Grief & Joy album cover

We are thankful for the power of music, dance and community to help us through our grief and share in our joy. This album is a collection of 15 songs that explore hope, gratitude, birth, death, darkness and light through song.

Oh Grief!  Oh Joy!  

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

Oh Grief! Oh Joy!
Held in the very rhythm of my beating heart
Oh Grief! Oh Joy!
May you come together so I don't fall apart

Breathe In  Breathe Out
Gather your Strength
Breathe In  Breathe Out
Remove all Doubt

You are Held, You are Held, You are Held
Surrounded, Grounded (by Love)

Dig down into your roots
That's where it all begins
Reach up into the stars
Embrace all that you are

This song was inspired by a poem written by Suzanne Morrow. She wrote the poem below at Song Village when I was leading a dance class and at the same time Laurence Cole was leading a community grief ritual. She read the poem at the end of the class and I knew it had to become a song. Thank you Suzanne for inspiring this song.

Grief & Joy  by Suzanne Morrow

Grief and joy held in the very rhythm of your heart
No need to question how well we are doing our part
Each moment unfolds us into the next one
There’s no need to wonder how we lost or won
The grief of our loss lifts a mirror up to our Soul
The joy that we see reminds us that we are whole
Dancing to the deep rhythm of the drum
Leading into the roots where we once came from
Open to that One who leads us in the dance
This sacred life has once more given us that chance.

Hope

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the Soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” —Emily Dickinson

Never, never, never
Never, never, never
Never, never, never
Never give up on hope

Hope is living in my Soul
Hope is living in my Soul

Written by Debbie Nargi-Brown except the first line about hope which is a direct quote by Emily Dickinson. I am so glad that we are singing her words because in her lifetime, her work was never published because she was a woman. Her poem on Hope is found below. It was believed to be written in 1861 and finally published in 1891. Emily Dickinson died in 1886.

Without hope we have nothing. This song came to me first as a chant and a prayer for humanity. May we create a world where everyone is respected and valued. May we take care of the earth and protect her for our future generations.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops — at all —

And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard —
And sore must be the storm —
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm —

I’ve heard it in the chillest land —
And on the strangest Sea —
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb — of Me.

Be Open

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

Be Open
Be Open for Something Wonderful to Happen
Be Open for the Possibility!  (repeat)

Aye, Aye, Aye, Aye
Aye, Aye, Aye
Aye, Aye, Aye, Aye
Aye, Aye, Aye

This song came through when two people that I love were going through a challenging time. I really wanted to help them and this song emerged.

This song has traveled the world! It has been sung in schools in England, song circles in Australia, in a prison choir in Iowa and all over the United States and even in a train station in Paris. This song has been featured in A Breath of Song podcast as well. (abreathofsong.com)

When I have sung this song with intention, good things have happened. Never underestimate the power of song!

Welcome Home

Lyrics by Melissa Carboni Newman & Music by Debbie Nargi-Brown

In the hope of a new day
Your Soul whispers to mine
Let faith find a way as a gift from the Divine
I feel you in the sunshine, the warmth of the sand
Your Spirit flows like the waves, reaching out your hand

I’m calling to you, calling to you
I’m calling you through, calling you through
Carry you home, wrap you in my love
Carry you home to me

We’re ready to raise you
Start our own family
Our love will see you through
We’re gonna love you unconditionally

I feel you in the sunshine, the warmth of the sand
Your Spirit flows like the waves, reaching out your hand

I’m calling to you, you are pure love
I’m calling you through, you are pure grace
Carry you home, wrap you in my love
Carry you home, Carry you home to me

Ending: Welcome Home, Welcome Home

My niece, Melissa, who always dreamed of being a mother, wrote these words and asked me to put them into a song so she could sing her baby into being.

I am happy to report that she gave birth to a beautiful girl named Ayla Jill during the spring of 2022. This song is for all those out there seeking hope in becoming parents.

The light that is You

Words by L.R. Knost & Music by Debbie Nargi-Brown

Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world
All things break and all things can be mended
not with time as they say but with intention
So go love intentionally, so go love extravagantly,
so go love unconditionally
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you!

Thank you L.R. Knost for giving me permission to use your words in this song. Thank you Melissa Gordon for connecting me with L.R. Knost.

Roadblock

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

Part 1
This is a roadblock, not the end of the road
When I get knocked down, I get back up again

Part 2
I don’t care what you’ve been told
Now is the time to take back control
This is not the end of your dreams
Life is not, what it seems

Part 3
Faith, Hope to Believe
Faith, Hope to Receive

My husband Bill was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma in December of 2020. There are no known cures for this type of cancer. I wrote this song for us as we navigated cancer and the dysfunctional medical system in our country.

There is a great live version of this song on SoundCloud: https://on.soundcloud.com/gSDc2

Anything is Possible

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

Part 1
Keepin’ it real, one day at a time
Knowing anything, anything is possible
Keep going on, Keep growing strong
Anything is possible, in just one step

Part 2
I know it’s dark and scary
I know you’re tired and weary
Keep going on, keep growing strong
Keep going on, keep growing strong
Anything is possible
Anything is possible
With just one step….one breath, one step

Part 3
Making the impossible possible (4x)

Ending: Part 2- One breath, one step
Part 3- It’s possible, it’s possible
Part 1- Anything is possible in just one breath

I wrote my husband a beautiful ballad (at least that is what I thought!) to encourage him on his cancer journey. He had just finished two months of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. When I sang it to him, he told me that he thought the song was depressing. So I completely flipped the song around and created a multi-layered upbeat version of the song without the guitar.

It’s A Good Day To Be Alive

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

It’s a good day to be alive
It’s a good day my oh my
It’s a good day here singing with you
Let’s go out and try something new
It’s a good day for me and you

When I get up in the morning
I give thanks for this day
With love and gratitude
I know I’m on my way
When I go to sleep at night
I count my blessings
With courage and strength
I know it’s gonna be alright (chorus)

Sometimes the days are long
Sometimes the years are short
Let’s just appreciate what we got (chorus)

I was meeting with a friend and the conversation started to get depressing. She was saying, "Well at least I don't have COVID-19 or Monkey Pox and my house didn't burn down today" I told her I was going to make a sad song out of this conversation which I did but I just couldn't keep singing it. Here is what I came up with instead! Gratitude always changes things around in a good way.

Does your Spirit have Wings?

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

Does your Spirit have Wings?
Does your Spirit have Wings? (2x)
Can it do anything?
Fly, Fly, Fly how do you know if you don't try  (2x)

This song came to me in a dream. I know it was inspired by Karly Loveling in some way but I just can't seem to remember how? Karly is a gifted singer, song leader and songwriter in Eugene, Oregon. Listen to her music here: https://karlyloveling.bandcamp.com/album/let-me-be-the-love-2

I Will Let My Heart Be Broken

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

I will let my heart be broken
I will let my heart be broke
I will let my heart be broken

Yes, I know you will be put back together again
Yes, I know you will be put back together again
Yes, I know you will be put back together again
Again, Again, Again, Again, Again, Again, Again

I know it’s hard, I know it’s hard, I know it’s hard
When you feel broken
Yes, I know you will be put back together again
Yes, I know you will be put back together again
Yes, I know you will be put back together again
Again, Again, Again, Again, Again, Again, Again

Take strength from me, I will see you through
Take strength from me

I wrote this song when I was upset about something and I just gave myself permission to be heartbroken and in the end it all worked out.

This song was recorded on someone's phone but I just love the memory of it and all the voices singing along. I was leading this song at the Singing on the Edge retreat at Esalen in the fall of 2019. I was joined by Glen Phillips on guitar, Emile Hassan Dyer on djembe and Jerry Paul on upright bass. You can hear Lisa G. Littlebird and Barbara McAfee harmonizing along with over 100 singers in the audience. I practiced only 10 minutes with Glen and Emile and they really rocked it.

Darkness & Light

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

I stand in awe with the beauty of the night
Without the darkness we would never know the light
Without the darkness we would never know the light
Without the darkness we would never know the light

Everything ebbs and flows
With each cycle we grow  Everything changes, rearranges
This much I know
Everything changes, rearranges
This much I know

2020 was a difficult year. I wrote the poem below a couple days before the Winter Solstice on 12/19/20. I was having a tough time with my husband's new diagnosis of stage 4 cancer and the pandemic. I was in a real funk when I heard an owl call out, I went outside on my deck in the Santa Cruz Mountains and saw the stars, the full moon, the beauty of the night and in that moment, my consciousness shifted, i felt so expansive. I immediately went inside and wrote this poem. A year later it became a song.

A poem for the Winter Solstice

Last night, an owl called out to me in all her majesty
We are all a part of this magnificent galaxy

The full moon lights up the night sky
Stars shining bright to remind us that we do have wings to fly

I stand in awe with the beauty of the night
Without the darkness we would never know the light

I Will Never Forget You

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

I’ll never forget you
I never will
Oh, I’ll never forget you
I never will

Thank you for pavin’ the way for the life I’m livin’ today
I feel your love watchin’ over me
You are my blood, you are my bones
You are the breath that I breathe
You are the breath that I breathe (chorus)

You are my shining star no matter where you are
I’ll always seek you in my dreams
You are my foundation, this is a dedication
Our love will always be
Our love will always be  (chorus)

I wrote this to honor my father Bob Nargi also known as Papa Narge. He died at the age of 82 in July 2015 surrounded by his family. He was healthy and then was diagnosed with pancreatitis and died in a month. During that month in the hospital he never wanted to be alone. My family had a rotation schedule so that he had someone with him most of that time even during the night. He showed me how to accept death and die even though it is scary. He loved to sing and could play the piano by ear. We sang a lot during the last month of his life. He wanted to hear upbeat songs. We sang to him as he was dying and after he died. All my years in the Threshold Choir helped me to prepare for that moment. Thank you Kate Munger for starting the Threshold Choir and teaching me and thousands of people how to sing at bedsides.

I was leading weekly and then monthly free Zoom community sings during the first years of the pandemic. We were doing one to honor those who had past and this song came to me.

God is Breathing

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

God is breathing you
God is breathing me
All we need to do is open the sails

God is breathing, God is breathing, Open the Sails

Inspired by the words of Ramakrishna (1836-1886), Indian Hindu Mystic
"The winds of God's grace is always blowing, it is for us to raise our sails"

We’re Here For You Now

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

You can not do this alone
We are here to support you
You are not alone, we will not disappoint you
Let us in to help you through
Let us in so we can see you through, let us in
Oh, oh, let the love pour in
Let it fill you to your core
May it fill every pore Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
You can not do this alone
We are here, we are here to support you
You are not alone, we are here, we are here to support you

Open up, open up we are here for you
Open up, open up, open up, open up, open up
We’re here for you now

Slow down and grieve, now’s the time to breathe
Slow down and receive, now the time to believe

In January 2022, I had a mass removed from my left kidney. I was told that there was a 90 percent chance it was cancer. This was a challenging time for me and I needed help. I am not good at asking for or receiving help. This song came to me in a time of great need and is a reminder that we can not do this alone.

The morning I was going to get the results of the biopsy I finished writing this song. What a miracle to find out that day that I did not have cancer.

Oh Grief!  Oh Joy!

by Debbie Nargi-Brown

Back in 2019, the idea for this album was to have the songs sung and recorded by different choirs but then pandemic had different plans for us. We started in Monterey, CA with Lisa G. Littlebird's Wholehearted Chorus. We recorded several songs but the acoustics in the room were not great and the recordings did not come out the way we wanted them to be. We decided to keep this version of Oh Grief! Oh Joy! and have it as a bonus track on the album.

Love is Everything

Click here for the Love is Everything Songbook

Debbie Nargi-Brown CD 2020

Click here for the Lyrics
for 2020

IntoTheRhythmCD-cover

Click here for a pdf of songwords for the Into the Rhythm CD