Musical Musings: May 8 – 14, 2022


Music Notes – Sunday, May 8th

This Sunday’s musicians are Aaron Burkle, Lucy Carney, The Chancel Choir, UUCC Pianist Karin Tooley, and UUCC Music Director Mike Carney.

Opening Hymn: #1056 Thula Klizeo – Shabalala

“Thula Klizeo” (#1056 in Singing the Journey) is a Zulu chant written by Joseph Shabalala (1940-2020). Shabalala, a native of South Africa who is best-known as the founder and musical director of the choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, wrote this song while staying in New York City in 1988. He was missing his home in South Africa, and with Apartheid still in effect, did not know if he would ever be allowed to return. His simple but profoundly impactful statement: “Be still my heart, even here I am at home.” is the entirety of the song’s lyrics. The power in chants like “Thula Klizeo” is in the depth of the meaning, its connection to the traditions of the past and its defiance for a better tomorrow.(includes material from

Centering Music: De Colores – Spanish folk song

“De Colores” is a traditional folk song that is well-known throughout the Spanish-speaking world. It is sung in many religious traditions and is also frequently heard at rallies for the United Farm Workers. There is some debate among musicologists regarding the history of “De Colores”, with some claiming the song is purely Mexican in origin, while the more widely accepted view is that the melody and some of the lyrics came from Spain and date back at least 400 years. “De Colores” is #305 in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal, and the song has become a staple of flower communion services for many UU congregations.

Sung Meditation: Heleluyan (Muscogee folk song, arr. Carney)  

One of the lesser-known hymns in Singing the Living Tradition is #366 “Heleluyan”, a song that is at least 200 years old and traces its roots back to the Muscogee Creek hymn tradition. That tradition was highlighted in a 2014 story on NPR’s All Things Considered with Dr. Hugh Foley, a fine arts instructor and Native American history professor at Rogers State University in Claremore. In Dr. Foley’s words: “We’re talking about a pre-removal music that happened in the early 1800s and was a combination of African spirituals, Muscogee words and perhaps some influences from their ceremonial songs and then all that being started by the Scottish missionaries who brought in Christianity and their own singing style. All three of those merge into what we now know as Muscogee Creek hymns which are a unique musical product in American and world music history.”

Offertory Music: Busca el Amor – Barquero  

Nicaraguan native Salvador de Jesús Cardenal Barquero (1960-2010) was one of the most celebrated songwriters in the history of Central America, and was also well-known as a painter, poet, and environmental activist. Written in 1960, “Busca el Amor” was one of Barquero’s best-known songs, and is included in our Singing the Journey hymnbook (#1004). The English translation of the Spanish text is as follows:

Examine that heart of yours, as you look for the love on your high shelf,

Past the pleasure and passion for your own self,

For the love that’s reaching someone else.

Seek out the love in you, and find the joy that comes to those who care.

Seek out the love in you. it only grows whenever it is shared.

Your heart’s a chameleon, ever open to change like any flower.

Spreading out for the sun, petals bursting with power.

To be love that’s reaching someone else.

Seek out the love in you, and find the joy that comes to those who care.

Seek out the love in you. it only grows whenever it is shared.

Closing Hymn: Profetiza, Pueblo Mio – Zárate Macias

Born in Mexico and currently living in the U.S., Rosa Martha Zárate Macias is a performer, songwriter, and activist. She helped to found Libreria del Pueblo and Calpulli, both organizations that champion the rights of the Latinx community and help to provide training and other resources to help the underprivileged. Her 1989 song “Profetiza, Pueblo Mio” (Prophesy, Oh My People) is #1016 in our Singing the Journey hymnbook and carries a strong message of activism and social justice.

Postlude: Siyahamba – South African folk song

“Siyahamba” (#1030 in Singing the Journey) is a South African freedom song that was one of the anthems of the Apartheid Era. Some scholars believe “Siyahamba” was composed around 1950 by Andries van Tonder (1882-1955), while others credit Anders Nyberg (b. 1955), who was likely the first to transcribe “Siyahamba” to the written page. Nyberg was musical director of the Swedish choral group Fjedur, and he discovered the song on a trip to Cape Town, South Africa. In 1984, Nyberg arranged the song for a four-voice setting and he and his choir helped to introduce “Siyahamba” to a worldwide audience. (includes material from

                                                                    -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director