CD Practice

CD Project Songs 2014 – 2015 (Word) CD Project Songs 2014-15 (pdf)

Suggested title: Dawn Beyond the Night (or Beyond the Night) – it’s a line from Row On. 
Suggested order:
1. Weave a Prayer 
2. Idonga 
3. Bambelela 
4. Singabahambayo 
5. Let it Grow 
6. Bringing in the Sheaves 
7. Row On 
8. Hard Times 
9. Balm in Gilead
10. Mravalzhamier
11. Thula Thula 
12. Daisies White  
This order may change when we’re at the editing stage.
There are some songs on your sheets that we won’t be recording: Chto Stoish, Hard and Stubbled, Peace in Earth and The Parting Glass.

Here’s the link to the Dropbox page with recordings of all the parts I’ve done so far:

Have a listen, sing along and when you’re feeling confident have a go at singing your part while playing one of the others.


Balm in Gilead 

Mood: Reflection, certainty

We’re going to lighten this up by not having a bass part and will try it without any of the lovely chaps to see how it sounds.

“There is a balm, there is a balm” is the intro to the whole song so you all only sing that at the very beginning.  We’re adding a top part to the intro so the Sop part is now an octave above the tenor part. Altos are singing the same part as before.


Soprano 1: Sophie I, Emily

Soprano 2: Cath, Sue

Alto 1: Jane, Clare

Alto 2: Sophie L, Zoe

Tenor: Sandra, Judith, Rebecca, Linda, Kate


Soprano: I’ve recorded Sop2 – the only difference if you’re Sop1 is on ‘vain’ in verse 1 and ‘Paul’ in verse 2.  You sing a top D – the same note as ‘work’s’ in verse 1 and ‘pray’ in verse 2.

Alto: You split into two parts quite a bit so I’ve recorded both.  Please make a note of whether you’re Alto1 or Alto2.

Tenor: You do the intro but not the first line of the the chorus so you come in on ‘To-o make the wounded whole’ then you do the echo of the soprano ‘There is a balm’ as before.

Bambelela/Never Give Up 

Mood: Upbeat, energetic, enthusiastic, without being loud

First time – sopranos softly on their own, 2 x everyone on Bambelela, 2 x everyone on Never Give Up, 3 x everyone on Bambelela.

Especially on the ‘bambe, bambe, bambe, bambe, bambe’ section it’s important for everyone to stay steady and not rush it. A, T, B you’re supporting the tops so nice and gentle please.

At the end we’re all coming straight off.

Bringing in the Sheaves 

Mood: Community, togetherness, purpose 

We’re taking this up a notch to brighten it up a bit. To add interest, we’re trying this out: women only for the first four lines – the men to join in on the the last four lines of the first three verses, everyone together all the way through verse 4.  Two choruses at the end- 1st time women only, 2nd time everyone. 

Harmonies maybe a bit less strong to give more space for the tune (top). Generally softer – not marching!

Soprano: Cath, Sophie I, Sue, Emily

Alto: Zoe, Jane, Sophie L, Sandra, Clare, Paul, James

Tenor/Bass: Kate, Rebecca, Linda, Judith, Helen, Athol

Daisies White 

Mood: Restful, soothing, gentle

I think this works best with a small group of women’s voices. If your name isn’t here then there’s no need to learn it.

Alto: Sophie L, Sue, Cath, Jane, Judith

Tenor: Linda, Sandra, Kate, Rebecca

Soprano: Sophie I, Emily

Verse 1. Alto Verse 2. Alto and Tenor Verse 3. Alto, Tenor and Soprano

Last time. Alto, Tenor and Soprano – sing aah all the way through very softly, fading slightly as if leaving the room.

Breathing – take care not to breathe in the middle of a word.

Hard Times Come Again No More 

Mood: Sympathetic and thoughtful but persistent rather than weary – it’s about hard times not coming again rather than always being with us. Thinking of singing along with a banjo or two might help to keep it light and stop it from dragging.

Often described as “the father of American music” Stephen Foster was only 37 when he died. Well worth reading this if you have a chance:

Have a listen to Mavis Staples singing it here: We’re doing it lighter than this though and a bit faster.

Soprano/Top: Sophie I, Sue, Sophie L, Paul, Cath, James

Alto: Emily, Jane, Clare

Tenor: Linda, Judith, Rebecca, Athol, Kate

Bass part becomes 2nd Soprano: Zoe, Helen, Sandra

Remember the harmony parts are accompanying the tops.  We’re keeping it moving. Contrast between the storytelling of the verses and the rallying cry of the choruses.

At the end, we’re slowing down from ‘Many days you have lingered… ‘ and repeating the last line.


Mood: Relief, joyful celebration, ending of bad times

This brilliant version has each part singing once before the next part comes in – we’ve been doing twice which is maybe too many ‘low’ times before the higher parts come in and could be what’s making it drag a bit.  Either way, we need to pick up the pace. 

Builds up B, T, A2 (low), A1 (high), S2 and S1 come in together. Each part sings through once before next part joins in. When the new part comes in the others need to pull back to let the new part shine.  Altos and Sopranos – your Iwes need to be pure joy!  Sopranos – ‘Iwe idonga’ – not ‘sadonga’. 

All parts finish on a jubilant ‘Iwe’. 

Bass: Athol, Kate

Tenor: Sandra, Linda, Rebecca

Alto 2: Paul, Judith, Zoe

Alto 1: James, Jane K, Sophie L, Clare (I think!)

Soprano (S2): Sue M, Cath

Top Soprano (S1) with high notes where you split on first line: Emily, Sophie I

Let it Grow 

Mood: Expansive, generous in the Chorus 

Some of you love this and others aren’t so keen or at least aren’t that confident about it at this stage. I’ve listened to all the feedback and have decided to cut it down to the people who have said they’re happy to do the song without working on it very much more.  This will take the pressure off you if you’re not all that confident about it and will mean you can save your energy for the songs you’re enjoying more. Of course it’ll also give you a longer break on recording day! Hope that’s OK with everyone. 

The bass part is the same as we’ve always done it – I’ve checked back over the score and the arranger’s recordings of the parts and it’s all fine. 

This is Nickomo’s choir singing it: There’s a section in the middle that we’re leaving out.


Tenor lead: Paul on his own.

Everyone else oohs through the verses – remember the oohs are the backing so need to be soft and supportive.

Soprano: Sophie I, Emily

Alto: Cath, James, Zoe

Tenors: Linda and Sandra – you join Alto or Bass for the oohs

Bass: Kate, Athol

Chorus: Bass (you come in first): Kate, Athol

Everyone else comes in together after the basses’ first ‘let it grow’:

Soprano: Emily, Sophie I

Alto: Cath, James, Zoe

Tenor: Paul, Linda, Sandra

At the end you sing chorus x2 and then the coda.  We’ll decide how many times to sing the coda when we do it on the 9th.

Coda: Basses come in first and sing their whole line. Altos come in second and sing their whole line. Tenors come in third and sing their whole line. Sopranos come in last. When everyone’s in we’ll sing it a few more times.  Everyone finishes on ‘grow’.


Mood: Warm, mellow, rich without being solid

We’re using our old familiar version – listen here: Mra Vah (Holmbury 2011) and see the words here: Mra Vah

Three times through seems about right.  You can breathe at the end of each line – please don’t breathe before ‘zhamieh’ on the last line! Keep it moving, keep it positive.

Lovely and smooth especially on the ‘eh-eh’.

High/Top: Cath, Sophie I, Emily, Sue, Jane, Paul

Middle/Low: Sophie L, Judith, Linda, James, Clare, Rebecca

Bass: Athol, Kate, Sandra, Zoe

Row On 

Mood: Positive, light, hopeful, forward-looking, with a spring!  The whalermen would have sung this to take their minds off the drudgery. 

Chorus is in four parts:

Soprano: Jane, Sue, Emily, Cath, Sophie I

Alto: Helen, James, Paul, Clare, (Sophie L?)

Tenor: Rebecca, Linda, Judith, (Zoe?)

Bass: Athol, Kate, Sandra

We’re going to insert a little pause so you can breathe after ‘Row on, row on,’ and then sing ‘another day may shine with brighter light’ in one go.  

Verses are in two parts and we’re dividing the verses like this:

Verses 1 and 3: Soprano (Top part) and Tenor (Bottom part)

Verses 2 and 4: All – Soprano/Alto (Top part) and Tenor/Bass (Bottom part)


Mood:Uplifting, rejoicing, with energy and momentum

You can see the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir here: – that’s the feel and pace we’re aiming for!

We finish with Singabahambayo section (x2) without Siti Hallelujah so we all end with E zulwini. Plenty of H in the hallelujahs.

Singabahambayo 23 March 2014

Soprano: Emily, Sue, Sophie I, Cath

Alto: Helen, Sophie L, Jane, Paul, James, Clare

Tenor: Linda, Zoe, Judith, Rebecca

Bass: Sandra, Athol, Kate

More volume from the Sops in the verse please and less in the chorus.  Altos and Tenors  could maybe pull back a bit.  Basses can sing out throughout!

Beware of going flat in the chorus!

Thula Thula 

Mood: Smooth, soft, warm, reassuring 

1. Bass

2 & 3. Bass, Tenor, Alto

4, 5, 6, 7. Bass, Tenor, Alto, Soprano

Soprano: Emily, Sue, Cath, Sophie I

Alto: Paul, James, Jane, Judith, Helen, Sophie L

Tenor: Rebecca, Linda, Sandra

Bass: Kate, Athol

Hold the ‘le’ at the very end.

Weave a Prayer 

Mood: V1 – bright, V2 – mysterious, V3 – settled, Chorus – loving, giving but still light, Coda: Basses – gentle mist, SAT – softly rising and falling 

Clear entry on verses: 1. Early, 2. As, 3. When

Might help to think of sections on the ‘I say a prayer’ bit: a song of love/of hopes and dreams/will weave its way to/you – each one building a bit at a time.

Verses are SATB (four parts).  SAT split into two each for the Coda. Second parts add depth rather than volume. Bass part stays as one.

Soprano 1: Cath, Sue (Coda: lower part – you start and sing your line four times)

Soprano 2: Sophie I, Emily (Coda: higher part – you come in after the first two lines and sing your line twice).

Alto 1: Paul, James (Coda: lower part – you start and sing your line four times)

Alto 2: Sophie L, Jane (higher part – you come in after the first two lines and sing your line twice).

Tenor 1: Linda, Rebecca, Judith (Coda: lower part – you start and sing your line four times)

Tenor 2: Helen, Zoe (Coda: higher part – you come in after the first two lines and sing your line twice)

Bass: Athol, Sandra, Kate



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