As winter draws near, we’re looking forward to celebrating with friends and loved ones at this family solstice festival. Many members of our community are bringing their talents to create this event.  People are preparing to lead games and crafting, put on a puppet show, bring food, and so much more.  I love that we’re all going to be doing this together, and I can’t wait to see it all come together.

Naturally, one of my favorite parts of preparing for a gathering like this is the music!  Here are song teaching videos for the songs we’ll sing at the festival.  These songs, along with the songs that Mothersong Chorus will perform, draw on a variety of traditions to create a celebration that I hope will feel welcoming to all.

I encourage you, if at all possible, to learn these songs from the videos and teach them to your child, rather than sitting down in front of the screen together to watch the videos.  When you sing to your child, you call down the full sacred power of oral tradition.  Whether it is a grandmother, whispering a tale from her youth into the ear of a toddler on her lap, or a late night lullaby hummed under the breath, oral tradition is powerful, and it is for all of us.  When you sing to your child, you imbue the song with your love and warmth.  As the parent of your child, the one who loves and knows your child more deeply than any other person, that act is especially sacred.  Moreover, you are modeling what is, I believe, one of the most powerful lessons we can teach our children– how to be an active creator in this world, rather than a passive audience.  I believe that the world needs this now, more than ever.

One final note…  There is a developmental stage that most children go through.  Some of you may recognize it.  It’s called “MAMA, DON’T SING!”  😉

I just want to tell you, if your child is going through this phase, just know that it’s not your voice.  It’s not you.  It can be hard, but try not to take it personally.  Don’t give up!  It happened with my own children.  It still happens sometimes.

If your child is going through this stage, you may be wondering what it’s about.  The short answer is, it can be about a lot of things.  Your child may be sensorily overwhelmed in that moment.  He may be testing, to see how you’ll react.  She may just be having a rough day, and feel like she needs some quiet.  (Don’t we all, sometimes!)  Whatever the specific reason in that moment, you can trust that this is a natural part of your child’s development, rather than a reflection of your own voice or abilities.  Children need to test out their power in this way, as they seek the boundaries to learn what they can and can’t control.

Don’t give up.  Look for a quiet moment and try again.

If it remains difficult to engage your child through singing, you might do it playfully, by introducing a character or stuffed animal who loves to sing.  You could even introduce a stuffed animal or doll who’s specifically to this time of year– who has come to teach the Solstice Festival songs.

The message I want my children to receive is this.  The world needs our voices.  The earth, plants and animals need to hear our songs.  I may even have said it aloud to them a few times.  It sounds like not much to them, right now.  But the truth is, I mean this more than they can possibly know.

Thanks for reading, all, and happy singing!  Those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re looking forward to marking this moment with you.

 

Rise Up O Flame

 

Lyrics:

Rise up o flame

by thy light glowing

bring to us beauty

vision and joy

 

King Winter

 

Lyrics:

King Winter now is in the land

he reigns with cold and feezing hand

he makes Jack Frost touch nose and toes

and gives the wind the cold he blows

 

North Wind Shall Blow

 

Lyrics:

The north wind doth blow

and we shall have snow

and what will poor Robin do then, poor thing?

He’ll sit in the barn

to keep himself warm

and hide his head under his wing

Poor thing!

 

Lord of the Dance

 

Lyrics:

I danced in the morning

When the world was begun,

And I danced for the moon

And the stars and the sun,

And I came down from heaven

And I danced on the earth,

At Bethlehem
 I had my birth.

 

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he

 

I danced for the scribe

And the pharisee,

But they would not dance

And they wouldn’t follow me.

I danced for the fishermen,

For James and John

They came with me

And the Dance went on.

 

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he

 

I danced in the village

And I cured the lame;

I called the children

and all the children came
to breathe fresh air
in the woods so free
where I am the Lord of the Dance said he

 

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he

 

They pushed me down

And I leapt up high;

For I am the light

That will never, never die;

I’ll live in you
If you’ll live in me –

I am the Lord
 Of the Dance, said he.

 

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he

 

  –Traditional, adapted for children by NV