Tag Archives: music

Songs When You Need Them: Ysaye Barnwell and the music of community, resistance, and power.

Adapted from UU World by Kimberly French
Join Ysaye at Hollyhock for Building a Vocal Community: Singing in the African American Tradition on July 22-27, 2016.

‘Don’t sing it in your finest classical voice,” Ysaye Barnwell gently cautioned. The former bass singer with the a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock was teaching a chant from central Africa’s Ituri Rainforest to a mostly white group at Rowe Camp, in Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains. She demonstrated with her powerful voice: “Ama-ee-boo Oh-ee-yay-ee. There’s a little yodel in there. You should love that. Close your eyes . . . that’s it! Perfect!”

For the past three decades Barnwell’s day job—when she wasn’t touring and recording with Sweet Honey—has been teaching the African American tradition of community singing to groups like this one all over the world. Clad in a black leather hat and jacket, with loads of gold rings and bangles, she took center stage in the rustic recreation hall.

She gave no written music. Everything was oral. We just listened. And watched. And, most of all, felt the soul of the music and learned where it comes from. In fact, Barnwell forbids taking notes or recording.

“I don’t know a translation I can articulate. But in central Africa, someone will start singing this chant whenever there’s discord. They’ll sing as long as they have to, till the community is ready to move forward and the spiritual leaders can come in. It may take hours, even days.” Continue reading Songs When You Need Them: Ysaye Barnwell and the music of community, resistance, and power.

Presenter Profile | Kimo Hussey

Content from Kimo Hussey’s website
feature photo by Phillip Hay via flikr.com


As a young boy growing up in Hawaii, ukuleles were all around Kimo. Yet, it wasn’t until his Uncle Richard took him under his wing at age 5 that Kimo learned to play and love the ukulele—a love that has only grown over time. As Kimo says “Emotion is the key in nurturing ukulele because people around the world enjoy the instrument because it is fun, first and foremost, and therefore provides a moving emotional reward.” His music is deliberately slow, a style that he is often sought out for as a teacher and instructor. For Kimo, however, he “grew up with this ukulele sound all around me.  It was somewhat characteristic to all those local ukulele players to whom I ascribed a ton of respect.” Continue reading Presenter Profile | Kimo Hussey

Invite Calm with a Morning Ritual

Whether you’re looking for some ideas to incorporate some teaching you learned at Hollyhock back into the city or just some ideas in general to calm your mind, this article helps remind us how important it is to find time at the beginning of the day for oneself. Start on the right foot and read on!

By Giselle Shardlow via Elephant Journal

Since my daughter’s birth, I have been shamelessly focused on creating a bedtime ritual that helps maximize her sleep.

Continue reading Invite Calm with a Morning Ritual

Presenter Profile | Amber Field

Biography via Amber Field’s Website
Feature photo via Amber Field’s Website

Amber Field

“I am a queer and genderqueer performance artist, singer, multi-instrumentalist, teacher, and healer. I am also a Tamalpa Associate Teacher of Expressive Arts. I have lived in Korea, Nepal, Liberia, India, Peru, and the United States and specialize in world fusion music. My music is heartfelt, passionate, haunting, soulful, blissful. Continue reading Presenter Profile | Amber Field

Dreamtime Didjeridu

via shinelikethesun.ca

The world is sung into being, matter is composed of sound vibrations, so nothing really dies… it just changes form, on and on through time, retaining a memory so that it can evolve, to higher and higher life forms.Therefore the Universe is a Conscious and intelligent being that we are all a part of.

Each of us is born with a purpose and when we follow our passion and our joy, we live our dream and when we live our dream, we are happy, healthy and whole. When we compromise our dreams… we become DISeased and it will manifest in all manner of illnesses.

The Didjeridu helps to awaken cellular memory and activates the DNA so that we can remember who we are and realize our true purpose. Continue reading Dreamtime Didjeridu