Acapella Songlist for Community and Justice
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Here's my personal list of songs that can be taught largely without written words or instrumental accompaniment. They're songs I use for worship, meetings, rallies, or just hum to myself in the course of the day. I apologize for the many holes in the grid. I hope to fill them in as I have time and as I learn more about the music.Thank you to Lucy Stone Co-op, Moishe Kavod, Sanctuary Boston, Ifnotnow, Cosecha, BLM, Pipeline activists, and dozens of UU musicians around the country that taught me these songs one at a time.
AlleluiaAlleluia (4x)Matt MeyerMatt MeyerUUOpening words and call to worship.
Break em on downBreak 'em on down, break 'em on down.
Break em on down these walls between us. GrismanHarmony Grisman3 parts
Bright Morning StarBright morning star a risin' (3x) Day is a breakin' in my soul.
Rise up from morning slumber...
Rise up and hear your calling..
Oh, lift your voice to heaven...
We'll build this faith together Meyer??Christian, UUThis is a different melody than the UU hymnal.
Building BridgesBuilding bridges between our divisions
if I reach out to you, will you reach out to me?
With all of our voices and all of our visions,
friends we can make such sweet harmony. of the Greenham Common Peace Occupation in England, 1983English Quaker Round#1023 in Singing the Living Tradition
Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp
Call Down a Blessing
Call down a blessing (3X)
call down
Beauty above us, beauty below us,
beauty within us and beauty between us.
Love above us... J. NelsonMargaret J. Nelson
Calypso AlleluiaAlleluia! BenjaminThomas BenjaminUU#1036 in Singing the Journey
Come, Come, whoever you areCome, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. Ours is no caravan of dispair. Come, yet again, come. Lynn UngarSufi wordsRumi was a Sufi mystic, a muslim political refugee, and one of the world's most famous poets.
Comfort Me
Comfort me, comfort me,
comfort me oh my soul. (2x)
Sing with me...
Dance with me... BornsteinMimi BornsteinUU #1002 in Singing the Journey
Courage my friendsCourage (courage),
my friend (my friends),
you do not walk alone.
We will (we will) walk with you (walk with you)
and sing your spirit home. BogleEric Bogle"The tune of the chorus at the end of the song “courage brother etc” is based on a Zulu song called Shosholoza, but the rest of it is mine"....Eric
Cumcum lele
Enter, Rejoice, & Come In
Enter, rejoice, and come in (2x)
Today will be a joyful day
Enter, rejoice, and come in.

Open your ears everyone...
Open your hearts to the song...
Don't be afraid of some change...
Louise RuspiniLouise Ruspini#361, Singing the Living Tradition
From this HouseFrom this house (From this house),
to the world (to the world),
we will go (we will go)
hand in hand (hand in hand) AllawayBen Allaway
Gathered HereGathered Here in the mystery of the hour. Gathered here in one strong body. Gathered here in the struggle and the power, Spirit draw near. PorterPhil Porter#389, Singing the Living Tradition
Glory, Glory, AlleluliaGlory glory, Alleluia
Since I lay my burden down. (2x)
I feel better, so much better...
I can talk better, so much better...
Friends don't treat me like they used to...
I can walk better, so much better... American
Hineh Ma TovHineh mah tov umah nayim
shevet aheem gam yahad (2x)
How good it is and how pleasant
for people to dwell together.
Good and pleasant,
people in peace together.
Psalm 133:1Jewish#392, Singing the Living Tradition
Hold OnHold on just a little while longer (3x)
Everything will be alright American
I Can't BreatheI still hear my brother crying, I can't breath."
Now I'm in the struggle singing, "I can't leave!"
We're calling out the violence of these ractist police
We ain't gonna stop
Til our people are free.
We ain't gonna stop
Til our people are free. Nephew, Peace PoetsLuke Nephew, Peace PoetsBLM
I Know this Rose WIll OpenI know this rose will open
I know my fears will burn away
I know my soul will unfurl it's wings
I know this rose will open
Mary GrigoliaMary Grigolia#396, Singing the LIving Tradition
I Will BelieveI will believe the truth about myself
No matter how beautiful it is.
Macrina Wiederkehr & Velma Frye
Macrina Wiederkehr & Velma Frye
part of the Art of Mentoring Song collection
I’ll lift up this WaitingI'll lift up this waiting, that it won't be in vain.
I'll lift up this waiting to a higher place.
I'll lift up this waiting, that it won't be vain
And I'll lift up this longing to you
And I'll bath in the light of your face. minna BrombergRabbi minna Bromberg
I’m gonna lift my sister upI'm gonna lift my sister up, she is not heavy (3x)
if I don't lift her up (3x) I will fall down.

I'm gonna lift my brother...
...neighbor... people... Ora Rose TourèFaya Ora Rose TourèCheck out Faya Ora Rose Toure, she's badass. First black woman judge in Alabama, playwright, songrwriter, and founder of numerous civil rights organizations.
I’m gonna Sing, Sing, SingI'm gonna sing, sing sing. I'm gonna dance, dance, dance.
I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna dance, hallelu!
When those gates are open wide, I'll be standing by your side.
I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna dance, hallellu.

Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home. (2x)

Oh when the saints, go marching in (2x) How I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in. Ezekial saw the wheel, way up in the middle of the air (4X) American
Jubilate DeoJubilate Deo (2) alleluia PraetoriusChristian6 part round
Keep on Moving forwardGonna keep on moving forward (3x)
never turning back (2x)
Keep on singing loudly...
Keep on loving boldy...'s RevolutionEmma's Revolution
Kol HaNeshamahKol HaNeshamah"The breath of every living thing praises God."
Kumbaya remixSomebody's singing lord, kumbaya (2x)
Singing earth, wind, fire, Lord, kumbaya...

Somebody's prayin'...
Somebody's dancin'...
Let the Life I LeadLet the Life I Lead speak for me. (2x)
When I'm lying in my grave and there's nothing more to say.
Let the life I lead speak for me.

Let the friends I have...
Let the work I do...
Let the Love I share...
Let the the songs I sing...

(alternative) When I come to the end of the road
and I lay down my heavy load. from Sullivan PughAdapted from Sullivan Pugh
Listen my people/Oye mi genteOye mi gente, traemos la fuerza,
la libertad es la unica bandera.
Listen my people, my condor, my eagle,
no human can ever be illegal. PoetsPeace Poets
MagnificenceWash me away, so that all that's left is love.

There is so much magnificence in the ocean.
Waves are coming in (2x).

Allelu, Alleluia... MakenaPeter Makena
Mah gadlu
Mah gadlu ma’aseh chaya
M’ode amku mach’sh’votecha (hallelujah)
(How great is your work, oh G-d,
how very deep are your thoughts!) 92Shefa GoldJewish
Meditation on BreathingWhen I breath in, I breath in peace.
When I breath out love. Dan JonesSarah Dan JonesUU#1009, Singing the Journey
Music (We are Going)We are going to a place where music
falls and fills up everything.
And though it might be a long time,
I know it's gonna be alright,
cause we've already started to sing Myer-BoultonMatthew Myer-Boulton
Now Let us SingNow let us sing, sing, sing (2x)
Lift up your voice, be not afraid,
Now let us sing to the power of the Love within.

Sing to the power of the love with (2x)
Now let us sing to the power of the Love within.
#368, Singing the Living Tradition

Seems to be adapted from "Sing to the power of the Lord come down"
Od’yavoh Shalom AleinuOd’yavoh Shalom Aleinu (3x) ve al kulam.

Salaam, aleinu ve al kol ha olam, Salaam, Salaam. Ben AriMosh Ben AriJewishTranslation:
And peace will come upon us and on everyone.
peace, among us and on all of the world, peace, peace.
Oh Sing to me of Heaven(c) There'll be no sorrow(2x)
In heaven above, where all is love.
There'll be no sorow there.
(v1) Oh sing to me of heaven,
when I am called to die.
Sing songs of holy ecstacy
to waft my soul on high.
Olam Chesed YibanehOlam Chesed Yibaneh Menachem CreditorRabbi Menachem CreditorJewish
Or ZaruaOr zarua latzadik u'l'yish'rey lev simchah
(Plant the seeds of Joy and Light; Tend them carefully day and night,
In this soil so dark and deep, I plant the dreams that Love will reap. -Psalm 97)
Ozi v’zmirot yah
Ozi v’Zimrat Yah Vayahi li lishuah (My Strength (balanced) with the Song of G!d will be my salvation.)
(Psalm 118:14 and Exodus 15:2)
Rabbi Shefa Gold
Peace Prayer MandalaOm mani padme hum
La illaha illlal Llah hu
Peace. Salaam, Shalom.Peace. Salaam, Shalom.'s RevolutionEmma's Revolution
People Gonna RisePeople gonna rise like the water
gonna face this crisis now.
I hear the voices of my great-granddaughters
sayin' keep it in the ground. (OR sayin' shut this pipeline down.)
SanctuaryLord Prepare me to be a sanctuary.
Pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living,
Sanctuary for you. Scruggs & John ThompsonRandy Scruggs & John Thompson
SanctuaryMake us aware we
are a sanctuary.
Each made holy, loved right through.
With thanksgiving, we are a living,
Sanctuary anew. RuffinRandy Scruggs & John Thompson
Sing Our Own SongWe will fight for the right to be free.
And we will build a new a society
and we will sing, we will sing, we will sing,
a new song, a new song.

And we will be like the roots of a tree
And we will sing in twenty-two part harmony
And we will sing, we will sing, we will sing,
A new song, a new song.
Adapted from UB40Second verse added by Ilana Streit
SiyahambaSiyahamb' ekukhanyeni kwenkos, Siyahamba ekukhanyeni kwenkos'.
We are marching in the light of God (2x)
we are marching (2x) We are marching in the light of God.
Dancing, Singing, Praying,
South African#1030, Singing the Journey
Somebody's Hurting My BrotherSomebody's hurting my brother and it's gone on far too long.
yes, it's gone on far too long
I tell you, it's gone on far too long.
and we won't be silent anymore.

Somebody's hurting my neighbor...
Somebody's poisening the water... AllenYara AllenYara is the songleader who works closely with Rev. Barber
StandI will stand with you, will you stand with me?
We will be the change that we hope to see
In the name of love, in the name of peace,
will you stand, will you stand, with me? Carrol WebbAmy Carrol WebbUU
Step by Step the longest marchStep by step the longest march
can be won, can be won.
Many stones can form an arch,
singly none, singly, none.
And together what we will, can be accomplished still.
Drops of water turn the mill,
singly none, singly none. Folk SongLabor
Sweet spirit, take over this placeSweet Spirit (sweet Spirit) (2x) Take over this place (Take over this place) (2x) Healing Spirit.. Loving Spirit... Holy Spirit... TarverPhil TarverChristian
The Tide is Rising
The tide is rising and so are (3x)
This is where we are called to be.
The land is holy...
The task is mighty...
The storm is raging...
The sun is shining... Shoshana FriedmanRabbi Shoshana FriedmanRabbi Shoshana FriedmanShoshana is a rabbi and climate activist in the Boston area.
There is More Love SomewhereThere is more love somewhere (2x)
I'm gonna keep on til I find it.
There is more love somewhere.
There is more hope...
joy... American
There will be LightThere will be, there will be,
there will be a light.
There will be a light. HarperBen Harper
There's a TruthThere's a truth beyond our knowledge.
There's compassion beyond our pain.
There's a Spirit burning brighter.
There's a Love to guide our way. MeyerRandy Scruggs & John ThompsonTo the melody of "Sanctuary"
Those who sowThose who sow, who sow in tears,
will reap, will reap in joy. 126:5Debbie Friedman
Tugboat and BargeTralalala...
eeeh, oooh. oooh, eeeh... melody as "Walk Beside Me" and is conencted to Lo Yisa Goy.
Ubi CaritasUbi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est., Singing the Journey
Ubi caritas are the opening words of a Roman Catholic hymn. The traditional music was set sometime between the fourth and tenth centuries, though some scholars believe the text dates from early Christian gatherings before the formalization of the Mass. The hymn is usually sung at Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and on Holy Thursday evening at the Mass of the Lord's Supper.
walk beside meDo not walk in front of my I may not follow.
Do not walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and hold my hand
and together we'll be walking in the path of Hashem. melody as "Tugboat and Barge"
Walking with youWalking, walking with you,
walking with you is my prayer.

Being... StanfieldBurns Stanfield
Water HealWater heal my body, water heal my soul.
When I go down, down to the water,
by the water I feel whole. Love AlcornCoco Love Alcorn
Water is Our LifeWater is our life (4x)

You flow in circles, you are never ending.

Waves crash, currents from the ocean swells and rises,
Our body, our blood, our spirit is the sea.
Kestral Feiner-HomerKestral Feiner-Homer
We are a Gentle Angry PeopleWe are a gentle angry people
and we are singing, singing for our lives. (2x) NearHolly Near
We are rising up like a PhoenixWe are rising up like a phoenix from the fire,
so siblings in spirit spread your wings and fly higher.
We are rising up (2x)
We are the OnesWe are the ones we've been waiting for Johnson ReagonBernice Johnson Reagon
We Rise We rise... humbled hearted
Rise... won't be divided
Rise... with spirit to guide us
(Chorus) In hope, in prayer, we find ourselves here
In hope, in prayer, we're right here!
We rise... all of the children
Rise... elders with wisdom
Rise... ancestors surround us
We rise... up from teh wreckage
Rise...with tears and with courage
Rise... fighting for life
(chorus and repeat verse 1) LevineBatya Levineby Batya Levine with collaborative support from Nom Lerman, both contemporary Jewish songwriters and IfNotNow members. This song was inspired by the powerful, prayerful resistance they witnessed and experienced at Standing Rock. This song is an attempt to remember and to hold that model of resistance in our hearts and in our minds.
What would you do with a thieving banksterWhat would you do with a theiving bankster (3X)
early in the morning.
way-hey and up she rises (3)
justice in the morning.

Lock him in a vault until he's honest...
Take your money to a credit union...
Get together build a co-op movement...
Get out the broom and clean up wall st...
That's what you do with a theiving bankster...
Matt Meyer"Drunken sailor" melody
When the world is sickWhen the world is sick, can't no one be well, but I dreamt we were all beautiful and strong. Mount Zion OrchestraSilver Mount Zion Orchestra
Where do we come fromWhere do we come from?
What are we?
Where are we going?

Where do we come from?

Mystery, mystery, life is a riddle and a mystery.
Paul GaugainBrian Tate
Where you go I will BelovedWhere you go I will Beloved,
where you go I will go.
Cause your people are my people,
your people are mine.
Your people are my people,
your divine my divine JedwabShoshana JedwabRuth said this to Naomi Ruth (1:16)
Which Side are You OnWhich side are you on? (2x)
Which side are you on, my people,
which side are you on?

Malcom X was a freedom fighter
and he taught us how to fight
And we're gonna fight all day and night
until we get it right.

Ella Baker was a freedom fighter...
Anne Braden...
Grace Lee Boggs...
Fannie Lou Hamer...
(other movement ancestors)
Adapted from Florence ReeceAdapted from Florence ReeceLabor and BLM
Why, why worry when you can pray.Why, why worry when you can pray. (2x)
Pray to the most high,
pray to the mothers and fathers (old ancestors)
Pray to the most high.
Pray for them to watch over.
Why, why worry when you can pray.

Why, why worry when you can sing...
Yonder Come DayYonder come day, day is breaking.
Sun is a risin', in my soul.
Trad. African AmericanA Watch Night song, traditional to African American services held on New Year's eve. They date back to "Freedom's Eve," in 1963 when the Emancipation Proclaimation went into effect on New Year's day.
Never Turning BackEmma's RevolutionEmma's Revolution
This Little Light
Oh We Give Thanks
Oh, we give thanks for this precious day.
For all gathered here and those far away.
For this time we share with love and care.
Oh, we give thanks for this precious day.
Wendy Luella PerkinsWendy Luella Perkins
All We Have Ever Loved
All we have ever loved
and all we have ever been,
stand with us on the edge
of all creation

Amen (4x)

Peace going deeper
Love growing larger
Hope getting stonger
And joy here together

Amen (4x)
Adapted from Rev. Leslie Takahashie
Verses from a traditional American folk song?
Chorus traditional African American (popularized by Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field)
Original verses:
"When I get to the other side, I ain't gonna work no more.
I work so much whenI'm on this side, my legs are tired and my back is sore.
When I get to the other side, I ain't gonna drink no more.
I drink so much when I'm on this side, I forget what I started for.
When I get to the other side, I ain't gonna pray no more.
Pray so much when I'm on this side, Never get what I'm asking for."

Matt learned this from Nicole Singer, who learned it from a guy riding freight trains.
May Your Life be as a Song
May your life be as a song,
resounding with the dawn,
to sing awake the light.
And softly serenade the stars,
ever dancing circles in the night. Scott
There is a love
There is a love holding us.
There is a love holding all that we love.
There is a love holding all.
We rest in this love. Rebecca ParkerBeth Norton
We Are Builing Up a New World
We are building up a new world (3x)
Builders must be strong

Courage, sisters don’t get weary
Courage, brothers don’t get weary
Courage, people don’t get weary
Though the way be long

Bright shine, give God glory (3x)
Children of the Light HardingTraditional African American
We Can't Be SIlent
We can't be silent while our friends are gunned now.
That's why we gotta say no
to police violence til we shake the whole town.
So sing it with me, hey yo!

I am sleeping giant. There is a riot in my town.
I am sleeping giant. There is a riot in my town.
"i am a sleeping giant" taken from Suzi Q "Sleeping Giant
"We can't be silent" melody from Azaelia Banks "212" w words by J. Laurie
Refugees are Welcome Here
Oh refugees are welcome here
Refugees are welcome here
Oh how I love thee as my neighbor
Refugees are welcome here
Refugees are welcome here
Mother earth is everyone's home.
Refugees are welcome here
Mother earth is everyone's home. RichardsMelody of "Swing Low" and "When the Saints"
It Doesn't Have to Be Like this
It doesn't have to be like this (2x)

We're here, we were blind but now we see!
There are More Water Rising
There are more waters rising,
This I know, This I know.
There are more waters rising,
This I know.
There are more waters rising,
They will find their way to me.
There are more waters rising,
This I know.

There are more fires burning...

There are more mountains falling...

I will wade through the waters...
I will wade through the waters,
When they find their way to me…

I will walk through the fires…
I will walk through the fires,
When they find their way to me…

I will rebuild the mountains…
I will rebuild the mountains,
When they find their way to me… Lynch-ThomasonSaro Lynch-Thomason
We Shall Be Known
We shall be known by the company we keep,
by the ones you circle round to tend these fires.
We shall be known by the ones you sow and reap,
the seeds of change that lie from deep within the earth.

It is time now, it is time now that we thrive.
It is time we lead ourselves into the well.
It is time now and what a time to be alive.
In this great turning we shall learn to lead in love.
In this great turning we shall learn to lead in love.
Ella's Song
We who believe in freedom can not rest
We who believe in freedom can not rest until it comes. Honey in the RockWords from Ella Baker, Activist and organizer
May You Walk in Your Life as a Warrior
May you walk in your life as a warrior
Clear and loving and strong
May you walk in your life as a warrior
Trusting the path you are on

May you walk in your life as a healer...

May you walk in your life as a lover…

May you walk in your life as a woman... RoseBetsy Rose
Compassionate Eyes
May my hands do the work I was sent here to do.
May my ears know the truth from the lies.
May my voice speak for justice, may I walk unafraid.
May I see through compassionate eyes.
We Shall Come Together SingingHow shall we come together?
We shall come together singing.
When shall we come together?
We shall come together now.

How shall we hold the suffering?
We shall hold the suffering singing.
When shall hold the suffering?
We shall hold the suffering now.

How shall we light the darkness?
We shall light the darkness singing.
When shall we light the darkness?
We shall light the darkness now. WheelerMaggie Wheeler
What We Need is HereWhat we need is here McCreathAmy McCreath
Open My HeartOpen My HeartAnna HernandezAna HernandezAna Hernandez
When You Were Born
When you were born you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die
The world cries and you rejoice.
Solid as a Rock
Solid as a rock (Solid as a rock)
Rooted like a tree (rooted like a tree)
I am here! (I am here!)
Standing strong! (standing strong!)
In my rightful place (In my rightful place)
Other Song Lists
Music That Makes Community
Songs for the Great Turning
Justice Choir
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