What is a zipper chant or zipper song?

If I had to explain it, it’s a song where the verses are mostly the same.  Just a few key words swap out.

The UUA explains it like this in Making Music Live:

In a zipper song, most of the verse remains the same each time you sing it, but you substitute one or more words each time. “This Old Man” is a classic zipper song. “This old man, he played one / He played knick-knack on my thumb / With a knick-knack paddy-wack, give your dog a bone / This old man came rolling home.” You then replace the underlined words with “two…on my shoe,” “three…on my knee,” “four…door,” “five…hive,” “six…sticks,” “seven…up in heaven,” “eight…on my plate,” “nine…on my spine,” “ten…once again.” Other children’s zipper songs are “Old McDonald” and “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain.”

Some African American hymns follow the zipper song form, although the noble beauty of the hymns defies the informality of the term zipper. Examples are “Over My Head” (Singing the Living Tradition, #30), “Cumbayah,” and “There Is More Love Somewhere” (Singing the Living Tradition, #95). Use the rote method to teach “There Is More Love Somewhere” phrase by phrase. Sing it a cappella (without instruments). Teach the third line in two sections, because it is tricky. When the children have learned the song, begin substituting words, “There is more joy” or “peace” or “hope.” Ask singers to provide one-syllable words, and make sure the words honor the tradition.

Zipper songs are great sing-along songs because they require little learning time and can be sung for a long time. During an assembly, the audience can pick up and join in on a zipper song with relative ease.

NOTES

I have taught “Snake Woman” UU Women’s retreat and small groups for ice breaker / different kind of check in.

When the guests arrive, they have pencil and two cards.  They have to put a animal, plant, or object on one card.  Then a word ending in “ing” on the other.  They are encourage to be random or silly. These get collected in two bowls.

Then I teach “Snake Woman” zipper chant  the “real way” and invite someone to pull a card from each bowl to make the new verse.  “Giraffe Woman skiing along”  or “Book woman jumping around” is pretty funny.

I could invite them to reflect for a while. In their minds invite create a meaningful verse if they want to share something about themselves that way.  Just “popcorn style” for whoever wants to.

A person might sing and reveal

“Lonely woman, missing her friends.
Missing, missing, missing her friends.”

Now that they know how to zipper, the group could respond

“Lonely woman, missing her friends.
Lonely woman, missing her friends.
Missing, missing, missing her friends.
Missing, missing, missing her friends.”

And the person sharing could feel seen/heard in a new way.  Quick way to break ice, build community and move on to whatever the activities are.

Then we can come back to this song and sing it the “real way” to end the group session.

Wise In Her Ways

Song: “Wise in Her Ways” by Lena Moon

Album: Rise Up

℗ 2013 Spiral Rhythm

Released on: 2013-06-17

LYRICS

Sing, my sisters, sing
Sing out loud of all you bring
For what you sing is what you are
And you’re wise in the ways of the woman by far

Wise in the ways of the woman by far
You’re wise in her ways
That’s what you are

Dance,  my sisters,  dance
Trance and prance and make romance
For how you dance is what you are
And you’re wise in the ways of the woman by far

Wise in the ways of the woman by far
You’re wise in her ways
That’s what you are

Speak, my sisters, speak
Speak out loud and don’t be meek
For how you speak is what you are
And you’re wise in the ways of the woman by far

Wise in the ways of the woman by far
You’re wise in her ways
That’s what you are

Dream,  my sisters, dream
Dream of all the love you’d seed
For what you dream is what you are
And you’re wise in the ways of the woman by far

Wise in the ways of the woman by far
You’re wise in her ways
That’s what you are

Bleed, my sisters, bleed
Releasing all you do not need
For how you bleed is what you are
And you’re wise in the ways of the woman by far

Wise in the ways of the woman by far
You’re wise in her ways
That’s what you are

Cry, my sisters, cry
Shed your tears til they run dry
For how you cry is what you are
And you’re wise in the ways of the woman by far

Wise in the ways of the woman by far
You’re wise in her ways
That’s what you are

Birth,  my sisters, birth walk
Draw your strength up from the Earth
For how you birth is what you are
And you’re wise in the ways of the woman by far

Wise in the ways of the woman by far
You’re wise in her ways
That’s what you are

Pray, my sisters, pray
Giving thanks for each new day
For how you pray is what you are
And you’re wise in the ways of the woman by far

Wise in the ways of the woman by far
You’re wise in her ways
That’s what you are

Smile, my sisters, smile
Let your heart sing for a while
for how you smile is what you are
And you’re wise in the ways of the woman by far

Wise in the ways of the woman by far
You’re wise in her ways
That’s what you are

So love my sisters love
Like the sun’s own rays shine from above
For how you love is what you are
And you’re wise in the ways of the woman by far

Wise in the ways of the woman by far
You’re wise in her ways
That’s what you are

Wise in the ways of the woman by far…
You’re wise in her ways
That’s
what
you
are….

LISTEN

From album…

In concert….

CHORD CHART

https://www.song-circle.com/world-songs/rainbow/wise-in-the-ways

NOTES

This is within reach for a newbie drum circle that doesn’t really read music. They can play background for a vocalist or vocalists in ritual or worship.

Pattern  — D    TKT    D

Syllables  — Mashed.   Potatoes.  Yum!

Can also be one drummer keeping a beat like this version.

Call on the Moon

“Call on the Moon” by Elaine Silver

Album: I Choose Love

℗ 2002 Elaine Silver Music BMI

Released on: 2002-01-01

Call on the moon when she is round
Luck with you shall then abound
What you wish will be found
in sky or sea or solid ground

I decalre on this poweful night
The highest good of all
I declare in this moonlit ____

The answer to my call

Trust in ____

From my free will

Knowing __
Desire that fills
I have seen above

Into my heart, their sending love

LISTEN

Unda

Song: Unda

Artist: Faun

Album: Licht

℗ Faun

Released on: 2010-07-13

Author: Elisabeth Pawelke

Author: Fiona Rueggenberg

Composer: Faun

Composer: Elisabeth Pawelke

Composer: Fiona Rueggenberg

Music Publisher: D.R

LYRICS

They are in Latin.  

Unda attingit 
Te et abducit 
Te in profunda 
Sicut es unda 

Loose translation: 

The wave comes and surrounds you
It captures / engulfs you
It takes you down into the depths
You are/become the wave

LISTEN

Full Moon Chant

“Full Moon Chant” by Heather Houston

Album: Sisters of the Moon

℗ 2020 Heather Houston

Released on: 2020-01-10

LYRICS

In the light of the full moon I am Love
Offering my prayers to rise above
The thoughts and the fears that hold me down
From thriving on this earth as she spins around

In the light of the full moon I am peace
Offering my heart to be released
From the things that no longer serve my soul
Knowing now that I am whole

LISTEN

https://heatherhouston1.bandcamp.com/track/full-moon-chant