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.

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Santo, santo, Santo (Le lo le lo lai lo)

This joyous setting of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) by Puerto Rican priest and composer William Loperena, O.P. follows an antiphonal (call and echo) structure. Inspired by liturgical and musical reforms following the Second Vatican Council, it reflects the African heritage of Puerto Rico with its use of bomba, a popular, percussion-driven musical style that moves people to dance. 

Each phrase is sung by the cantor and echoed back by the assembly, with one small melodic variation at the end of each section. Leaders often use their hands to cue the group at that moment. 

Originally written in Spanish, an English translation by Jorge Lockward makes it possible for communities to experience the joys of bilingual singing.

Spanish:
*Le lo le lo lai lo,
Le lo le lo lai lo,
Le lo le lo lai lo,
Lo le lo le lo lai.

Santo, santo, santo, Dios de gloria y poder. (Santo, santo, santo, Dios de gloria y poder.)
Cielos y tierra proclaman tu gloria. (Cielos y tierra proclaman tu gloria.)
Hosana, hosana, hosana en los cielos. (Hosana, hosana, hosana en los cielos.

Bendito aquel que viene en el nombre de Dios. (Bendito aquel que viene en el nombre de Dios.)
Hosana, hosana, hosana en los cielos. (Hosana, hosana, hosana en los cielos.)

English singing translation (Jorge Lockward):
*Le lo le lo lai lo,
Le lo le lo lai lo,
Le lo le lo lai lo,
Lo le lo le lo lai.

Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your 
glory.
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest.

Blessed in the one who comes in the name of the Lord. 
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest. 

*a kind of lyrical “scat” sung by traditional jíbaro singers (rural farmers) 

 

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From This House

This powerful sending song by Ben Allaway has concluded many Music the Makes Community events. The phrases of the song can be taught through call and echo patterns, then the leader can use the African practice of singing instructions within the song to reverse their roles, invite harmony, and shape the energy song. 

"From this house
to the world
we will go
hand in hand.

The way of peace,
the way of freedom,
the way of hope."

Ben has given faith communities permission to sing and share the song without copyright restrictions.

 

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Kyrie eleison (Bridget setting)

This penitential response was written by John Bell and incorporates call and echo learning to encourage community participation. 

The assembly sings each phrase after the leader, except for the third phrase where the group overlaps the leader's last note. If possible, practice the response before worship and encourage the community to trust your gestures, even if they feel as if they're 'interrupting.'

The piece can be sung a cappella or accompanied by a drone instrument (a shruti box or a soft unison or open fifth on the organ) to support the community's voice. John Bell suggest quiet keyboard accompaniment or a choir singing the notated harmonies.

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

English Translation:
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Copyright for the piece is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.

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Our Father in Heaven (Plainsong setting)

This plainsong setting of the Lord's Prayer was adapted for paperless singing and gestures by MMC founder Donald Schell. The melody is ancient, possibly reaching as far back as first and second century synagogues. The gestures are adapted from ancient Christian postures of prayer.

The setting is essential call and echo, with the leader singing and gesturing one phrase at a time, with the assembly following. Full kneeling (prostration) is not required, but an invitation can be given to the group to adapt the gestures to their body's comfort and ability. 

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Amen Siakudumisa / Amen, We Praise Your Name, O God

Amen Siakudumisa is a praise song by Stephen Molefe, a talented South African musician who was one of the first to compose indigenous liturgical music following the Second Vatican Council. Written in Xhosa, one of several languages spoken in the country, it was intended to be sung as the “Amen” at the conclusion of the Great Thanksgiving of the Eucharist liturgy. It is also useful as a Doxology, as a psalm refrain, or as a song of praise.

The piece would usually be accompanied by marimbas; drums are not commonly used in Xhosa song. Learn more about the history and context of Amen Siakudumisa in this excellent blog post by Dr. Michael Hawn

Xhosa:
“Amen siyakudumisa (Masithi)
Amen, Bawo
Amen siyakudumisa (Masithi)

Literal translation:
"Amen, we praise your name.
Amen, Father.
Amen, we praise your name."

Singing translation:
"Amen, we praise your name, O God. (O sing now!)
Amen, amen. Amen, amen.
Amen, we praise your name, O God." (O sing now!)

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Hosanna

This three-part layered Hosanna by singer, church musician, and composer Holly Phares would work beautifully for a Palm Sunday processional or a festive occasion. 

Teach the parts in the order indicated or in a way that feels intuitive for the group. Holly suggests adding a tambourine or klezmer clarinet.

Holly has given communities permission to sing and share the song without copyright restrictions.

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If in Your Heart (Setting 2)

Ana Hernández has written two contrasting settings of If In Your Heart, a short text by 17th century mystic and poet Angelus Silesius. The second is a tender, lullaby-like melody that welcomes extemporaneous harmony. Try adding guitar or piano accompaniment to give the song a stronger rhythmic flow.

It is wonderfully suited to the Advent and Christmas seasons and could be effective as a gathering or processional song, for candle lighting, or as a Gospel acclamation.

"If in your heart you make a manger for his birth, 
then God will once again become a child on earth."

 

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Hosanna, ho! / Palm Sunday Processional

Hosanna, ho! is a call and echo song for Palm Sunday written by Ben Allaway. Useful for a processional or gathering, the leader sing out a phrase and the entire congregation simply sings the phrase back. Percussion instruments and improvised harmonies add to the joyous energy.

"Hosanna, ho,
Hosanna, hosanna!
Blest is the one who comes
in the name of the Lord. Alleluia!"

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Pray with Our Feet

This call to faithful action by Paul Vasile is inspired by quotations from Frederick Douglass and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, speaking back to the shallow 'thoughts and prayers' and inaction of American politicians in face of ongoing mass shootings and gun violence. It is intended to be used in faith-based protests and marches, or as a sending song in churches and synagogues. 

"It's not enough to offer thoughts and prayers.
It's not enough to say that we care. 
It's not enough to hope that things will change. 
We've got to pray with our feet,
pray with our feet, pray with our feet
and get out, out on the street." 

MMC Presenter Jorge Lockward has written several more versesThe song also welcomes alternate lyrics to include people with a range of ability, or to name specific actions or work the community is called to do.

"We’ve got to pray with our mouths...
pray with our wheels... 
pray with our vote..."

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