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Chants & Songs

Songs and chants are a big part of the energy of Fire Circle. Maybe not everyone can drum or play an instrument, but everyone can “open their face up and sing”, says the great musical philosopher Ani DiFranco. Spreading between the portals of voice and music, pulling sound through your body, vibrating like an instrument, and letting it rise is a spiritual practice millennia

old, present in all cultures. Sharing the gift of your voice, vibrations, lyrics and melody helps inspire and sustain the energy for the workers in the circle, and gives the drummers fuel to keep playing along.


So, is there a difference between a song and a chant?


Structurally, and in purpose yes. Chants are designed to be simple, easy to catch on to, and repetitive. Chanting involves everyone quickly and the process of chanting together creates an energetic path to divine experience. When you don’t have complex words and melodies, everyone can join in; it’s instant community, and a journey taken together with everyone, both within and without, at the same time.


Songs are stories told to music. A songwriter considers a beginning, middle, and an end, lyrical meaning, musical arrangement, and the message they are trying to send. Songs can range from Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, to Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Released to Soundgarden’s Big Dumb Sex; all are complete pieces of sonic storytelling.


Are some songs chantlike? Yes! Are some chants full enough to be a song? Yes! Of course, these categories are loose with regard to structure, and even purpose. Anyone who has chanted along with Yellow Submarine or sung start to finish Behold There is Magic knows this. And it's not that chants are sacred and songs are secular. Nope, we don’t make that distinction at Fire Circle. We all know these songs made by secular artists that send us over the top spiritually, that are full of divine meaning to us, even if the songwriter didn’t intend it. Writing music is a sacred act. So even if we are singing weird, silly songs to keep the energy going, someone was inspired to write them!


So, we encourage singing songs and intoning chants of all kinds at Fire Circle. We have a few favorites that get re-sung every year, but we also are surprised and inspired by new vocal music we hear and bring. Every year with new releases, we find ourselves saying, “OOH! That song. We should bring it to Fire Circle!”


Search your music collection for what inspires you! Here are a few songs and chants that we have sung over the years at Fire Circle. Open your face up and sing!

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