Wednesday, 2 February 2011


Issue: The Great Song Exchange

Convener(s): Anna Porubcansky

Participants: Rod Dixon, Nell, Laurence O’Connor

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

The idea behind this was just to share songs. There was some discussion about the use of songs in performance. Rod spoke about using songs to warm up before performances or working in the space.
Nell is a self-professed magpie who picks up songs as she goes through the world, and teaches voice work to people who are generally not comfortable singing.
Anna’s done voice work and learned eastern European songs and is interested in setting up a group in Glasgow (email me if you’re interested!).

Some things that came out of this session:
How best to teach music. Nell says that she asks people not to ‘sing’ but to ‘copy her’. In five minutes, people who claim they can’t sing are doing 2 part harmonies. We also talked about incorporating movement with music, learning songs line by line with lots of repetition so that the song stays with you.

We also learned about teaching songs just by doing it during the session. Learning songs in different languages phonetically might work best by chanting the rhythm, getting familiar with the pronounciation before throwing in the melody really seemed to help a lot.

The songs we exchanged (all phonetic, so apologies for spelling!)

Nell shared:

Tuay tuay barima tuay tuay
Tuay tuay barima tuay tuay
Ambasado amado do tuay tuay
Barima tuay tuay
Barima tuay tuay

You can sing this in a circle, clapping your hands 1 – 2 and touching the backs of your hands on either side with the people on either side of you at beat 3 – 4.

You can also add a slide foot movement, sliding heel to toe to the left for the first phrase, then sliding to the right for the second phrase. It goes a little tricky during the ‘Ambasado amado’ line, I think, switching directions in the middle of the line, but it seems to be pretty free and flexible, so maybe if you want to do it, try playing around with it and see what you come up with.

Anna shared:

Adjo najdo dthee ici
Bar-a qve-tho-da-fe
Salve-e ci

The actual words are from the Prophecy of the Sibyl:
“Al jorn del judici parra qui avrra fet servici”
Which means, somewhat apolcalyptically, “The day of judgment of whom won’t have served”. …

Rod shared:

Why don’t you swing down chariot stop and let me ride
Swing down chariot stop and let me ride
Rock me lord, rock me lord, come down easy
I gotta home on the other side [quick pick up to beginning of verse]

2nd part low voice:
Swi---ing, stop and riii-de
Swi---ing, stop and rii-de
Rock me lord, rock me lord, come down easy
---home------o-other side.

So this one is a little bluesy, so lots of fun slides and rockin’ rhythm. I tried to add the breaks in the words here – but there’ll also (hopefully if technology is kind) will be an mp3 file of all these songs attached to this document online.

Nell and Rod shared two versions of:

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long way from home

There are two speeds to this song – the same tune, but two different speeds. You can sing this in a round with one group singing the slow speed and another singing the faster speed. The round comes in after the first line (? I think?).

Anna shared:

In me than-u-meth-a
Phonos epi pho-o-o-n-achea take sin
Mo-o-chthos thek mo-o-ochthon asi

Taught this was a Greek lament (apologies for spelling…) and can be sung in the round. It’s a great song to keep a slow, looping rhythm in your feet. It’s quite heavy and the vowels can be extended like you’re wailing, mourning, like the body is shaking. There’s also a voice that can lament over the top of this – same words but in a different order – as follows:

Phonos epi phonon
Achea takea sin
Mo-ochthos thek Mo-okhthon asi
In me thanumetha

Laurence shared:

Ocorina’s Waltz / Okinawa’s Waltz ?

I’ve been waiting, all the day long
To see the stars in your eyes.
My love, come dance with me now
See how the evening flies
And as you sleep my dear
Know that I’ll be near
To wake you when you arise.

Laurence said that he’s known this song all his life. He said that someone wrote it after the death of a famous ballerina in a car crash. Very special song.
This is in ¾ time, waltzy, and can be sung in a round. Laurence said his favourite bit was when the round gets to the third line, with a sweeping beautiful rise in the song…my love, come dance with me now! Gorgeous.

Feel free to contact me at if you want any info on these songs and I’ll try to help or put you in contact with Nell, Rod or Laurence…or if the mp3 file doesn’t work for some reason…

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