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Green Footprints

by Ecopella

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1.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of this land The ones who held this nation for two thousand generations And other first Australians who've made this place their home And any actions done in our name that had them leave the land that's in their bones We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land The ones the country walks in; the holders of the stories We pay respect to elders past and present, and all indigenous here We pay our respects We acknowledge injustices done in our name We acknowledge Was, is, always will be We are more than sorry We will speak out. We will speak out We will speak out. We will speak. We will not turn, No! We acknowledge this land is Aboriginal Land!
2.
Listen deep to the land, my friend Listen deep with your heart To sing together in the end We each must learn our part Listen deep to the land Steep golden sandstone canyons tell of ocean’s slow receding Deep gullies cut by waters rush, coastal wetlands feeding With spirits parched, like creeks run dry, we thirst for sanctuary Where gums exhale a menthol sigh or salt spray sings of sea Country speaks but can we hear Its mysteries unfold? First People's voices ringing clear A story strong and old The country's subtle voice is drowned by mining's loud refrain When swathes of trees are bulldozed down The land can feel their pain When politicians and companies lie To government agencies We’ll call them to account and try To bring them to their knees Together let us make a pact in quiet solemnity To listen deep then bravely act To heal this damaged country Steep golden sandstone canyons tell of ocean’s slow receding Deep gullies cut by waters rush, coastal wetlands feeding
3.
Wolli Creek 03:10
Precious remnant forest proud One last refuge from the crowd A fragile strip of Nature stands Saved from developers' grasping hands One small creek valiantly seeps 'Though choked in parts by silt and weeds A tiny but life-giving vein For the living beings which still remain Wolli Creek our sacred valley Where we go to walk and play May we preserve you in your beauty For all our children's future days Plants of such diversity Turpentine and ironbark trees Luxuriant sandstone flora still Line Wolli Bluff and Nanny Goat Hill For birds of many shapes and hue This valley is a sanctuary true Throughout the bush their songs are heard Magpie lark and wattle bird A colony of sleeping bats Huddle in their habitat In spite of us they seem to thrive But only 'cause this bush survives 'Neath a busy bridge a wetland pools Where pond life thrives in shade and cool Kingfisher, swamp hen, heron nest In search of water, food and rest Quaint stone houses form a row A legacy of long ago If laws and statutes these preserve Should not the bush the same deserve? So close to Sydney's pace so cruel How many know we have this jewel? Thanks be to those whose hearts and hands Stopped the motorway and saved this land!
4.
Awake before the dawn, within the spires of range Where magpies ornate melodies Engrave the chilly morning breeze Beneath the towering stone On nights of silver moon, too rich to waste on sleep In silence make your way to seek The choirs of frogs in swamp and creek That sing beneath the stars Out on the Western Plain beside the roaring road Where trucks snarl by without a care Are billabongs with ibis there And wedge-tail eagles soar All you who love the earth and make her ways your choice Cry out against the noise of trade Demand that silence should be made That all might hear her voice Her ancient, matchless voice
5.
The trees of the forest grew tall The oak and the hazel, the ash and wild apple Their power respected by all Their strength safely guarded by priests of the lore Sacred the old ways And earth's ancient pathways. No more Then strangers came onto the land They lacked comprehension their godheads were different They simply did not understand They laughed at the old ways with scorn and derision They raped and they slaughtered and all was justified By the word: 'civilised'. See the forests die Lai lai lai! Lai lai lai Lai luh lai lai lai lai lai lai lai Lai lai Lai luh lai lai lai The trees of the bushland grew strong The casuarina, the red gum and mulga Honoured by those who belong The brown Pitjantjara, the emu, the brolga Clear understanding and warm affinity With the earth and the trees. Calm serenity Then strangers came onto the land Born of those ancients, both victim and victor They simply did not understand They laughed at the old ways with scorn and derision They raped and they slaughtered and all was justified By the word: 'civilised'. See the bushland die And now here we sit on the land The children of children of children of ages If only together we'd stand With courage and love we could turn back the pages The earth and its fullness are ours if we try Raise a cry! Raise a cry! And see the trees grow high!
6.
So far away from human care The life beneath the sea Yet you can hear the whisper on the waves Of earth's disharmony Ooh, and if you listen deep Ooh, you can hear the ocean speak The waves as they roll in upon the shore Speak of the creatures that are no more The seabed all scarred and trawled and torn And deserts where none were before On the ocean floor Who would have thought our lifetime Would see such changes to the sea? The polar icecaps melting A new geography Ooh, see it’s written in the sand Ooh, the lethal hand of man The waves as they roll in upon the shore Speak of the currents now growing warm The fate of sea creatures that cannot flee They speak of the coral sea As it fades to grey Plankton to krill, fish and whale May the cycle never fail Every link in the chain of life is so fragile And who of us upon the land Trying to find our way Can find space in our troubled hearts For the life beneath the waves? Ooh, but if you listen deep Ooh, can you hear the ocean weep? The carbon choked waters, so hard to breathe Hindered by growing acidity Falters earth’s cycle ‘tween land, air and sea Did you know that each third breath we take Comes from the sea? Plankton to krill, fish and whale May the cycle never fail Every link in the chain of life is so fragile In my thoughts diving deep Deep beyond the sunlight's reach To a world so vulnerable Ooh, ancient and beautiful Down deep, down where the seahorse swims Down deep, angel fish spreads her wings Down deep, where the whale and dolphin sing Down deep, will they hear my love song ring? Down deep, sea grasses whispering Down deep, and who is listening Down deep?
7.
8.
Oil On Snow 05:41
It's not so black & white, we all know Taken by another, sons forsake a mother, she lets go Gently she accedes with choking breath And quietly recedes until her death It's very black & white, oil on snow Through broken ice, day and night, the dollars flow Earth slowly bleeds through pale white skin And graciously concedes the life within Bleed the Earth, upturn her Cut her down & burn her So she can't breathe Excavate & drill her Torture, almost kill her To feed our need It wasn't black or white years ago From mankind's birth he cared for Earth so all could grow But no reverence now for sacred things As to the golden calf of greed he clings It's really black & white, the bell it tolls Mother gives so we can live but we take her soul Now Mother Earth lies short of breath And painfully slides towards her death It's oh so black & white, we kill the land Trees rivers mountains plundered, in their thousands by our hand Desecrate the mother suck her dry But there won't be another to feed your child It isn't black or white: it's not the end Her daughters rise, her sons get wise and care again Resuscitate the Mother: she'll survive And once again will nourish all our lives So heal the Earth, restore her Turn your spirit towards her, she'll revive Proclaim a brand new age Spiritual and sage, where all beings thrive!
9.
Let there be peace Let there be peaceful times And let peace surround us all Yes, in times like these That bring us to our knees Let there be peace Let there be joy... joyful times… Let there be calm... quiet times… Let there be songs...rousing times!…
10.
I see the sunlight glisten on the open road The sky is wide: the clouds have loosened off their load I hear the whispering in the wings 'Leave behind unnecessary things' In all history hidden down through the years In the mystery contained in our human tears We seek the grace of a quiet place Beyond unnecessary things The earth is singing as she breathes through every brand new leaf Her light is woven in the fabric of an ancient grief At loss of soul that searched for gold in Unnecessary things She spins her vision and she lays it soft upon the land All who shelter in her trembling will take her hand To set it right we must unite against Unnecessary things The weather's changing I can feel the breeze begin to blow It comes to strengthen something we already know The joy that will be when we are free from Unnecessary things
11.
Fear 03:22
Fear comes down upon me in the dark Though not quite unexpected My impulse is to run, hide away Hope I’m not detected I can’t escape – the fear is in my heart Scampering, I leave my friends behind The fear I carry with me Now it has me totally entranced My resistance fails swiftly And a host of horrid futures fills my mind Everything I live for is destroyed Justice is defeated Terror past all hope of consolation Each image is repeated Inside me on a screen I can’t avoid I’m rescued on the threshold of despair Friendly arms around me The present moment settles on my mind I spit my fear out loudly I feel my skin again and breathe the air
12.
Earthly Love 02:38
How immense this love that holds me And my friends beside me here How intensely it enfolds me Feeling it has healed my fear No divine or unseen spirit Fills my life with loving peace Human is the voice I hear, it Chants against the Earth’s decease Words of love from friend and stranger That through every land resound Bind me to our planet’s danger Yet fill me with peace profound There’s no higher moral purpose No objective stands above This discontent that so disturbs us Given us by Earthly love We have cause to love each other Giving strength and taking heart Every sister, every brother Each who plays an active part Feel the breath of hope expanding Let it be the song you hum Until death your friends are standing Face with them the trials to come
13.
People gather in the cities In the forests and the fields Every colour, every kindred Every kind the planet yields Rally now against the crisis Save the land that gave you birth But lift your head and look around you Every land is part of Earth All our hands and all our voices Joined in work and speech and song Build our best hope for the world Integrity will keep us strong! I am proud to walk beside you You who give your honest word Profit’s poison doesn’t taint you Let your selfless song be heard Men and women standing for The generations yet to be Fight to keep tomorrow safe From selfish greed's insanity The fear they play on paralyses Feeds on crisis, demonises And it licenses their corporate might Silences with facile claims of right We are brave but are not fearless Foes can feel us, that will heal us Since we hold our fear in common It won’t hold us from the fight Millions of us know the truth And love our blue and emerald sphere Never will we speak the lie that Lets its wonders disappear Where corrupt and false assertion Spreads its dark malicious cloud We will cheer the light of reason Chant its wisdom clear and loud!

about

Acknowledgment of country makes a respectful beginning to any event held on - always was, always will be! - Aboriginal land. So too for this contemplative collection of (mostly) Australian songs. We are indebted to Deb Jones, director of the Solidarity Choir for the gift of her song and the loan of her comrades to record it.

Other songwriters from within our ranks continue this theme: Dallas De Brabander, inspired by the First Nations’ respect for country and by the beauty of the Gandangarra bushland she lives in, asks us to Listen Deep To The Land; Sue Gee always found Wolli Creek to be a special place and honours the people who fought, and still fight, the ongoing battle to protect it from ugly polluting motorways. Other places honoured by our friends include Newell Highway, in John Warner’s adaptation of an old hymn tune, and Australia’s forests and woodlands in Wendy Joseph’s Of Trees And Humankind.

From the land to the sea now. Kaye Osborn, formerly of our alto section, lets us hear of frightful damage to our planet’s oceans in a Whisper On The Waves. Englishman Andy Barnes long ago envisaged the brutal extinction of the Last Leviathan, and we keep singing his poignant lament so as to keep alive the international whaling ban that prevents it from coming true.

Before we return to exclusively Australian material, I’ve borrowed Cole Porter’s famous tune to put out a planet-wide warning that if we don’t exert ourselves to protect the planet then we may see that Everything Goes. Non-Australian listeners should be aware that our Liberals, referenced in the last verse, are a party of plutocratic conservatives, not to be confused with US American liberalism.

The stark contrasts, moral and otherwise, involved in Arctic oil drilling gave Sydney songwriter Brian Jonathon his inspiration for Oil On Snow. I’m glad he obliged us with an uplifting end to the song!

Our dear friend and former colleague Christina Mimmocchi was having a bad week and gave herself - and now quite a few Sydney choirs - some healing comfort with Let There Be Peace. In the peaceful surrounds of one of our favourite folk festivals, far from the curse of unsustainable consumerism we met Melbourne songwriter Annie Kennedy and were moved by her message to leave behind Unnecessary Things.

People who know of the threatened environmental catastrophe facing all living things will also know Fear. Ecopella member Paul Spencer usually deals with it with merry wit and satire (see either of our previous albums) but here has written profoundly serious music that passes from sombre solitary darkness into the warm light of friendship. In that same benign radiance we close this album with two songs of mine: Earthly Love is a secular hymn to the powerful bond uniting activists around the planet, whether known to each other or not; while Blue And Emerald takes that co-operative message noisily out into the street to celebrate the integrity of our movement’s commitment to our common purpose.

credits

released September 4, 2020

Warning! May cause harmony to the environment! Passionate, satirical and creative, this environmental choir has been spreading its a cappella manifesto since 1998. Ecopella's sense of fun fills each performance with positive and satirical messages. Even when the mood becomes serious the beauty and solemnity of the music uplifts the listener.

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Miguel Heatwole Sydney, Australia

Miguel’s a versatile singer, choral director & composer. His interests include folk & world music, political satire, the environment, trade unionism & the responsible enjoyment of alcohol. His songwriting embraces themes like peace & justice, the family cat, & visceral passionate attraction. His enthusiasm for recording community singing has let many people share the power of their songs. ... more

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