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.

Wheel of the Year

Song: Wheel of the Year
Artist: Moonstruck
Album: Witch of the Wildwoods
Year: 1999

The Wheel of the Year is an Unending Circle, Unending circle, unending circle
The wheel of the year is an unending circle,
Praise to our Lord and Lady

All things are part of the Unending Circle, unending circle, unending circle
All things are part of the Unending circle,
Praise to our Lord and Lady.

We are one with the unending circle….

Let us rejoice in the unending circle…

The Wheel of the Year is an unending circle….

LISTEN

Turn the World Around / We Come From the Mountain #1074

WE COME FROM THE MOUNTAIN

(Harry Belafonte)

We come from the fire
Livin’ in the fire
Go back to the fire
Turn the world around

We come from the water
Livin’ in the water
Go back to the water
Turn the world around

We come from the mountain
Livin’ on the mountain
Go back to the mountain
Turn the world around

Oh, oh so is life
Oh, oh so is life
Oh, oh so is life
Oh, oh so is life

Do you know who I am
Do I know who you are
See we one another clearly
Do we know who we are

Oh, oh so is life
A ba tee wah ha so is life
Oh, oh so is life
A ba tee wah ha so is life

Water make the river
River wash the mountain
Fire make the sunlight
Turn the world around

Heart is of the river
Body is the mountain
Spirit is the sunlight
Turn the world around

We are of the spirit
Truly of the spirit
Only can the spirit
Turn the world around

We are of the spirit
Truly of the spirit
Only can the spirit
Turn the world around

Do you know who I am
Do I know who you are
See we one another clearly
Do we know who we are

Oh, oh so is life
A ba tee wah ha so is life
Oh, oh so is life
A ba tee wah ha so is life

(Replace “mountain” with “starlight,” “fire,” “ocean,” “children,” “heartbeat,” etc.)

SHEET MUSIC:

#1074 in  Singing the Journey: A Supplement to Singing the Living Tradition

Listen:

 

As Above So Below

(Morganne Baum)

As above and so below
On the Earth and o’er the sea
The seeds of (love / health/joy/peace)
I have planted and sown
Ready with thanks I now harvest to me

Sheet Music:

http://www.firecirclechants.com/sheetmusic/as-above-and-so-below.pdf

* Note: You may continue adding more verses by inserting your own words in place of “love” (i.e. “seeds of ________” ) such as: health, joy, peace, etc. It works best with a single syllable word. (This is sometimes called a “zipper-chant”)

 

Body

(Mz. imani)

Peace be in my body,
and peace be in my mind.
Peace be in my family
to truly help us grow.

We are riding
a wondrous rainbow
into the source.
We are guiding
the true destination of the earth.

Notes:

(The word “peace” changes as the song repeats: love, joy, trust, etc.)

We Are an Old People

(Morning Feather)

 

We are the old people
We are the new people
We are the same people
Deeper than before

Deeper than before
Deeper than before
We are the same people
Deeper than before

—–

We are the old people
We are the new people
We are the same people
Younger than before

Younger than before
Younger than before
We are the same people
Younger than before

We are the old people
We are the new people
We are the same people
Stronger than before

Stronger than before
Stronger than before
We are the same people
Stronger than before

We are the old people
We are the new people
We are the same people
Wiser than before

Wiser than before
Wiser than before
We are the same people
Wiser than before

NOTES:

pg 91 Circle of Song by Kate Marks

Listen:

Snake Woman

(by Starhawk)

Snake woman shedding her skin.
(Snake woman shedding her skin.)

Shedding, Shedding, shedding her skin.
(Shedding, Shedding, shedding her skin.)

Snake woman shedding her skin.
(Snake woman shedding her skin.)

Shedding, Shedding, shedding her skin.
(Shedding, Shedding, shedding her skin.)

Bird woman taking flight…

Star Woman shining bright…

Moon Woman riding the night…

Blossom Woman opening wide…

Snake Woman shedding her skin…

(Spyder systers weaving their web …)

NOTES:

pg 21 Circle of Song by Kate Marks

 

Used Ostara 2013 for casting circle.

Used Imbolc 2014 for Energy Work during new Maiden ritual

Used Oct 28, 2018 for University UU “Wheel of the Year” sermon.

Used April 7, 2019 for 1U “Wheel of the Year” sermon.

LISTEN