Ga gona ya tswanang le Jesu

Mary Yoder from our group and I went to a Village Harmony workshop with Patty Cuyler, who taught us this song.  There is a bit of a dance to it too.

The words are here:

Ga gona ya tswanang le Jesu

Ga gona ya tswanang naye     

Ka nyaka nyaka gole gole

Ka dikuloga gole gole

Ka mo humana Jesu waka

Ga gona ya tswanang na ye

There are many versions of this on YouTube, including singers from South Africa, but I chose this link because it is the closest to what I learned, including the dance.

Jari Ya Hamouda

Heard this song for the first time in Morocco when I was attending the World Sacred Music Festival.  Joan Baez sang it.  Only problem with Joan is that while she sang the first verse in arabic, the other verses were sung in Franco-arabic of some sort.  So, when I got a copy of the “Lyrics”, my lyrics were not what she sang, but what the original Tunisian singer Lora Khalil sang.

My Link is to Lora Khalil’s version, but you really should look up Joan Baez some time too since hers is a very compelling performance.

Jari ya hamouda v2  Here are the lyrics   YouTube link to Lora Khalil

The translation was also somewhat difficult to obtain, but we did manage to get a translation from Roset Khosropour’s friend Denna.  Some of the words were still a little bit hard to distinguish so our wonderful Roset worked with me to look again at the original arabic words and make sure our version was somewhat accurate.  Some words in our tranliteration are spelled out in a way to make them more western friendly in terms of pronouciation.

Village Harmony in Macedonia

Unlike most of the other posts in the World Music Chorus section of this blog, this posting is to give you easy access to You Tube videos performed by the Village Harmony group that I was with traveling to Macedonia this summer. 

We spent 10 days in a village called Berovo (which is south and east of Macedonia’s main capital Skopje) learning Macedonian music (and dance).  The last few days we traveled and performed concerts.  We did a concert at our home base of Berovo, then on to Vinici, then to Radovic and finally in Skopje where we were part of a larger summer music festival.

Luckily there was video being shot at the last performance so here are some links to our chorus:

Si zapali pile treno:

Cudna Zera Bese Vera:

Abre Vodenichare:

Tvoite Oci Leno Mori

Dafino Vino Crveno

English songs….Where Shall I Be:

Stormy Weather:


Leppiainen from Varttina

This song is from the Finnish group Varttina.  I have several of their CD’s.  Luckily having a YouTube video and the lyrics from the Varttina website we are going to bravely tackle the pronunciation. 

YouTube link:

Lyrics:  Leppiäinen Vaartina

Tehvid Etsin Dilimiz

The title of this Turkish Sufi chant translates to mean “May there be unity”.  It comes from a collection of music given to me by a group of Sufi’s belonging to the Halveti-Jerrahi tradition when they were first relocating in the US from Turkey in the early 1980’s. 

Inside the lyrics I provided my words and translation are lacking the special characters that are part of the Turkish alphabet.  Undotted I’s, letters with umlauts and other markings were not able to be included.  I have also modified the Turkish lyrics to replace letters that English speakers would normally pronouce differently…such as letter c, which in Turkish is a j sound. 

Thanks to Nesecan Balkan an economics professor at Hamilton College who provided the translation.




Suliko is a song from the Republic of Georgia.  I got music and words from a friend of mine, Will Parker, who was connected to the Kartuli ensemble – a men’s chorus that specializes in singing Georgian music.

Suliko has been translated into many languages and if you surf YouTube you will find many versions in Russian as well as Georgian and performed as everything from a simple folk song to pop-rock-karaoke.

I have only slightly modified the words from what came with the printed music and separated syllables with dashes to help break down the speech rhythm of the song.  Here are the lyrics:  SULIKO

Here is a fairly traditional YouTube version:

Lab pe ati

Lab pe ati”  is a children’s prayer from India/Pakistan in the Urdu language.  It has a very beautiful translation. 

Link to YouTube:

Lyrics and translation:  URDU PRAYER2


This is the traditional Lord’s “Our Father” prayer, only in the original language that Jesus spoke….Aramaic.  There are many versions of this on YouTube.  I picked one that was a fairly straight forward chant like melody.

I have also “transcribed” the lyrics.  There are downloadable lyrics, but the way it is spelled makes things difficult to pronouce for anyone who is not familiar with this language.  My transcription is strictly what it sounds like to me.  I am hoping it is easier for English speakers to learn than the original, but we will see.


Doktare Boyer Ahmadi

This free-flowing and hauntingly beautiful song was taught to us in a workshop by Fereshteh Khosropour in December 2010.



This Indian chant was one we learned early in our journey together.  Not only was it already in the UU hymnal but we had Sunithi Bajekal to help us learn how to pronouce the words.


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