UU Women and Religion

... toward a new day ...

Music for Women's History Month

UU Santa FeSomeone was asking -- what hymns in the UU Singing the Living Tradition (STLT) hymnal speak to women's history and/or are by women composers or lyricists? I did a bit of checking around. Hmm, I see we still have a ways to go. The STLT Index of Composers only lists around 80 women composers, arrangers or lyricists … out of several hundred. Which ones speak to you?

I especially like anything by Carolyn McDade: 121 We’ll Build A Land, 123 Spirit of Life, 346 Come Sing A Song with Me. I think she speaks more to present and universal experience than to history, but that's just me.

How about Shelley Jackson Denham (who passed away last summer), 55 Dark of Winter, 86 Blessed Spirit of My Life… almost forgot 354 We Laugh We Cry
Carole Etzler Eagleheart, 212 Sarah’s Circle
Mary Grigolia, 396 I Know This Rose Will Open
Linda Hirschhorn, 155 Circle Round for Freedom
Grace Lewis McLaren, 73, 123, 168, 301 Touch the Earth Reach the Sky (one of my favorites), 359
Holly Near, 170 Gentle Angry People and lots more not in the hymnal
Joyce Poley, 168 One More Step and others
Malvina Reynolds, 313 O What A Piece of Work Are We
Sally Rogers, 131 Love Will Guide Us
Alicia Carpenter 409 Sleep My Child (and others)

Some songs directly speaking to women’s history would be
212 Sarah’s Circle
109 As We Come Marching, Marching (Bread and Roses) – Carolyn Kohlsaat, Betty A Wylder

In my opinion, further research might turn up how many Spirituals attributed only as “African American traditional” were written by women. Or maybe not, as a major problem is that so often women’s contributions were (and still are) written out of history.

Singing the Journey, our UU "hymnal supplement" has a bunch more. I like anything by Dr. Ysaye Barnwell (Sweet Honey In the Rock),"No Mirrors in My Nana's House," "Wanting Memories."

Sarah Dan Jones “Meditation on Breathing” (1009) is a great one to teach a congregation. 1053 How Could Anyone, by Libby Roderick is one often sung to close UU women’s gatherings.

A few non-hymnal sources:

Many songs by Carole Eagleheart, especially “Standing Before Us,” which speaks directly to women who led the way. This is perfect after a service where historical UU women are talked about. The only place I know of where the sheet music is published is in the Cakes for the Queen of Heaven curriculum. I could contact Carole about making copies available. It is only the melody line, though it lends itself well to improvised harmonies.

Anything by Emma’s Revolution! www.emmasrevolution.com. Keep On Moving Forward comes to mind.

Mary Grigolia: http://marygrigolia.com/music/songs-of-the-month-archives/ especially "Speak and Listen."

Ubaka Hill, especially MotherBeat, “Women dancing down through the centuries..” http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ubakahill1

Here are a couple of pages with more lists: http://songsabout.com/tag/womens-history-month/

Ah! And don’t forget Meg Barnhouse: http://www.megbarnhouse.com/

I especially like Walela, "I Have No Indian Name," and their arrangement of "Cherokee Morning Song," which is very singable in a congregational setting... or to your grandbabies.

Olympia's Daughters

Shelley Graff

Julie Forest Middleton, author of Songs for Earthlings



Ann Reed's "Heroes"

Emma's Revolution's "We Were There"

"Tree of Life" - written by Eric Peltoriemi from the play entitled "Plain Hearts: Songs and Stories of Midwestern Prairie Women" by Lance S. Belville, music and lyrics by Mr. Peltoriemi. The song lists quilt patterns and concludes, "We're only known as someone's mother, someone's daughter, or someone's wife, but with our hands and with our vision, we make the patterns for the tree of life." I am partial to this arrangement by a South bend Indiana group called MotherLode who were active in the early 2000s.

Bonnie Lockhart's "Who Were the Witches"

Oh, just go to Ladyslipper Music to find a real treasure trove!


E-mail me if you have more ideas! info@uuwr.org -- Gretchen