1*8NMq04NXc8ktM3tfBnOjcAAncestor Sky People

Words: from a poem by Misha Saez
Music: Harmony Grisman

I was taught this song by a kind woman who took me and another choir leader into her home to host us for an evening during our travels. As I, exhausted, huddled over a box of to-go food from Whole Foods at the end of a long communal singing adventure, my hostess, Karen, picked up her ukulele and asked if I would like to hear a song while I ate. This is the song she played.

She explained afterward that the song is now a Sufi song – and Karen herself is a Sufi. But she was also there with Harmony Grisman when the song was born, and noted that the original lyrics are indeed “I am truly blessed” three times at the end of the verse. It is common, she said, for community singers and Sufi groups to change it to “I am truly blessed, you are truly blessed, we are truly blessed.”

The first time I sang it in a circle with my choir, I heard just how powerful it is to hear “I am truly blessed, I am truly blessed, I am truly blessed” incanted three times in so many different voices all around me. Like Karen, I play it on my ukulele, and have since tracked down Harmony Grisman’s recording of it which is for sale on her album Chants for a Lifetime, available on Bandcamp.

We are “arranging” this song by our own intuitive harmonies, as we sometimes do in this choir. The teaching track features harmonies which are my own playful invention, not a prescription. It is meant as a suggestion – if you hear something you like, try it out. You can also listen to Harmony’s original recording (embedded below) and see what harmonies are in there. Ultimately, we need some people to sing the melody, so if harmonies aren’t your thing, don’t worry about it. I’ve enclosed a teaching track that also features just the melody.

Lyrics:

Ancestor Sky People
All here today
Hear my heart song
Hear my respect
Hear my love
Hear my grateful tears fall
I am truly blessed
I am truly blessed
I am truly blessed

Full Song with Harmonies:
Right-Click Here and Select “Save Link As” to Download

Full Song, just the Melody:
Right-Click Here and Select “Save Link As” to Download

Harmony Grisman’s Recording:

 

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