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Campfire Chants features Reclaiming’s best-loved witchcamp chants from the 2000s, performed by a mixed chorus accompanied by conga, guitar, bass, flute, clarinet, fiddles – and even a ukelele!
Reclaiming’s newest chants album features five songs written by Starhawk, plus songs from Suzanne Sterling, T. Thorn Coyle, and more. Some of these chants were written for witchcamps – others for direct action gatherings – and still others to honor nature and her cycles.
This is a soundtrack to change your life – and to change the world. Join us around the campfire for a magical musical journey!
Scroll down to continue reading album booklet.
Or search for Reclaiming Chants on all streaming sites. CDs available at CDBaby.com
This wordpress site features our 50-page booklet of Lyrics and Lore – complete lyrics and guitar/uke chords for every song on Campfire Chants, plus interviews with the authors, stories about the chants, and more. Scroll down to continue reading.
There’s even a page with mini-reviews and links to our previous four albums – click here
Contents – Introduction
Campfire Chants – The Songs
Song 01: Wake Again (Faerie Prelude) by Maxina Ventura
Song 02: Sweet Water by Starhawk
Song 03: We Are the Rising Sun by Ravyn Stanfield
Song 04: Circle Round the Balefire by Laurie Lovekraft
Song 05: Weave and Spin by Starhawk
Song 06: My Soul by Suzanne Sterling & Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney
Song 07: The Welcome Flame by Seed (Calla Unsworth)
Song 08: Harvest Chant by T. Thorn Coyle
Song 09: We Are the Power In Everyone by Starhawk
Song 10: Wheel of the Year by Teen Earth Magic
Song 11: Come the Night, On by Maxina Ventura
Song 12: Body of the Earth by Starhawk
Song 13: Let the Beauty We Love by Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney
Song 14: Rising of the Moon by Starhawk
Song 15: Cycles of the Moon by George Franklin
Song 16: One With the Darkness by Meg Yardley
Song 18: Goodnight Sweet Witches Traditional
Image by Naeomi Castellano
Campfire Chants: Songs for the Earth
Entire album © 2016 Reclaiming. Songs used with permission. All rights beyond these recordings revert to authors.
Campfire Chants is a benefit for Redwood Magic and our vision of Reclaiming Family Camps.
CDs available via CDBaby.com. Downloads and streaming at all outlets.
Booklet produced by Reclaiming Quarterly. Lyrics copyright as noted. This version completed August 2016.
Welcome to the Witchcamp Fire Circle. We could be gathered anywhere from Vermont to Queensland, from British Columbia to Germany.
On this evening, we’re gathered among the redwoods of Mendocino Woodlands for our Northern California family witchcamps, Redwood Magic and Witchlets in the Woods.
The ritual is over. Some folks have headed to bed. Others pull up camp chairs around the fire ring. Little ones sleep on laps. Kids and teens talk or play around the edges. Smores appear.
As people talk or gaze into the fire, someone picks up a guitar and strums a Ramones song. Someone else borrows the guitar and sings Joni Mitchell. One of the teens plays Kimya Dawson on a ukelele. When we sing Puff, some of the kids join in.
We really do sing chants around the campfire. Not all the time. They’re interspersed with Indigo Girls, Nirvana, Madonna, Fats Waller, and always another Beatles song. One Direction gets their due, as well as Patsy Cline, Chuck Berry, and Bob Marley.
Still, nothing gets everyone singing more than My Soul or We Are the Rising Sun. And there’s rarely a night that doesn’t end with Goodnight Sweet Witches.
On this site, you’ll find:
- background articles about Reclaiming – our music, magic, and activism.
- the story of this album – and Reclaiming;s past albums
- song-by-song lyrics and lore for the entire album, including interviews with Starhawk, Suzanne, Alphonsus, Ravyn, Thorn, and many more.
And now, the circle is cast. We are between the worlds. And what happens between the worlds can change all the worlds.
Let the magic begin!
In dedicating this album to four of our beloved ancestors, we honor their lives and work as well as the groups they helped build and sustain:
Friends of Headwaters Forest dedicate this music to Judi Bari
Friends of Witchlets in the Woods dedicate this music to Luanne Blaich
Friends of Food Not Bombs dedicate this music to Judy Foster
Friends of Bay Area Reclaiming dedicate this music to Moher Downing
Campfire Chorus: Meg Yardley, Max Ventura, David Silva-Espinoza, Jaden Silva-Espinoza, Vesper, George Franklin, Paul Cumpian
Kids Chorus: Laurel, Amokeh, Téa, Alexa, Maisey, Kai, Miranda, Talise
Guest Vocals: Ingrid Pollyak, Eileen Hazel, Lisa Meadowlark Wong
Conga: Paul Cumpian
Guitars, Bass, Harmonica, & Train Whistle: George Franklin
Ukelele & Jawharp: David Silva-Espinoza
Flute: Artemis Jackson
Fiddle (tracks 2, 5, 7, 8, 11, 15, 16): Alison Bailey Streich
Fiddle (tracks 4, 9, 12, 14): Mark Simos (Mark’s tracks recorded by Dan Cantor/Notable Productions)
Chants selected and arranged by the Campfire Chorus and recorded by George Franklin/GroundWork
Descants created by Meg Yardley
Harmonies created by Jaden Silva-Espinoza and Max Ventura
Mastered by Winter/EMBStudios.com
Graphic design and illustration by Michael Starkman
Album coordinated by George Franklin, Laurie Lovekraft, Sarah Donelson, and the Redwood Magic Family Camp Weavers with support from ReclaimingQuarterly.org
Entire album © 2016 Reclaiming. Songs used with permission. All rights beyond these recordings revert to authors.
Along with all of Reclaiming, we thank the many members of work cells, weaver groups, family and youth camps, and organizers who help sustain Bay Area Reclaiming communities – the cauldron in which our music was born.
Spiral Dance chorus and past Reclaiming chants musicians; Turning Earth Singers; Funky Nixons; Prairiewine; Dave Pensado & Into the Lair; Maybelle Carter, John Lee Hooker, George Harrison, and our innumerable artistic ancestors; Witchcamp fire circles; and our many muses, from Polyhymnia to the Pacific Ocean to our children.
In addition to musicians and production team, we thank Elaine, Marg, and Fairview Gardens House, Rich, Ari, Fly, Blair, Kyla, Lisa, Christina, Seonaid, Tarin, Jamie, Owen, Anne, Andy, Blake, Natalia, Mykel, Hilary, Emily, Dusky, Amy, Aidan, Jasper, Maya, Julian, KaeliMo, Athena, Kaelin, Monieka, Stas, Casey, Alex, Adissa, Talullah, Frank, Riyana, Jason, Briar, Penske, Lyra, Trillium, Lindsey, Abel, Allison, Seneca, Rahula, Maeve, Natasha, Laura, Joe, Jax, Kala, Georgie, Tigris, Catherine, Jamie, Marie-Laure, Thibaut, Ian, Heidi, Moss, Rose, Laurel, Ewa, Gwydion, Magic Brook, Luz, Ruby, Spiraleena, Ivory Fly, Flame, Christie, Elizabeth, Gwion, Phoenix, Irisanya, Justin, Copper, Root, Helen, Lizann, Susan, Honeycomb, Yule, Neon Animal, Preston, Norma, Dailey, Vibra, Eric, Charles, Jonathan, Golden Rabbit Ranch, Robin, Evelie, Gwynne, Cypress, Victoria, Patti, Patricia, Tia, Leigh Ann, Nolan, April, Jude, Chester the Cat and Chester the Raccoon, Urania, Thom, John, Kim, Beth, Snow, Teri, Michael, Keith, Chimes by SidneyTurner.com, and Does 1 through 100 inclusive.
Thanks to Earth Activist Training; the Spiral Dance Production Cell; Ritual Planning Cells in North Bay, East Bay, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; Mysteries of Samhain, and Witchcamps in all hemispheres; the Bay Area Wheel; Terras Temple; Berkeley PaganFest; PantheaCon; Ancient Ways; CAYA Coven; Spark Collective; Mendocino Woodlands; forest and eco-defenders; Peoples Park; Food Not Bombs; Black Lives Matter; the spirit of Occupy; and Reclaiming chants fans and singers everywhere — may a thousand campfires bloom.
Finally, we thank the Goddess who is known by many names. On this album She is often called Earth, Moon, Sun, or Star — and in many songs She is invoked as “We Are!”
Let the Beauty We Love quotes Rumi.
Rising Sun quotes June Jordan (“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”).
One with the Darkness quotes Wendell Berry (refrain lines).
Our songs are musical commentaries on these passages, which are quoted under Fair Use. Many thanks to the authors.
A community, a tradition, a musical ensemble?
Reclaiming – isn’t that a folk band that recorded a bunch of chants albums?
Or is it a nonprofit group based in San Francisco?
An activist cluster at major political convergences?
Maybe it’s the name of a decades-old spiritual tradition now rooted on three continents?
Possibly all of the above?
A Working Definition
Reclaiming is an international community working to unify spirit and activism. Reclaiming’s Earth-based vision is rooted in the religion and magic of the Goddess, the Immanent Life Force.
We see our work as teaching and making magic: the art of empowering ourselves and each other. The skills we learn and the songs we sing are used to strengthen ourselves and our community, voice our concerns about the world in which we live, and bring to birth a vision of a new culture.
From Reclaiming.org – where you can also find links to local groups, info about our network, our music, and our vast cache of archives!
Read Reclaiming’s Principles of Unity at: Reclaiming.org/about/
What We Do
It’s easier to define Reclaiming by talking about what we do.
Activism – from the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s through Occupy in the 2010s, Reclaiming activists and musicians have taken to the streets (and sometimes the jail cells) to work for justice and peace. You can read more about Reclaiming activism on the following pages and in the Lore sections of several chants. Follow recent organizing at ReclaimingQuarterly.org
Witchcamp – in addition to local classes and workshops, Reclaiming groups around North America, Europe, and Australia have created witchcamps – intensives that teach magical skills for changing our lives and changing the world around us. See page 10 or visit witchcamp.org
Family Witchcamps – retreats such as Redwood Magic, Witchlets in the Woods, and Teen Earth Magic bring magical skills, nature awareness, and group skills to families and young people. Google these camps for more info.
Music – various ensembles within our community have recorded collections of songs and chants released under the name “Reclaiming.” Each album is unique, although singers and songwriters overlap. For more info, visit http://www.ReclaimingQuarterly.org or search for Reclaiming on CDBaby, Amazon, etc.
On the Web
Reclaiming.org – our portal site, with international contacts
Reclaiming.org/about – background & links
Witchcamp.org – links to international witchcamps and family camps
WeaveAndSpin.org – current magical and activist posts
ReclaimingQuarterly.org – archives, music, current news
BayAreaReclaiming.org – SF-area events and classes
ReclaimingSpiralDance.org – annual Samhain ritual in SF
Starhawk.org – writings, recordings, and links to Earth Activist Trainings
Facebook – search for Reclaiming to find local Reclaiming groups
Bay Area Public Rituals
The Spiral Dance – join us in SF around Samhain/Halloween each year for our grandest ritual of the year – visit ReclaimingSpiralDance.org
San Francisco Bay Area public rituals – all welcome – visit BayAreaReclaiming.org
Photo Teen Earth Magic / courtesy RQ Archives
From the 1980s anti-nuclear movement through the 2011 Occupy protests and beyond, Reclaiming activists have taken our spirituality – and our chants – into the streets.
Some of our most powerful songs were written for major actions – We Are the Power in Everyone (Song 9) was written for a 1982 protest at Livermore Weapons Lab. Sweet Water (Song 2) stems from an anti-G8 mobilization in Calgary in the early 2000s.
And one of our favorite magical songs of all time, We Are the Rising Sun (Song 3), was created for a 2003 peace march in Albuquerque.
Occupy Oakland & Beyond
When Occupy sprang up in 2011, Reclaiming folks found ways to plug in – several moved in at Occupy SF and Occupy Berkeley; some were part of the Interfaith Tent at Occupy Oakland; and dozens marched and risked arrest and teargas at Occupy Oakland, SF, and related bank actions.
The Occupy actions also had their artistic sides, such as the November 2011 General Strike, which included both a disco line and a spiral dance (the latter courtesy of Reclaiming).
Reclaiming musicians hosted singalongs at Berkeley and SF (as well as singing in the streets of Oakland) – see our Occupy Songsheet in the printable PDF version of this booklet.
Keep up with Reclaiming activism at WeaveAndSpin.org
Photos: General Strike • Occupy Oakland • November 2011
Above: As part of the General Strike, Reclaiming activists organized a spiral dance in the intersection of Broadway and 14th in the heart of downtown Oakland.
Top: Thousands of people marched and shut down the Port of Oakland – a shutdown supported by many port workers and union groups.
Photos by Luke Hauser / courtesy Reclaiming Quarterly archives
Magical intensives around the world
Reclaiming Witchcamps are retreats for the study of magic, ritual, and Earth awareness skills usually held in a campground setting.
Share in Reclaiming-style spiritual culture. Study magic and ritual in a multi-day intensive that includes practices such as trancework, healing, drumming, dancing, chanting, storytelling, guided visualization and energy work.
Participate in rituals that take us into the heart of ancient tales, creating a powerful, transformative energy that builds throughout the course of witchcamp and beyond.
All Levels of Experience Welcome
Newcomers can learn the basic skills of magic and ritual, working with the elements, movement, sound and the mythological and historical framework of the Goddess Tradition.
Advanced paths offer the chance to apply the tools of ritual to personal healing and empowerment, and might focus on taking the craft out into the world, creating public ritual, building ongoing groups, and healing issues surrounding leadership and power.
Some camps are for adults 18-up. Many camps are family- and youth-friendly, offering paths specifically for children and teenagers. Camps are organized in different ways, according to local needs.
As a tradition Reclaiming values diversity, and each WitchCamp has its own policies, structures and culture. Transparency is also encouraged and valued, as is a questioning attitude.
Feel free to ask questions of the varied and diverse camps to find the WitchCamp community that suits you best.
For dates and contact information, visit: Witchcamp.org
Photo by Dawnstar / courtesy of Reclaiming Quarterly archives.
* * *
WitchCamp Council & Contacts
Reclaiming Witchcamps coordinate their work through the WitchCamp Council. Reclaiming-tradition camps are located in North America, Europe, and Australia.
Witchcamp.org – dates and contacts for all Reclaiming camps, and for the WitchCamp Council
The Spiral Dance: A ritual to honor our Beloved Dead and to dance the spiral of rebirth
The holiday popularly known as Halloween is the time of year known to witches as Samhain. The veil is thin between the worlds of the living and the dead.
In San Francisco we have gathered for many years to remember and honor our ancestors, our Beloved Dead, and all those who have crossed over.
As we mourn for those we love who have died since last Samhain, we also mourn the loss and pain suffered by the Earth, our Mother.
Yet even as we grieve, we remember and honor the sacred cycle of life, death, rebirth, and regeneration. We honor the births of our children born this year and our own vital connections to the Earth and each other, in which we ground our hope.
The first Spiral Dance was held in 1979 to celebrate the publication of Starhawk’s book, The Spiral Dance. Starhawk, a founding member of Reclaiming Collective, wrote the original script which remains at the heart of the ritual, although it has been altered and embellished over the years by her and many others.
Traditionally, the Spiral Dance calls upon the energy and talents of musicians, artists, poets, dancers, crafts people, singers, technicians, priests and priestesses from Reclaiming and beyond, and we are grateful to everyone who helps create this magical experience we all share.
This is a participatory ritual and pageant which has become a central event in the Wheel of the Year for the Reclaiming community and beyond. Hundreds of people join in this observance of the Witches’ New Year, and the event raises funds which support our work throughout the year.
When we dance the spiral as a community, we remember and honor our own past at the same time that we renew our vision and embrace the future.
As with all Reclaiming events, we strive for inclusiveness and diversity. Reclaiming rituals are open to folks of all ages, all genders, people of diverse physical capabilities, people of color, LGBTQ+ folk, Witches, Pagans, non-pagans, activists, seekers, and the curious.
Let it begin now!
Photo by Michael Rauner / courtesy Reclaiming archives.
* * *
Let It Begin Now: Music from the Spiral Dance
See next page for this and other Reclaiming music albums.
Chants: Ritual Music
This album is commonly referred to as “Chants” – a pretty catchy title in the world of pagan music.
Chants was recorded as a teaching album, and captures the sound of a Reclaiming circle. You’d think it was recorded in the Black Cat House attic, where the songs have been sung and re-sung in countless rituals and classes.
Turns out that Chants was recorded in a studio in the late 1980s. A small chorus rehearsed 19 songs, secured some pro bono studio time, and (according to legend) recorded the entire album in a single afternoon.
The songs are classic. At least 10 are still routinely used in classes and rituals, including: Air I Am; Air Moves Us; We All Come from the Goddess; Kore Chant/She Changes Everything She Touches; Rise with the Fire; The Ocean is the Beginning; and more.
Many songs were written or co-written by Starhawk. We All Come from the Goddess is by Z Budapest. Air I Am – maybe the most popular elements song ever written – is by Andras Corbin Arden.
The music on Chants is Neo-Pagan Minimalism – a dumbek and 8-10 homespun voices. A few descant parts. Fewer harmonies, even where you’d expect them. The recordings aren’t perfect, but considering the one-day recording process, the album is strikingly well-performed.
Second Chants was released in 1997, and includes popular Reclaiming chants from the 1990s as well as some new songs. Several classics like When We Are Gone and Barge of Heaven are included, as well as a 50-second acapella version of Thorn Coyle’s Harvest Chant (a longer version appears on Campfire Chants – Song 8).
The album is finely produced, and features singers such as Anne Hill, Suzanne Sterling, and Maxina Ventura as well as Magic Brook on guitars.
Witches Brew: Songs & Chants from the Reclaiming Cauldron, is a compilation of pre-existing tracks by Reclaiming musicians.
Reclaiming Quarterly compiled this album in 2006. A volunteer production team listened to about 20 albums and chose our favorite songs, making this a Greatest Hits of Reclaiming music in the early 2000s.
Let It Begin Now: Music from the Spiral Dance
The original 1979 Spiral Dance ritual in San Francisco was the publication party for Starhawk’s book of that name. The ritual was reprised by popular demand the next couple of years, and after three years was declared a Venerable Tradition which has continued to this day (see previous page).
The music was not part of the first ritual, but evolved song-by-song over the next decade. The album was recorded around 1992.
If you’ve been to the Spiral Dance, even though many of the songs have been swapped over the years, just hearing the title song will carry you back to the spiral.
If you’ve never been, the music still works as a personal ritual – learn the songs so you can sing along.
The tale begins ten years ago, or perhaps twenty.
Campfire Chants – the music, not the title – was conceived around 2005.
Back in 1997, Reclaiming released Second Chants, the third in a series of chants cassettes(!) that included Chants: Ritual Music (c. 1990) and Let It Begin Now: Music from the Spiral Dance (c. 1992).
Among them, the three albums collected many of the chants and songs then current in rituals and classes.
Around 2005, Reclaiming Quarterly (aka RQ – see below) discussed recording a new album of chants from the 2000s. We collected a list of 15-20 possible songs, but recording an album from scratch seemed likely to take a while (little did we know…).
As an interim, RQ curated Witches Brew (2006), a collection of already-recorded “greatest hits” from musicians around Reclaiming. The process involved a volunteer team of a dozen listeners who helped select songs. The result is a beautiful album – but our list of unrecorded chants was untouched.
The list continued to grow for a few years, eventually reaching 30 possible songs. Various people talked about recording an album, but no rehearsals got underway.
Redwood Magic Proposes an Album
In August 2013 we held the first Redwood Magic Family Camp – a spin-off from the over-booked Witchlets in the Woods camp. At our feedback meeting on the final day, we discussed fundraising ideas, and someone suggested an album of chants.
Over the ensuing months, we decided to try to record a “family camps chorus” album, with the kids guesting on a few chants.
In Spring 2014 we sent out a call to the Redwood Magic and Witchlets elists. After some turnover, a consistent chorus of 10 people including a conga player and a guitarist settled in, plus a few others available for instrumentals and harmonies.
The group included three five-year-old Witchlets kids plus four of their parents. The bonds among the kids and parents helped provide the glue for our chorus, and carried us through 18 months of rehearsals and recording.
Rehearsing & Recording
The core group rehearsed monthly through early 2015, gradually honing our list to 17 chants. Our criteria were that the songs were written by Reclaiming folks, that we liked singing them, and there was not already a choral recording available.
We also evolved the “concept” of a circle of people singing around a campfire, and this became the guiding principle for arrangements and instrumental additions – a rough-hewn acoustic mix with lots of choral sing-alongs.
Recording began in March 2015 – a story we’ll share on the following pages.
* * *
Reclaiming Quarterly and its predecessor, Reclaiming Newsletter, published a total of over 100 print issues from 1981 through 2008.
The publication covered a mix of grassroots organizing and Earth-based paganism best described as Magical Activism.
Since 2008, RQ has published online – occasional issues, subsections (such as our Pearl Pentacle feature and photo-coverage of major direct actions) – as well as collecting and digitalizing our archives, which include the entire 100 editions plus hundreds of other documents.
The RQ Archives include maintaining the earlier chants albums in CD and download formats. Recordings are available from our website or at CDBaby, iTunes, etc.
A Do-It-Ourselves Journey
We’re a Garage Band
“We’re a garage band – we come from Garageland!” – The Clash
Campfire Chants was produced low-tech and on a limited budget that we hope inspires others to follow suit.
Our goal was to capture the ragged-edged sound and spirit of a bunch of people gathered around a late-night witchcamp fire.
Of course, these songs weren’t actually recorded around a campfire. But neither are they studio recordings. They were done in a converted garage in South Berkeley.
Home recording eliminated studio costs – essential for a do-it-ourselves project with endless weekends of recording.
Of course, it also meant that we had to teach ourselves how to record and mix an album.
Tip Number One – watch youtube!
There are hundreds of how-to videos on every aspect of recording and mixing. Dave Pensado’s Into the Lair episodes are a textbook.
The garage space had lots of harsh echoes, so we got some quilted moving blankets and hung them from the rafters to create a 6-foot-square recording booth.
We used Shure 57 mics for instruments and Shure 58s for voices ($99 dynamic mics – in the future we might spend more on a condenser mic for vocals).
Mics ran through a Presonus bluetube preamp and then into an antique Tascam digital 8-track with real sliders and knobs (quaint, but in the future it would be simpler to skip this hardware and use a $300 Digital Audio Workstation to record direct to computer).
Total equipment cost, assuming you already own a Mac computer – around $1000.
The Guild guitar had a built-in pickup that doubled the Shure 57 mic on all tracks – the built-in pickup added body and reduced mic-hum.
The electric bass was recorded direct. We used EQ and compression to give it a more acoustic sound.
All other instruments are recorded live using a Shure 57. We augmented lead instruments with a Countryman mini-condenser mic that adds a bit of body to the bright Shures. (Several fiddle tracks by Mark Simos were recorded separately – see album notes).
Recording the Album
A shifting group of adults and kids rehearsed once a month for a year. Eventually a small chorus settled in. This group chose the songs, keys, and tempos.
Using a metronome and tuner, we recorded the conga and a simple guitar part. Voices and other instruments were recorded with these parts playing through headphones.
Most chants went through several versions. Over a six-month period, we re-recorded most parts, looking for the best sound we could get from a bunch of people with jobs, kids, and an occasional need for sleep.
We mixed the album on GarageBand, an almost-free and fairly intuitive Mac program that allows remarkably detailed editing and splicing.
Amidst all the cutting and pasting, we tried to keep the sound natural. A touch of faerie delay and natural redwood reverb can be heard on a few songs. Otherwise they are all-acoustic (although rumors abound of electronic remixes!).
We alloted a year for the production process, and used all of it. Recording began in March 2015 and was complete by mid-Fall. Although we’d been doing test-mixes all along, re-mixing took until February.
Final Steps – with community support!
This was pretty much the limit of our DIY capabilities. We could have released the music digitally at this point. However, thanks to advance orders and donations, we engaged professionals to do three final steps.
Mastering: Once recording and mixing were complete, we turned it over to Winter at EMB Studios for mastering – this didn’t change the mixes, but gives the album a smoother and more consistent final sound.
CDs: We wanted physical CDs, which we got replicated at CDBaby, who also handles digital distribution for us.
Album Art: Michael Starkman, who has produced many promo cards and other designs for Bay Area Reclaiming, created the CD cover. See more of his art and photography at michaelstarkman.com
Co-Creation and Collective Magic
To be added shortly!
Creating their own magic!
At Witchlets or Redwood Magic, no singalong is complete without magical kids’ songs: Puff, Yellow Submarine, Rainbow Connection…
Sometimes the kids even sing with us!
And now we add our own offering: The Wheel of the Year, from a Teen Earth Magic retreat ( Song 10 and page after).
You’ll hear kids join in on several songs on this album – part of a meandering odyssey that may just be beginning.
We started with the idea that kids would be part of the chorus. But when it came time to rehearse, those present usually opted to run around in the back yard. Go figure!
Then we started recording. The first day, the attendant kids avoided our makeshift studio all afternoon, playing out back and going to a park.
But when we finished and went into the kitchen, the kids suddenly got interested in exploring the recording space.
Did they want to try on the headphones?
Did they want to sing a song into the mics?
Well, maybe one, if they got to choose.
They chose We Are the Rising Sun, a favorite from Witchlets (Song 3). They must have been secretly rehearsing in the back yard, because they had the song down. Once they got used to headphones, we did a take.
Over the next sessions we added their voices to Wheel of the Year and Welcome Flame. A few more kids came over for our community-sing day toward the end of the project, and we wound up with eight young people on the album.
You’ll hear their voices on these three songs, and we’ll add some special all-kids mixes to the Bonus disk – visit CampfireChants.org for info.
Will the Kids Chorus continue? Stay tuned – maybe they’ll get inspired and record the next Reclaiming album!
Reclaiming Family Camps
Witchlets in the Woods & Redwood Magic – and more to come!
Witchlets in the Woods, begun in 2001, gathers in August at Mendocino Woodlands for five days of family and age-specific magic. Redwood Magic (also at the Woodlands) grew out of the overflow of Witchlets and is now an independent camp.
Want to start a family camp? We have a do-it-yourselves organizing booklet and are glad to share our experiences. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Witchlets Newts Campfire. Photo By Alla Irwin.
Honoring Our Ancestors & Influences
Artists/albums that inspired and influenced the campfire chants sound. Many of these were reference albums as we mixed the album – we’d listen to these artists, then our mixes, and hear where we needed to do more work.
- John Lee Hooker (early acoustic recordings – these rhythms anchor several of our songs, notably Welcome Flame)
- Kimya Dawson (clarity and purpose)
- Nirvana (Unplugged – garage music with passion)
- Will the Circle Be Unbroken (by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – features Maybelle Carter, Flatt & Scruggs, Doc Watson, and many other old-time artists)
- The Roots (Things Fall Apart – relaxed, cooperative artistry)
- Woodstock (the original 3-record album – you are there)
- The Weavers (did they invent campfire singalongs?)
- Muddy Waters (early acoustic recordings – classic roots)
- Indigo Girls (self-titled first album – drive and purpose)
- Buena Vista Social Club (presence & clarity)
- Kate Wolf (acoustic purity)
- Libertines/Babyshambles (Up the Bracket/Albion – ragtag beauty)
- Ingrid Michaelson (Be OK – natural singing voice)
- Hot Tuna (1969 acoustic album – live and lo-fi in a Berkeley café)
- Peter Paul & Mary (Around the Campfire – ‘nuff said)
- Public Enemy (Fear of a Black Planet – cooperative vocals with drive and message)
- Doc Watson (a fountain of arrangements and harmonies)
- Parliament (Mothership Connection – gentle rhythms)
- Michelle Shocked (Campfire Tapes – showed the possibilities)
- Gillian Welch (Revival – clarity, beauty, and Maybelle-influenced guitar)
- Rolling Stones (Exile on Main Street – lo-fi blues taped in the basement of their French chateau – almost like us!)
- Wailin’ Jennys (Live at the Opera House – singing with one voice)
- Bob Dylan & The Band (Basement Tapes – loose, good-humored recordings)
- Grateful Dead (American Beauty – our San Francisco roots)
And of course our previous Reclaiming albums – especially these songs:
- Barge of Heaven from Second Chants
- Ocean Is the Beginning from Chants: Ritual Music
- No End to the Circle from Let It Begin Now
- Who Is the Goddess (by Moonrise) from Witches Brew
- Wake Again (Faerie Prelude) – by Maxina Ventura
- Sweet Water – by Starhawk
- We Are the Rising Sun – by Ravyn Stanfield
- Circle Round the Balefire – by Laurie Lovekraft
- Weave and Spin – by Starhawk
- My Soul – by Suzanne Sterling & Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney
- The Welcome Flame – by Seed (Calla Unsworth)
- Harvest Chant – by T. Thorn Coyle
- We Are the Power in Everyone – by Starhawk
- Wheel of the Year – by Teen Earth Magic
- Come The Night, On – by Maxina Ventura
- Body of the Earth – by Starhawk
- Let the Beauty We Love – by Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney
- Rising of the Moon – by Starhawk
- Cycles of the Moon – by George Franklin
- One With the Darkness – by Meg Yardley
- Skit: Around the Campfire
- Goodnight Sweet Witches – Traditional
The Voice of the Pagan Proletariat
Special Chants Edition
Music Industry Stunned as Reclaiming Wins Special Grammy
Following the chart-topping success of its latest release, Campfire Chants, Reclaiming has been awarded a special Grammy that presages major changes in the new-age music industry.
The award, for Most Songs Written to Same Tune, cited five songs from the new album as well as numerous songs from earlier albums.
Grammy voters were especially impressed with the minimalist lyrics. “Most artists would write one song with five verses,” mused one elector. “It’s quite revolutionary to turn it into five different songs with identical tunes.”
Reclaiming’s success is sending shock waves through the neo-pagan music business, which immediately began repackaging older melodies with a wide variety of new Earth-friendly lyrics and rushing them into production by the dozens.
Next Reclaiming Album Slated for Spring 2037
Please advance order now!
The next Reclaiming chants album is already underway!
The new recording, tentatively titled Chants My Goddessmother Taught Me, will include all of the greatest Reclaiming songs written from now until then.
Based on past projects, we anticipate the album will be released in May 2037, give or take a decade.
Please help us produce this beautiful and inspiring new album of not-yet-written chants by advance ordering now!
Revolutionary Pagan Barricade Chants
Undaunted by Reclaiming’s Campfire Chants, the Peoples Pagan Party has announced the long-delayed release of their soon-to-be-classic album of Earth-based dialectical materialist singalongs, Revolutionary Pagan Workers’ Barricade Chants.
Barricados, as the legendary album is known on the front lines of the Great Leap Into the Unknown, features such gems as Weave and Spin the Unity of All Oppressed Wiccan Workers; We Are the Rising of the Spiritually-Aspiring Masses; We All Come from the Peoples Pagan Party; and of course, Goodnight Sweet Proletarians of the World.
Tracks for Barricados were recorded by a solar-powered cultural-vanguardist production team embedded at direct actions in Calgary, Miami, Oakland, and Headwaters Forest.
Benefit Mega-Event Planned – Arrests expected
Barricade Chants is to be released with great fanfare, including a tour of pirate radio talk shows, pop-under ads on grassroots media websites, and a massive globally-streamed mega-event on Permanent Revolution Day.
The festivities will culminate with a seven-continent live multi-media sing-along of the new album’s #1 hit, Our Hands Will Work for Peace, Justice, Solidarity, Diversity, Gluten-Free Options, and a $15 Minimum Wage.
Immediately following the benefit concert, a spontaneous international civil disobedience action resulting in thousands of arrests is planned. All charges will be dropped later as part of a final settlement mediated by the Covenant of the Goddess’s Special Envoy for Charity Concerts.
Potential snafus arose for Barricados when the Neo-Wiccan Latter-Day Disciples of the Mysterious Ones claimed copyright violations on several chants, citing numerous cribs from old Reclaiming albums, Pentacostal hymnals, and vintage IWW songbooks.
But the claims were dismissed by a Popular Pagan Chants Tribunal, which ruled that all
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Photo – Revolutionary cadre practice hand motions for barricade chants in preparation for showdown with San Francisco Police. Foreclose the Banks, 2011. Photo by Luke Hauser/DirectAction.org
In an exclusive scoop, Reclaiming Quarterly offers reprints of all 37 past editions of the RPWV. Visit us at ReclaimingQuarterly.org/web/rpwv/
WeaveAndSpin.org – our current-posts site, viewable on all devices
ReclaimingQuarterly.org – our old-school archives site
In addition to producing this Campfire Chants booklet, Reclaiming Quarterly brings you photo-journalism, magical features, plus Reclaiming’s online archives:
- back issues of Reclaiming Newsletter and Reclaiming Quarterly dating back to 1981
- activist and magical features and theme sections
- Reclaiming chants, music, and trance recordings
- dozens of archival documents from Spiral Dance scripts to witchcamp brochures to ritual outlines –and more!
Visit us online at ReclaimingQuarterly.org
WeaveAndSpin.org – our current-posts site, viewable on all devices