Songs for a better world S-Z

Sailing down my golden river

Simple gifts

Sing for the climate / Do it now

Somewhere there’s a forest

Swim on, swim on ***

The best things in life are free

The Earth is our Mother

The family of man

The garden song

The moon shines bright

The river is flowing

The sun is in my heart

The world turned upside down ****

This pretty planet

Tiritomba

What do we plant when we plant a tree?

What have they done to the rain?

Where have the seals gone?

Last updated: 1/11/2021 11:03 AM

The songs below are compiled, adapted and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

*** Original songs by Dany Rosevear

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To listen to music from these songs click on 🔊

To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:

 

© Dany Rosevear 2008 All rights reserved

You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:

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Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.


 

 

Sailing down my golden river  🔊

 

 


One for us oldies in appreciation life’s journey.

Somehow it also in tune with an acceptance of the mood of our present circumstances.

Composed by the wonderful Pete Seeger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sailing down my golden river,

Sun and water all my own,

Yet I was never alone.

Sun and water, old life givers,

I'll have them where e'er I roam,

And I was not far from home.

 

Sunlight glancing on the water,

Life and death are all my own,

Yet I was never alone.

Life to raise my sons and daughters,

Golden sparkles in the foam,

And I was not far from home.

 

Sailing down this winding highway,

Travelers from near and far,

Yet I was never alone.

Exploring all the little by-ways,

Sighting all the distant stars,

And I was not far from home.

 

Simple gifts O

 

 

 


Composed by Joseph Brockett in 1848 it was written as a dance song: http://www.americanmusicpreservation.com/JosephBrackettSimpleGifts.htm

I first came across this song in the 1960s; the delightful tune became a very familiar one in school assemblies as ‘Lord of the dance’ by Sidney Carter. I added it to my class music collection from a BBC Publication ‘Singing Together’ Spring 1974 to where it was described as an American ‘Shaker’ song; I have omitted the second verse as it was not in the original version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,

'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be;

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.

To turn, turn, will be our delight,

'Till by turning, turning we come round right.


 

 

Sing for the climate / Do it now  🔊

 

 

 


A powerful anthem for a changing world.

Composed by Nic Balthazar and Stef Kamil Carlens for the Belgian Climate Coalition and sung in 180 town squares in Sept 2012. The music is the traditional Italian activist song ‘Bella Ciao’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We need to wake up, we need to wise up,

We need to open our eyes and do it

Now! Now! Now!

We need to build a better future,

And we need to start right now!

 

We're on a planet that has a problem,

We've got to solve it, get involved and do it

Now! Now! Now!

We need to build a better future,

And we need to start right now!

 

Make it greener, make it cleaner,

Make it last, make it fast and do it

Now! Now! Now!

We need to build a better future,

And we need to start right now!

 

No point in waiting or hesitating,

We must get wise, take no more lies and do it

Now! Now! Now!

We need to build a better future,

And we need to start right now!


 

 

 

Somewhere there's a forest 🔊

 

 


We all need our moments of peace and fresh air.

This song was written by Susan Stevens and appears in the ‘Our chalet songbook’ published in 1974 and then ABC schools ‘Sing!’ 1995.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Somewhere there's a forest,

Where you can stand and dream,

And walk alone beside the waters

Of a forest stream.

Chorus

Where quietness and peace of mind,

Are waiting there for you to find,

So leave the noisy world behind,

For just a little while.

 

Somewhere there's a seashore,

Where the wind is blowing free,

And wheeling seagulls call above,

The music of the sea.

Chorus

 

Somewhere there's a hillside,

Where you can climb at dawn,

And wonder at the sunrise,

As another day is born.

Chorus.


 

 

Swim on, swim on 🔊

 

 


A wish for our world's waters. What are you doing to help keep our oceans fit for the future? A song to encourage a discussion of how we, in our small way, can make a difference to the survival of the creatures and species we love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Swim, swim through the waters,

Little fish of the sea,

Through the clear, salty waters,

Swim on merrily.

With no more pollution

And no microbeads,

Swim on, swim on,

So wild and so free.

 

Plough on through the oceans,

Great whales of the sea,

May your journeys be long

And your passage be free,

From waters polluted

With the plastic bags gone,

Plough on, plough on,

Sing your beautiful songs.

 

It’s the future we are spoiling

For our natural world,

With plastic, noise and garbage

That will never grow old.

Please think what you are doing,

Keep our water’s alive,

Think on, think on,

So our oceans can thrive.

 


 

 

 

The best things in life are free 🔊

 

 

 


Appreciate what we have and make the most of our natural world.

Written for the 1927 musical ‘Good News’ with lyrics by Buddy DeSylva and Lew Brown and music by Ray Henderson. There was a revival of the song in the 1950s by a number of well known singers. Find out more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Moon belongs to ev'ryone,

The best things in life are free.

The stars belong to ev'ryone,

They gleam there for you and me.

 

The flowers in spring,

The robins that sing,

The sunbeams that shine,

They're yours, they're mine!

And love can come to ev’ryone,

The best things in life are free.

 

The stars in the sky

The Moon on high

They're great because they're free.


 

 

The Earth is our Mother 🔊

 

 


A song for Earth Day. “The earth is not just our environment. The earth is our mother.” so said the Dalai Lama. This song was inspired by the 1854 speech of Chief Seattle of the Suquamish tribe, it is ‘a tribute to the seamless web of spirituality, life, and land.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The earth is our mother,

We must take care of her.

The earth is our mother,

We must take care of her.

Chorus

Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan.

Hey yana, ho yana, hey yan yan.

 

Her sacred ground we walk upon,

With every step we take.

Her sacred ground we walk upon,

With every step we take.

Chorus

 

The earth is our mother,

She will take care of us.

The earth is our mother,

She will take care of us.

Chorus


 

 

The family of man 🔊

 

 

 


A song for our times - together we can make a difference.

Words and music by Karl Dallas.

This song from ‘Come and Praise’ BBC radio for schools, was very popular in assemblies all the years I taught and always sung with much gusto.

The second verse resonates very personally as my larger family is spread around the world including Perth and Paris!

I have very gently tweaked some of the less contemporary words and replaced them with more inclusive language; deleting ‘coolie’ and culling ‘men’! Though the ‘man’ of the title of course refers to ‘mankind’.  

I loveThe miner in the Rhondda’ / but if you wish to be more up to date sing ‘The miner in Wyoming’ as most coal is produced there.

Apparently the songwriter sings it differently each time so I would imagine this version is an acceptable one! See discussion at: https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/philosophy_religion_spirituality/676786-Song-hymn-The-Family-of-Man-I-belong-to-a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I belong to a family, the biggest on the earth;

Ten thousand every day are coming to birth.

Our name isn't Davis, or Groves, or Jones,

It's a name everyone can be glad we own:

Chorus:

It’s the family of man, keeps growing,

The family of man, keeps sowing

The seeds of a new life every day.

 

I've got a sister in Perth, a brother in Paree,

The whole wide world is mum and dad to me.

Wherever you go you will find my kin,

Whatever the creed or colour of skin:

 

The miner in the Rhondda, the builder in Beijing,

Those across the ocean who plough, reap and spin,

They've got a life and others to share it,

So let's bridge the oceans and declare it:

 

Now some people say the world is a terrible place,

But it's just as good or bad as the human race;

Dirt and misery or health and joy,

We can build or we can destroy:


 

 

The garden song / Inch by inch, row by row 🔊

 

 


A song for the growing season written by David Mallet. It has been sung by Pete Seeger and John Denver among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


CHORUS:

Inch by inch, row by row,

Gonna make this garden grow.

All it takes is a rake and a hoe

And a piece of fertile ground.

Inch by inch, row by row,

Someone bless these seeds I sow,

Someone warm them from below,

'Til the rain comes tumbling down.

 

Pullin' weeds and pickin' stones,

We are made of dreams and bones,

Feel the need to grow my own, for the time is close at hand.

Grain for grain, sun and rain,

We are part of Nature's chain,

Tune my body and my brain to the music from the land. CHORUS

 

Plant your rows straight and long,

Temper them with prayer and song,

Mother Earth will make you strong, if you give her love and care.

Old crow watching hungrily,

From his perch in yonder tree,

In my garden I'm as free, as that feathered thief up there. CHORUS

Just found this extra verse!

Brothers, sisters all around

This is where our garden’s found.

Side by side we work the ground to help these seedlings grow.

Water them with love and care,

Trust the promise that we share.

Keep them healthy and prepare for our first fruit to show.

 


 

 

The moon shines bright 🔊

 

 


We have but one life so make the most of it! The traditional hymn is rather sombre and funereal, based on the brevity of our lives. This version arranged by Dany Rosevear leans towards the hopeful and optimistic aspects of our journey through life for a younger audience. There are many different tunes used for this hymn – this one is as heard from Keith Kendrick’s singing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Oh, the moon shines bright and the stars give a light,

Just a little before the day,

The voice of love, it calls on all of us,

And bids us awake and arise.

 

Awake, awake, good people all,

Awake for the wonders fly,

And you shall behold the dawning of the day,

When you wake and open your eyes.

 

In yonder garden green doth grow,

As green as any leaf,

So cherish, love and teach your children well,

To do good to all those they meet.

 

Oh the life of a man ‘tis but a span,

It flourishes like a flower,

As tender as the heart into which you are born,

So treasure your every hour.

 

My song it is done, I must be gone,

I can stay no longer here;

Blessings to you all, both great and small,

And wishing you another good year!


 

 

 

The river is flowing 🔊

 

 


The source of this song was probably a chant written in the 1970s by Sun Bear, a member of the Chippewa Tribe. He was born in the White Earth Reservation in the North of the United States on 31 August 1926 and died on 19 June 1992 at the age of 66 in Spokane, Washington. Additional verses have been added over the years and you can find several interpretations of the melody. Find more at: http://www.soulrebels.com/beth/riverflowing.html and http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=7568.

I have adapted the words of the final verse to lament a changing world and hope for the future of our children.

In German ‘der fluss der will fließen’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The river is flowing, flowing and growing,

The river is flowing, back to the sea.

Mother Earth carry me, your child I will always be,

Mother Earth carry me, back to the sea.

 

The moon she is waiting, waxing and waning,

The moon she is waiting, for us to be free.

Sister Moon watch over me, your child I will always be,

Sister Moon watch over me, until we are free!

 

The sun he is shining, brightly he’s shining,

The sun he is shining, lighting our way.

Father Sun shine over me, your child I will always be,

Father Sun shine over me, until we can see!

 

The earth she is changing, her waters are rising,

The earth she is changing, her waters are tears.

Mother Earth, carry me, your child I will always be,

Mother Earth carry me, down through the years.


 

 

The sun is in my heart 🔊

 

 


A song of hope to lift the spirits.

Adapted, on a sunny day, from a poem by A.C. Harwood. Adaptation and music by Dany Rosevear.

Sitting outside one afternoon in the sunshine, reading and in social isolation, inspired this version. On the other side of the garden fence Corvid 19 haunts the world but despite such a sad and difficult situation for so many, many people there are still some positive things to inspire us and lift our spirits; music being one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The sun is in my heart,

It warms me with its power,

And wakens, wakens, life and love,

In bird and beast and flower,

In bird and beast and flower.

 

The stars above my head,

Are shining in my mind,

Like music, music of this world,

We leave our cares behind,

We leave our cares behind.

 

The earth is where I tread,

Let my feet be honest and true,

And mindful, mindful, where I step,

In every deed I do,

In every deed I do,

 

Then I must thankful be,

If those on earth that dwell,

With kindness, care, and thoughtfulness,

Greet every person well,

Greet every person well.

 

And we must thankful be,

As one on earth we dwell,

To know, to know and love this world,

And wish all creatures well,

And wish all creatures well.


 

 

The world turned upside down 🔊

 

 


A strange song inspired by a very odd year.

For those who have entered yet another ‘lockdown’.

While I was doing my morning excercises someone on the radio described 2020 as ‘the year the world turned upside down’ and hence this song was born. Celestial bodies, including the moon and the stars, somehow seemed to gain more significance in our troubled and socially isolated lives.

Words and music by Dany Rosevear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The moon, the moon shone big and bright,

As the world turned upside down;

The stars, the stars put out their lights

And the sun began to frown.

 

Chorus:

Hey, fiddle-dee-day,

There’s mischief on its way!

Hey, fiddle-dee-night,

Hold on tight! Hold on tight!

 

The birds and bees and tiny fleas,

Danced in time together;

The badger pranced then fled to France.

To escape the wild, wild weather. Chorus

 

And then before the Springtime came

Oh, the darkest days arrived,

Back to their holes ran mice and moles

To stay safe and snug inside.

 

And then along came Summer time,

Sweet flowers bloomed so fair;

The schoolbells rang, the children sang,

They found their friends, played games again,

They climbed the trees with careless ease,

The sun it smiled and watched beguiled,

Hope and joy had filled the air! Chorus

 

Hey, fiddle-dee-day,

There’s good times on the way,

Hey, fiddle-dee-night,

Hold on tight! Hold on tight!

 

The moon it laughed for down below

Mother Earth sighed happily!

And every creature, every child

Found the world as it should be!

 

Hey, fiddle-dee-dee,

Come dance away with me,

Hey, fiddle-dee-fum,

A new day’s come! A new day’s come!


 

 

This pretty planet 🔊

 

 


This wonderful song by Tom Chapin is more usually sung as a round. It is also sung as a lullaby.

This amazing song went round the entire world when it was one of the songs used to wake up the astronauts, including John Glen, on the Discovery 7 space shuttle!

 

1.Make a ball with hands, roll forearms round each other. 2. Make flower round face, arms make waves, hands together as in prayer. 3. Lift arms up and outwards, as in first line. 4. Hands to cheek, hold arms, Lift arms up and outwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This pretty planet, spinning through space,

Your garden, your harbour, your holy place.

Golden sun going down,

Gentle blue giant spin us around.

All through the night,

Safe ‘til the morning light.


 

 

Tiritomba 🔊

 

 


An Italian folk song and a cheerful song of the open air. It is also a popular camp song and I became familiar with it at an International work camp in Turkey when I was a young student in the 1960s. The English words here are by Fred Rendell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Far above us, far above the sun is shining,

As we climb the mountain pathway.

High above us, high above the sun is shining,

As it warms us on its way.

Chorus:

Tiritomba, Tiritomba, It’s the open air for you and me,

Tiritomba, Tiritomba, Now at last we can be free!

 

In the clear sky we can see the eagle soaring;

As he scans the hill below him.

On his broad wings we could fly away for ever;

And never have to rest.

Chorus

 

Far away there we can see the river flowing,

With the hills and trees beside it.

It will cool us as we rest beside the waters,

On our journey to the west.

Chorus


 

 

 

What do we plant when we plant a tree? 🔊

 

 


Inspired by a poem written by Henry Abbey. Music and second verse by Dany Rosevear.

‘A child who kneels to plant a tree rises richer from the ground.’ Theresa StevensHe that plants trees loves other besides himself.’ Find more quotes here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What do we plant, when we plant a tree?

A thousand things that we daily see;

We plant the ship, which will cross the sea.

We plant the house for both you and me.

We plant the shade, from the hot sun free;

We plant all these, when we plant a tree.

 

As those who plant kindness gather up love,

So those who plant trees cleanse the air up above;

And shelter the wildlife of our natural world,

And give us wellbeing and a future unspoiled;

Simply walk in the wood and think deep my dear child,

We plant all this, when we plant a tree.


 

 

What have they done to the rain? 🔊

 

 


A song composed by Malvina Reynolds in 1962 and still relevant today. It was written for the protest movement against nuclear testing in the atmosphere and its subsequent fallout; it had a particular resonance in the wake of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WW2.

We should take heed of the mistakes made in the past and ensure that  we do better to give our world a safe future and to keep the air clean for those of us who live there.

Malvina Reynolds has written many other thoughtful songs.

Another from my 1960s notebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Just a little rain falling all around,

The grass lifts its head to the heavenly sound,

Just a little rain, just a little rain,

What have they done to the rain?

 

Just a little boy standing in the rain,

The gentle rain that falls for years.

And the grass is gone and the boy disappears,

And rain keeps falling like helpless tears,

And what have they done to the rain?

 

Just a little breeze out of the sky,

The leaves nod their head as the breeze blows by,

Just a little breeze with some smoke in its eye,

What have they done to the rain?


 

 

Where have the seals gone? 🔊

 

 


A song written in the 1980s but still very pertinent today.

Seal population in the past declined as they were killed in huge numbers for their blubber, meat and pelts. Despite laws to protect them this continues to be an issue and furthermore climate change is now leading to high pup mortality in the Arctic.

There is hope for some creatures in danger such as the beaver as it is once again returned to its natural habitat. If there is hope for their survival there will be hope for us all as an integral part of the natural world.

Words and melody by Brian Fitzgerald.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Where have the seals gone? Where are the whales?

That once used our waters before there were sails?

Where are the emus that once used to roam

The fields and the forests we’ve turned into home?

 

CHORUS

They’ve all gone a-way as the sun turns to rain.

I live here and wonder will they ever

Come again, come again, come again?

 

Where have the seals gone? Where are the whales?

That once used our waters before there were sails?

Where are the people who lived here before

And how is it, tell me, they’re not here any more?

 

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