Kaia's Music
Our repertoire included world music from the raucous to the sublime. We also performed jazz, blues, improv, spirituals, original works, and anything else we like! See below for sample mp3s and vids.

Purchase physical CDs at the Kaia store or online as downloadable mp3s from popular sites like Amazon and iTunes. Just enter the name of the CD in Amazon's or iTunes' search box to gain access to whole albums and downloadable tracks. Or you could pay the same price and give us literally ten times more cash if you purchase tracks through the CDBaby interface below!

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Adapted by the Albany Movement from traditional African-American
Arr. Ysaye M. Barnwell and Kaia

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The Albany Movement, formed 1961, was a broad-based campaign challenging all forms of segregation and discrimination in Albany, GA. Martin Luther King, Jr was a member and shaped its views on nonviolent activism. This song was popular during the civil rights era. We updated the lyrics to make it relevant to our struggles under the Bush/Cheney administration.

Eastern European Yiddish folksong adapted by A. Litvin
Lyrics adapted from 1890 Morris Winchevsky poem Akhdes
Arr. Joshua Jacobson

This raucous stompin' song was extremely popular among progressives in Europe in the 1920’s, celebrating the common bonds of humanity. Join in with us!
Transl.: "We're all brothers, singing joyous songs. We stick together like no one else. We're all united, no matter what we have. We all love one another like newlyweds. We're happy and lively, singing snogs, tapping our feet. And we're all sisters, too, just like Rachel, Ruth, and Esther."

Lyrics Julia Ward Howe
Music Lara Weaver

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A stirring musical setting of an excerpt from Julia Ward Howe's "Mother's Day Proclamation." Written in 1870, Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. The Proclamation was tied to Howe's feminist belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level. In one of history's ironies, Howe is known today primarily as the author of the lyrics to the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Trad. Zulu
Great to dance to!
Things are the way they are because of prayer.
The women of old used to pray.

Trad. puirt-à-beul (mouth music)
Eigg, The Hebrides, Scotland
Arr. Libana

The Birthday Song ('60s STYLE)
Cairril Adaire
Add. lyrics Angela Berzins
Arr. Kaia
Published by Amargi Music (ASCAP). Used by permission.
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Serenade someone special with this '60s-style birthday song. You'll be banging your tamborine just like Davy Jones!

Andy Irvine & Jane Cassidy
Arr. Cairril Adaire

This intensely powerful 1970s anti-war song was first heard by Cairril in the 1990s on a Thistle & Shamrock show that connected the piece to the war-ravaged states of the former Yugoslavia. The lyrics are a throwback to World War I (see our "deconstruction" PDF) but, sadly, apply to most wars.
Blood & Gold lyrics deconstructed (PDF)

Trad. Bulgarian
Arr. Philip Koutev

The following decription of the song is from Libana: Petruna is leading the dance. A young bumpkin, thinking to court her, gets into line right next to her. In his eagerness to impress her, he dances so wildly that he knocks over her bouquet and covers her feet with mud.

Trad. Bulgarian
A charming little tune about a frisky porcupine.
Transl. by Zlatka K. Enright:
"Jelka went to plow and sow
Down the hills came Ejko Bejko Taralejko
Over the [garden] rows he startled her
Startled her, kissed her."

DEATH CAME A-KNOCKIN' (Travelin' shoes)
Trad. African-American spiritual
Arr. Angela Berzins, Cairril Adaire, Lara Weaver

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Our soulful, tear-down rendition of this classic celebratory spiritual. Also known as Travelin' Shoes.

Anne Steele, 1760
A lovely shape-note song about how patience, hope, and faith help us overcome life's tribulations.

Trad. Croatian
Brought to us by Sue and Marytha of Libana, this Balkan piece is a traditional Croatian Midsummer/Solstice song. Groups of girls travel the village singing it, wishing good crops and good luck to the farmers. In return, villagers give them presents of eggs and cheese. The girls are called Ladarice because they sing to Lada, goddess of fertility.

Trad. African-American spiritual
Arr. Sweet Honey in the Rock and Kaia

Popular civil rights song

Ukrainian folksong
As sung by Drevo

A lament for a woman's dead fiancé, but also an allegorical lament for the death of the spirit of the Ukraine.
Translation by Nadia Tarnawsky:
"In the field, there is a tree, very thin and tall
On this tree there are leaves, wide and green
Upon that tree sits a black crow who caws
And for a Cossack a young maiden weeps
Oh Cossack, you with the periwinkle plaited into a cross
Who will make your bed for you on your journey"

Trad. Xhosa
Arr. Cairril Adaire, based on Stephen Hatfield

A South African dance tune with lots of great percussion!
Translation as reported by Simon Loveless:
The honeybird carries sour milk. It is no good for my child, so let us chase him away with a big bang.

Trad. Ladino folksong
Arr. Cairril Adaire

Beautiful lullabye from the Jewish tradition.

Translation by Amy Jackson:
Sleep, sleep mother's little boy
Free from worry and pain
Listen to your mother's words
the words of prayer
Sleep, sleep mother's little boy
With the beauty of Sh'ma Yisrael*

*Sh'ma Yisrael is a prayer recited before sleep for spiritual protection

Lara Weaver, with Kaia
A wonderful tune about greeting the day with a song, no matter what the day might bring.

Music: Josef Hadar
Lyrics: Moshe Dor (from Song of Songs)
Arr. by Cairril Adaire

Gorgeous love song often sung at Jewish weddings.

Translation by Sara Kramer:
"Evening of roses
Let us go out to the grove
Myrrh, fragrant spices, and incense
Are a threshold for your feet
Night falls slowly
And the wind of roses is blowing
Let me whisper you a song, secretly
A song of love
Dawn, a dove is cooing
Your head is filled with dew
Your mouth is a rose unto the morning
I will pick it for myself
Night falls slowly
And the wind of roses is blowing
Let me whisper you a song, secretly
A song of love"

Trad. Bulgarian
A great tune about "Red Grandad" who goes into the village to dance with the women there. Only one maiden stays behind: Angelina.

Melody Spencer Williams
Lyrics Jack Palmer
Arr. by Cairril Adaire, from an arrangement by the Boswell Sisters

This fast-paced, syncopated jazz piece comes from a 1920s recording by the Boswell Sisters. They were an exceptionally talented jazz trio performing in the 1920s and '30s. Tommy Dorsey, Bunny Berigan, Ella Fitzgerald, and many other jazz greats counted the Boswell Sisters as significant influences. This is a classic example of their style, with tight harmonies, multiple changes of tempo, and the world's most challenging scat singing!

Wicked Tinkers
Arr. Lorraine Ficarrotta

An Irish bawdy song from one of the wildest acts in Celtic music!

Jonatha Brooke/The Story
Arr. Cairril Adaire

A darkly humorous look at the agonies of dieting and the sometimes twisted nature of women's body image.

Jane Finlayson
Arr. Sheena Phillips and Kaia

Composed by Jane Finlayson of Tong, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, for an Uig fisherman named Donald MacRae in the late 18th century. It speaks of her longing and worry for him as she waits, wondering if he will ever return. He did—and they married.

O boatman
My fond wishes go with you each place you go.

1. Often I look out from the highest hilltop
Trying to see the boatman
Will you come today, or will you come tomorrow?
Or will you come at all, me being so sad?

2. My very heart is broken and bruised
Often tears fall from my eyes
Will you come tonight, will I expect you?
Or will I close the door with a dejected sigh?

3. I often ask the other boatmen
Whether they’ve seen you, if you are safe
But all they ever say is
What a fool I am to love you.

Cairril Adaire
Mel. Zuni lullabye
(see Mamamerica, next column)
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This arrangement came out of an improvisation that Kaia did on a Zuni lullabye after listening to Legende de la Femme Enmuree (The Legend of the Walled-Up Woman) from the CD set Unblocked: The Music of Eastern Europe. Cairril chose Navajo words to tell a story of the destruction of First Nations peoples. Doo k'é nizin da, is an extreme insult translating as "He or she does not think according to kinship." Kinship is not just with other humans; it's with the entire natural world. Ritual is necessary to integrate the ill individual back into the collective whole. Ch´ééna expresses the deep lament of those who were forced to migrate over "what had been lost in their move across continents and oceans and never regained." The final word, Manaba, is a Navajo name meaning "War returned with her coming." In the wars and forced migrations across this land, her first peoples were decimated in soul as well as body. We offer this piece to honor all that was lost and to tell of the consequences of disconnection from the Whole.

Trad. Syrian/Iraqi
Arr. Salim Bali

This love song is very popular in Syria and Iraq but is usually performed as a high-energy dance tune. Our version combines a mostly choral version arranged by Salim Bali with an energetic ending. We have seen videos of Syrian refugees singing this song as they try to make their way across Europe. We offer this piece in the hope of peace in the Middle East.
"There above, I have an intimate friend.
Is it his cheek that shone? Or is it the moon up above?
By God, I do not want him; his love troubles me.
Your cheek shone, my love, and lit over Baghdad.
God took his time creating you, and was indeed generous.
By God, I am taken by him; I don't know what to do with myself.
By God, o water course, give my regards to them.
It' so hard being apart; I do long for my loved ones.
By God, I do not want him; his love troubles me."

Trad. African-American
Lyr. Cairril Adaire; Arr. Cairril Adaire, Lorraine Ficarrotta, Jenny Gibson

A rousing gospel song used during the civil rights movement. This is the second of three pieces Cairril arrranged to protest the policies of the Bush/Cheney administration (the others are I Will and Not One More Day).

Trad. Georgian
Arr. Anchiskhati Choir
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A beautiful song celebrating Spring.
Transl. by Elene Pagava and Ia Iashvili
"Spring is coming, I'm delighted.
Spring is making me drunk with its coquetry and beauty
Spring is so tender, it's diamond,
It's beautiful, Spring is so good!
Full of merriment, perfect with relief
Spring is so charming
Who can get tired of praising it?
What can be compared with the Spring? Spring is so good!
When Nature is blooming,
When the heart is full of changes,
I bless Spring.
It fills the heart with happiness. Spring is so good!"

Son House
Arr. and add. lyrics Cairril Adaire, Angela Berzins, Lara Weaver
We took a 1930s tune by blues legend Son House and turned it into a Delta Rae-inspired work song with some Boswell Sisters jazz thrown in before we take a turn to gospel at the end. Add some body percussion and you've got a song hot enough to burn down the roof!

Trad. English
Arr. Lorraine Ficarrotta, Jenny Gibson, Jane Goodman, Tristra Newyear Yeager
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This lively English May Day song has a long provenance, with one verse referenced in Shakespeare. See the Malcolm Douglas thread from 08 Jan 2000 for interesting details. Kaiasistah Tristra Newyear cobbled together this particular version from a variety of sources.


Trad. Scots mouth music (puirt-á-beul)
Arr. Janice Bagwell

Depicts a chase through the woods and back and forth across a river.

Mouth music is a type of singing devised to imitate instrumental sounds, usually pipes, often for dancing. It arose after traditional Highland instruments were banned after the Scottish rising against the English throne in 1745. "Lyrics" are usually nonsense sounds that preserve instrumental sounds.

Todd Rundgren
Adapted by Cairril Adaire

From Rundgren’s groundbreaking album, A Cappella. A fabulous exploration of Sufi mysticism and peer pressure. :-) A teenager pleads with Hodja to "please show how to spin; I wanna do that dance 'til I forget where I am." All of this is a reference to Sufi Whirling Dervishes. Nasreddin Hodja was a Sufi mystic who taught through humor; the song's uptempo rhythms and desperate teenager who wants to become a mystic just to be popular are a great reflection of that.

Trad. Irish, collected in Eastern Canada, though still sung in Sliabh Luachra, Co Kerry, Eire
Arr. Amy Jackson and Jane Goodman

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A wonderful example of traditional Irish music, cautioning the late-night traveler against spooky things that go bump in the night!

Todd Rundgren
Another piece from his seminal album A Cappella, we've changed the lyrics to address the impacts of globalization.

Trad. Japanese
Arr. Ro Ogura

Transl. by David Larson:
"Come, firefly, come! There's some water that's bitter to taste
Come, here's some water that's sweet to your taste
Come, firefly, come! Up this mountain path
Firefly's daddy struck it rich
So he's got lots of dough
No wonder that his rear end sparkles in the dark
In the daytime hiding among the dewy blades of grass
But when it's night, his lantern burns bright
Even though we've flown all the way from India
Zoom! and those sparrows swarm to swallow us
Look! see a thousand lanterns sparkling in the dark"

Moira Smiley

A tribute to the great '90s Bloomington a cappella band Vida. This moving song answers the question of how a privileged group can sing of oppression and pain.

Arr. Cairril Adaire

We take a funky turn to 1990s house style music with this impassioned defense of the environment.

I Love Everybody
Civil rights-era song
Arr. Kaia

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Kaiasistah Lara learned this piece at a workshop given by Ysaye M. Barnwell, who in turn learned it as a prepatory song for a civil rights march in the 1960s. In the basement of a church, knowing they were heading out to face hostile law enforcement armed with water cannons, dogs, and guns, the group was told to sing the song until they meant every word of it. No matter what they faced outside those doors, they would carry love in their hearts.

This recording from Bloomington's community celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. That's Lara and her son Jade Prieboy rockin' out on the drums!

Arr. Cairril Adaire

From the album Hail to the Thief, a reference to the 2000 "election" of George Bush. The song chronicles the journey from the desire to give up struggling to the determination to rise up—for the sake of creating a better world for our children. This was the first of three pieces Cairril arranged in response to the policies of the Bush/Cheney administration (the others being Freedom Land and Not One More Day).

Cairril Adaire
Arr. Kaia

It was one of those nights where it was critical that she get sleep, but Cairril tossed and turned and swore but just could not drift off. She prayed for sleep and instead got this tear-down body percussion dance song. No sleep that night!

Lyr. Jimmy Kennedy
Music Nat Simon
Arr. Cairril Adaire

Written in 1953 for The Four Lads (though based on an earlier piece), this amusing piece of musical fluff was given new life by They Might Be Giants on their 1990 album Flood. Our arrangement combines swing, jazz, and an excursion into Brooklyn.

Trad. Bulgarian
Arr. Dessislava Stefanova

Great tune contrasting long Bulgarian phrases with Turkish-inspired 7/8 choruses!

A bright star has risen. It is not a bright star. It is a beatiful maiden.

Mel. Father’s Whiskers (and variants thereof!)
Lyr. Angela Berzins
Arr. Kaia

Blatant self-promotion using our version of barbershop harmonies and Julie Andrews pronunciation.

Trad. Finnish
Arr. Angela Berzins

Our tribute to the youngest kids in the Kaia tribe.
Transl.: Over there I see a white house. From the chimney tower rises smoke. And from there I hear [name] singing.

Trad. puirt-à-beul (mouth music)
Arr. Libana

Transl.: "I heard it of three and I heard it of four that my love has gone away."

LA CAnzone del pane
Philippe Eidel
As sung by Mammas
Sample (Freedom Land)
Sample (Messin' Around)
Transl. by Maria Adele Pizzi
Be blessed, and ever more blessed
Oh grain which produces bread (nourishment)
Sun, you have brought it from the earth
Sun, you give us bread (nourishment)
Sun, you have brought it from the earth
Sun, you have given it to me

Trad. Ladino folksong
Arr. by Amy Jackson and Angela Berzins

Transl.: "The rose blooms in May but my soul wilts from love sickness; the nightingales sing with sighs of love. In your hands are my soul and fate. Come quicker, dove, hurry and save me."

Trad. Mexican folksong
Arr. Stephen Hatfield
That wacky Stephen Hatfield. What else can we say?
The yellow calandras [birds] fly from the cactus
No longer will the cardinals sing happily
To the song
Because the trees on the hillside have not come back to life
For that the calandras will either sing or crash their nests
You are small and beautiful and I love you just the way you are
You are like a little rose from the coast of Guerrero
Everybody has heir own farewell, but there's none like this one
Four times five is twenty, three times seven is twenty-one

Anna-Mari Kahara
As sung by Philomela
This fantastic Finnish song is entitled Song While the Potatoes Boil. The pulsing rhythm generates a real joy as we sing for the love of singing.
I sing a song for the water, I sing a song for the trees
I sing a song for you, who else?
I sing the light into the sky, I sing a path to here
And if you all come here, I will be your friend
I sing of the source of the brook and of the dark woods
Because of course nothing can keep me from singing
I sing the water to bubble and boil potatoes
I sing a dartboard and throw a dart into it
I sing a song to mead, I sing to raisins
I sing a song to bread, I sing a song to butter
I sing the plates onto the table, the knives and even forks
I sing a song to the birds and lap spring water
I sing a song to the days of life, I sing to death
Which I put to sleep under the doormat
I sing because I feel like singing, I sing because I sing
Until the cold wanderer strikes my tongue with an iron nail
I sing because I feel like singing, I sing because I feel like singing
I sing, I sing, I sing, I sing

Trad. Croatian folksong
Transl.: "Beautiful Juro made the bonfire in the evening on St George's Day. With his right hand, he made the bonfire, and with his left hand, he made the wreath."
A beautiful Croatian song praising Juro, who brings the Spring.

LET Me in this ae Night
Trad. Scots
Lyr. Robert Burns
Arr. Frances Cockburn

This saucy tune is about a young couple going behind their parents' backs to get up to some hanky-panky. We made Cockburn's arrangement much more raucous in keeping with the spirit of the piece. Have a whisky on us!

Alan Pelhon & Mauris Sgaravizzi
As recorded by Paroplapi
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Haunting protest song in Occitan (a dying language) from southern France/northern Spain. We don't know much about its origins, but if anyone knows Occitan, we'd love to know what this Lu Lups article says!
Translation from the French by Jane Goodman:
"One day ends like the others
But the wolves are still howling
One day ends like the others
But the wolves guard the prisons
They went out without saying anything
To go and sow fear
They went out without saying anything
Masked in shame and terror
They penetrated into the heart of the town
Without seeing who was in front [of them]
They trampled down/crushed/flattened everything
Eager for flesh and blood
They are still everywhere in the roads and fields
Watch out, because surely tomorrow
They will jump on your spine like crazy people (?)
To leave you dying [lit. without blood] in the middle (of the road)
Come, friends, we will flush out the game [ie in hunting]
In order to snuff them out like bastard rats
So that not a single one will escape
Between now and tomorrow [lit. from now until tomorrow]
A day like no other is rising
The wind blows from the plains to the woods
Crazy-drunk on freedom
The day is rising, we must help each other
One day ends like the others
But the wolves are still howling"

Trad. Irish drinking song
Learn the chorus and sing along with us!

Because he's got no faloorum, fai-diddle, fai-loorum
He's got no fa-loorum, fai-diddle all day!
He's got no fa-loorum, he's lost his ding-doorum
Maids, when you're young, never wed an old man!

Medley: Zuni lullabye/God Bless America/Hopi chant/Hey Mama/Mother, I Feel You Under My Feet
Zuni Lullabye: Hm atseki okshits'ana pokets'ana. Transl.: "My boy, little cotton tail, little jackrabbit"
God Bless America: Music by Irving Berlin; Lyrics by Lara Weaver
Hopi Chant: Hey Yanna Ho Yanna Hey Yanna
Hey Mama: Pagan chant by Gypsy
Mother, I Feel You Under My Feet: By Diane Martin

Zuni/God Bless/Hopi arranged by Upstart
Hey Mama/Mother arranged by Cairril Adaire

Trad. Xhosa
Arr. Kaia

Many thanks to Jim Cubbin, who pointed us to a translation of the lyrics for this!
Translation by Theodore Bikel in Folksongs and Footnotes: An International Songbook:
Aunt, open the door for me, I am getting wet with rain.
Whether I am here, whether I am there, I'm getting wet with rain.

Trad. Colombian folksong
Arr. Julián Goméz Giraldo & Kaia

Maquerúle was a baker fellow from Andagoya, they called him "good old Maquerúle," going broke selling on credit.
Knead the bread, Maquerúle, work it out; work the bread with your hands, sweat it out.
Maquerúle isn't here. Maquerúle is in Condoto. When he returns, he'll find out his wife's gone off with another.
Knead the bread, Maquerúle, work it out; work the bread with your hands, sweat it out.
Maquerúle kneads the bread, but now he sells cash only! Maquerúle doesn't want to sell his bread on credit.
Knead the bread, Maquerúle, work it out; work the bread with your hands, sweat it out.

Mus. Daniel Reed Lyr. Jerry McIlvain
As recorded by Monkey Puzzle

A tribute to one of Bloomington's great a cappella bands of the '90s. This hilarious doo-wop tune is about a father who wrestles with the news that his son is gay.

Trad. Québécois
Arr. Galant, Tu Perds ton temps

Translation by Lise Bernier and Laurent Castellucci
Stay on, stay on, stay on, Marie Picard. Have another glass.
It is not late. It is not late; it’s a quarter to midnight.
Onward the merry band
God protect merry people!
Onward the merry band
The merry band onward
It is forbidden to shout in the street
After curfew
It is forbidden to shout in the street
Past the hours
Stay on Marie Picard
Good night or good day
To you dear Sir
Who wants to forbid us to shout so
Good night or good day
To you Madame.
We will see each other again another evening
Drink one, drink two, drink three, drink four.
Marie Picard, take another drink
Drink four, drink three, drink two, drink one.
Marie Picard, it’s a quarter to midnight.

Mess Around
Ahmet Ertegün (A. Nugetre)
Arr. Ray Charles, Lara Weaver, Cairril Adaire

Total roof-raiser. Get ready to dance!

Trad. African-American
Lyr. and Arr. Cairril Adaire

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A stirring call, written during the Bush/Cheney administration, for an end to the war in Iraq. This is the last of three pieces Cairril wrote in protest of Bush/Cheney polices (the other two being I Will and Freedom Land).

Od Yavo Shalom Alaynu
Trad. Hebrew
Arr. Amy Jackson

A combination of Hebrew and Arabic lyrics show the desire for peace in this uplifting folksong.
Transl. "There will be peace for us and all the world. Peace for us and all the world; peace, peace."

OI, Rano na ivana
Trad. Russian
Arr. Kaia

A traditional St John's/Midsummer Day tune to invoke fertility.

Translation by Tristra Newyear:
The sun was wandering around and around.
There's nowhere for the sun to stop.
So we girls head into the green forest,
And there we meet the kupalochka [the leader of the midsummer bathing rituals]
"Kupalochka, tell us
Where did the sun go bathing?"

Trad. Bantu lullabye
Arr. Lara Weaver from Miriam Makeba

A beautiful lament about a mother who cannot feed her starving child, and tries to hush the crying child to sleep.

Translation by Jonas Gwangwa & E. John Miller:
Early one morning, in the homelands,
on my way to my favorite haunt
In the homelands, I heard a beautiful voice from the hilltop.
It was a haunting melody in the homelands.
The woman sang beautifully in the homelands.
Her voice was beautiful, beautiful over the hills.
Oli-li-li, A lu-lu-lu, Oli-li-li,
Oli-li-li, A lu-lu-lu, Oli-li-li.
Sleep, my baby, I am lulling you to sleep.
Do not cry, my baby, I am comforting you.
Sleep, my baby, I am lulling you to sleep.
Do not cry, my baby, I am comforting you.

Trad. Irish
As recorded by The Wailin' Jennys
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Beautiful song reviewing the singer's life before a final leave-taking.

Czech mountain holler
Arr. Libana

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A great way to get someone's attention across the street.

Trad. Xhosa
Arr. Lara Weaver
A sexy dance tune from South Africa. Lyrics translate to:
Hit the floor and start to move
I feel pata pa
Let the rhythm be the groove
I feel pata pa
Clap your hands and sing along
I feel pata pa
Such a happy, happy song
I feel pata pa
It won't be long to find your love
I feel pata pa
It must be me, you're thinking of
I feel pata pa
Pata Pata is the game
I feel pata pa
So get on down, just stake your claim

Maui Dalvanius Prime and Ngoi Pewhairangi

Arr. Cairril Adaire and Lara Weaver
A fun, upbeat song written to get Maoris in touch with their history and their pride. It's a reminder to all of us to return to our positive traditions and embrace our ancestry.
Swing out rhythmically, my feelings
lean out beside me, so deceptively.
Swing round and down, spin towards me
just like a fantail.
Swing to the side: swing to and fro
zoom down, wriggle,
climb up above, swarm around me
my whirling emotions, my poi, yeah!
Oh my feelings, draw near,
Oh my poi, don't go astray
Oh my affections, stick to me
Oh my instincts, take care of me
Oh my emotions, be entwined around me.
Oh poi, our love
Oh poi binds.
Poi, my poi, yeah!

Amy Roche
A lovely, laid-back, groovyrhythmic song of love for a rainy day, written by Bloomington's own Amy Roche.

Rise In Love
Words and music by Ysaye M. Barnwell. ©2001 Barnwell's Notes, Inc. Used by permission.
Arr. Cairril Adaire

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Commissioned by The Mystic Chorale, Rise In Love is Barnwell's/Sweet Honey in the Rock's response to the events of Sept 11th. The piece is dedicated to Cesare Giovanni Mathis Melussi, born two weeks after 9/11. Barnwell says "Rise in love" emerged as a mantra she found herself saying over and over in the wake of Sept 11th. Cairril takes a more contemporary R&B approach to the piece, simplifying lyrics without losing the political edge and the call to love so beautifully expressed in Barnwell's original.

Trad. Québécois
Arr. Cairril Adaire
We stole this lovely courting song from Galant tu perds ton temps, a vocal ensemble from Quebec, and made it our own.
Transl. by Lise Bernier
Wild nightingale, king of lovers
Would you carry a letter
to Isabeau, my sweetheart?
Good day, beautiful.
My greeting is for you, dear Isabeau.
Your lover is in pain
Love him as much as he loves you!
I cannot love him
as much as he loves me.
I do not have the courage to marry him.
I don't see any advantage.
Sorrows and pain you will not have.
But promise to marry me.
Everything will be well
In your little household.

Hindu Chant
Arr. Janice Bagwell & Kaia

Transl.: "All this creation is wholeness, oh my!"

Trad. Zulu
Arr. Janice Bagwell

Transl.: "We are leaving this world but we have a home in heaven."
(With thanks to Murray McGibbon at Indiana University for the translation)
Popular in the South African freedom movement

From Sweet Honey in the Rock
Arr. Kaia

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A feel-good opener that says exactly how we feel!

Playground song/Railroad song
Arr. Cairril Adaire

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We found these songs in a songbook recommended by a Kaia mom. Our versions are a little more funky than what's written! Step Back, Baby is a call-and-response song collected by Keith Knighton from some kids at a Boston playground (learn more). It segues nicely into Chicka Hanka, an old railroading song. Our version adds percussive elements and hand slaps.

African-American hymn
Arr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and Kaia


Trad. Russian
Arr. Angela Berzins

This lovely song was brought to us by Anastasia Nikoulina, who has recorded her own version of the piece. She says, "This is a traditional folksong. I'm not sure who wrote it, but it's a very old song. My grandma was a music teacher/choir director and she loved singing folk songs like this one to me and anyone who might have been around, and I have a book of them that used to be hers. This song makes me think of the Russian countryside, which I love. When I sing it I like to imagine women in the countryside on their porch way back in the day, maybe separated from someone they love because of war or a variety of other reasons; longing to be reunited, yearning for love, but accepting their fate. "

"Vladimir Nabokov has a nice quote trying to describe the Russian word Toska that gets at the overall feeling of this song: 'No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness.'"

Translation by Anastasia Nikoulina:
Why do you stand, swaying, slender ash tree,
your head bent over your roots?
And across the way, over the broad river,
Likewise alone, stands a tall oak tree.
How could I, the ash tree, get to the oak?
Then I wouldn't stand here, bowing and swaying.
With my slender branches I'd press against him,
and with his leaves, whisper day and night.
But it's impossible for an ash tree to move to the oak.
This is its fate: forever alone, swaying.

Travelers Prayer
John Renbourn
As sung by Suzannah and Georgia Brown with additional arrangement and lyrics by Cairril Adaire
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This lovely, lilting song is written in shape-note style but we've been unable to find the original source. If you have information about this song, please contact us! The lyrics draw on ancient Irish themes of blessing and praise, asking the Moon to bring health and end all suffering.

Trad. Mahoi (Polynesia)
Arr. Tubuai Choir

This song is about a fisherwoman who has returned from Havaiki to learn of this world and take the teachings back to the ancestors again when she departs (i.e. she is a shaman). "Haviki" is the Mahoi word for the afterworld where their ancestors' spirits reside. Repeated mention is made of Te Vahine, a warrior woman who used the power of the sky to dispute a high warrior on his declaration of war. She challenged him by taking his spear from him (wink wink). The Mahoi are a Polynesian people living on Tubai, 500 mi SE of Tahiti. Fletcher Christian & crew stayed 3 months there after they mutinied on the Bounty. They were kicked out after they
caused too much violence. They went on to Pitcairn, where most died.

Trad. Greek
Lyr. by Eleanor Graham Vance
Arr. Cairril Adaire

Cairril swears she came across this lovely, lilting folk song in the children's songbook Songs of Many Lands (1943), but it appears to have vanished. However, thanks to Tony Patriarche, who alerted us to a thread regarding the piece, we now know that the melody comes from Kyra-Vaggelio, a Greek tune that George Papavgeris thinks might be a few hundred years old and which is still very popular in Greece today. George supposes the lyrics of the original piece may refer to a village woman (Vaggelio) who gave water to a stranger, which was misconstrued as unfaithfulness by her husband, and resulted in Vaggelio throwing herself off a cliff. (So much for "pay it forward." ;-))

Our version, with "Olde Englishe" lyrics concocted by Eleanor Graham Vance, is a love song sung during a drought to the goddess of rain, enticing her to bring the cool waters which will "quench the thirst" of the trees and vines, bringing them back to fruitfulness. Many thanks to Tony for helping us with this info!

Cairril Adaire
This powerful piece about domestic violence came to Cairril almost fully formed. She added the spoken word introduction to indict abusers and describe the experience of battered women. Download Vow for free! Download this powerful statement by Cairril Adaire against domestic violence. Feautures Jenny and Tristra. Download Vow (right-click or control-click to download)

Tony Scalzo
This song, made famous by Fastball in the late '90s, tells the story of a couple of parents who decide to pack in the jobs, the kids, the mortgage, and take a bottle of wine and hit the road. Haven't we all felt that way at some point? The open road calls!

Cairril Adaire (?)
We are going/Through the valley/We are going/On the road
We are wand'ring/And so weary/We are searching/For our home
We are going/Through the valley/We are going/On the road
We are searching/For our children/Who will lead us/Over home
We are going/Through the valley/We are going/On the road
We will find our/True relations/We will find/Our way home

This song literally came to Cairril in a dream. In the dream, Jane was singing the song and Allison joined in. Perhaps creative credits should go to the collective unconscious?? In the dream, Kaia was sharing its collective grief over the devastation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In our minds was the story Cairril heard in the waking world the night before, told by Cameron Diaz during a national fund-raising telethon. In The Exodus from New Orleans post-Katrina, reporters came across a six-year-old boy with a baby in his arms. Behind him were five children, the youngest hardly old enough to walk. They all were holding hands, walking down the road together. The kids were relatives and friends of each other and had no idea where their parents were. But they were walking out of New Orleans, heading away from apocalypse and towards the unknown. The good news is all the children were reunited with their parents. That haunting image of what it took for those children to do that was very much present in our minds in the dream as we sang.

Shape-note song
Tate & Brady, 1696
Judy Hauff, 1986

A haunting song of spiritual desolation and loss. The lyrics draw on Christian, Jewish, and ancient Irish themes.
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Written in 1970s by Sol Amarifio, Annie Masembe (Ghanian)
Arr. Ysaye M. Barnwell

This song speaks to the trust that, while we don't know where we're headed in life, we're going to keep going and "get there." And that it's all going to be all right. This is our go-to piece when we need reassurance and solidarity. Woyaya.

Trad. Georgia Sea Island spiritual
Arr. Lara Weaver

One of the strongest bastions of African culture in the U.S. is the Georgia Sea Island off the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas. Due to a variety of unique conditions in both the slave and post-slavery era, the African-American residents were able to preserve much more of their indigenous cultures than those on the mainland. This song was chanted/sung for hours on New Year's Eve while the congregation waited for the sun to rise on a new year.