STJ#1072, Evening Breeze

This is the last in our earth chant quodlibet (yes, since relearning the word last week, I’ve rather enjoyed saying it and typing it, especially since it’s appropriate), and it’s been an … interesting side trip. The melodies of the chants are, intentionally, rather simple, and I imagine the complexity builds as you add other chants …

More

STJ#1070, Mother I Feel You

They say brevity is the source of wit; I can affirm that a stomach flu is the source of brevity. So I’ll be brief: The second part of our quodlibet is this chant by Windsong Dianne Martin. As noted on the UUA Song Information page, This song was written on Spencer’s Butte, Eugene, Oregon in …

More

STJ#1069, Ancient Mother

Sometimes the universe likes to prepare you in advance for something you will need. In some cases, it’s the impulse buy that comes in handy later that month, or a song you hear that the choir director asks you to sing a week later, or in my case, it’s a conversation on Wednesday that leads to …

More

STJ#1056, Thula Klizeo

One late December day in the mid 1990s, my partner Trish and I got in the car and drove from our home in Durham, NC, to spend Christmas with my family in Round Lake, NY. The drive is long – about 13 hours – and was usually broken up by little side trips to historic …

More

STJ#1003, Where Do We Come From?

Throughout this practice, I’ve happened upon many hymns that were inspired by (or were outright settings of) poetry; that makes sense, as lyric forms seek out one another naturally. But this is the first time I’ve encountered one inspired by paintings. As noted on the UUA’s Song Information page, The lyrics of this song come …

More

STLT#188, Come, Come, Whoever You Are

Ear Worm Alert! This round is so common in Unitarian Universalist circles it’s hard to remember that in the scheme of things, it’s only about as old as the grey hymnal itself. Yet here it is, a standard welcoming song, even if it’s incomplete. As my beloved colleague Lynn Ungar originally wrote it, this setting …

More

STLT#184, Be Ye Lamps unto Yourselves

Gentle readers, I’m in an odd place with this one. I am certain (and am glad) there are people who draw strength and inspiration from this text, a beloved  (anonymously translated) passage from “Buddha’s Farewell Address” – a passage from the Mahaparinibbana Suttana. I don’t. I mean, I get what it’s about – it’s all over …

More

STLT#172, Siph’ Amandla

This is another freedom song from South Africa, from during the time of apartheid. It’s got energy and power and a sense of urgency that is compelling and captivating. And while it isn’t the only thing that makes liberation happen, song does remain a powerful tool in the activist toolbox. From the songs of enslaved Africans, …

More