Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Song of Peace


This unexpected, haunting version of the Song of Peace by Jean Sibelius  from Earth Mama's Under the Rainbow CD

Vandana Shiva, Joyce Rouse (Earth Mama), Dr. Shiva

Many creative artists and musicians felt moved by the burning of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 2001 to create works of art in the years following, which expressed their experience of the attacks. Along with the anthems and ballads reasoning for peace that I wrote for an album to be titled Under the Rainbow (where we all live and need to learn to get along), a deep memory of my teen years in the late 60’s and early 70’s resurfaced, which led me to record my own version of this classic work, A Song of Peace, extracted from Jean Sibelius’ larger work, Finlandia, with lyrics written by a 22 year old American, Lloyd Stone, in the years between WWI and WWII.

In the state of Iowa, where I grew up, the state and local 4-H program was exemplary. It was in many ways a sort of Gifted and Talented Program of the era. But you didn’t have to be gifted OR talented, just curious, interested and willing to participate! I started in my local 4-H club, The Cloverleaf Neighbors, at the earliest age I could and stayed active until I graduated from high school. By my teen years, the activities got pretty boring for me, but I discovered the really cool statewide events, leadership council, national awards trips to Chicago and Washington, DC, and best of all, State 4-H Chorus, which meant I got the car and time to spend at Iowa State University meeting other music lovers, rehearsing for concerts, and getting out of my tiny hometown on weekends! Best of all, was my getting to know Max.
Max Exner was the Iowa State Music specialist for the Extension Service. He conducted, he composed, he accompanied when no one else was available, AND he knew more traditional songs from all over the world and American traditional songs than anyone I had ever met. He was old (everyone looks old when you are a teenager) mostly bald and had the energy of a 6 year old. He was the first composer I got to meet. Later, when I attended Iowa State, where he maintained an office when he wasn’t out traveling making music with 4-H clubs, I would stop by his office for a brief howdy on occasion. This is where he showed me his large unique typewriter which typed out, NOT WORDS, but a staff with notes and beams and dots and flats and sharps! This is why his compositions and arrangements looked so professional!
In the high school years I sang in the state 4-H chorus, Max made sure that as well as learning music and performance skills, that we were learning about the struggles for freedom in Africa, the struggles with poverty in poorer communities, the importance of gender equality and more. The songs he selected held the principles he felt were most important for young people to think about. A Song of Peace was one of those songs.
In the following years, I would occasionally see A Song of Peace in a hymnal or song collection, but it was after 9/11 that the lyrics and music slammed back into my consciousness.
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine
We see that there is no peace without justice. The dignity of all people must be honored.
The lifelong work of Dr. Martin Luther King, the actions of Rosa Parks and so many other heroes are shining reminders that one life, one decision for justice or peace can influence the future in profound ways.
We reached for a fresh, modern sound on the recording, with rhythm loops and vocal filter effects to update this beautiful song that has become an anthem for peace and understanding. Thanks to the late Max Exner, this composer learned a model of introducing powerful, profound ideas to seemingly unaware teens. Thanks to 4-H programs for adding significantly to resource pools for youth.
Audio Player

I WROTE THIS BLOG FOR children's music network (cmn) AS A guest bloggerand am reposting with their permission.  i'm an active member of cmn.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

2016 Holiday Newsletter and Specials

Dear Earthies,

What can you be grateful for this year?  YOU are in my gratitude count!
As we all adjust to a rapidly changing world, we have an opportunity to support each other in many ways:  Through kind actions, dedicated prayer, contemplation time, and believing with Hope and Certainty that good comes out of every situation. 

Thanksgiving and Advent seem to have a different feel for me this year, with feelings of both urgency and resolve. You may also have this need for some shift in your life and music.

I truly believe that Music is a profound healing tonic to all pain and anxiety. And a great enhancer of JOY!

You probably have favorite tunes and songs, but perhaps you would like to find some new “Comfort and Inspiration Music.”  In the spirit of Christmas and with gratitude for your past and present support, we’ve cooked up some new specials for you - for yourself AND for those you want to give the gifts of hope, peace, and justice - songs that herald the message of Climate Change, The Universe Story, adaptation, courage and perhaps a bit of humor!

Some of you have all of my CD recordings, others have one or two of my recordings that you have used for years. Perhaps you’re ready for a new playlist or fresh ideas!

Earth Mama Music Holiday Specials:  Now through December 15.

News Flash:  The Whole Enchi-Mama USB Flash Drive filled with all the Earth Mama Music recordings, sheet music, song books and karaoke tracks for performance and more.
$250 value, regularly $99 - Christmas Special $89 in Organza gift bag.  Order now and you will receive an advance copy of the recording of a brand new song, HerStory!  We will include it on your Earth Mama Flash Drive. So convenient - just pop the flash drive into your computer or the USB port in your car and hit PLAY!
Buy here.

1¢ shipping on CDs!!!  Purchase 3 Earth Mama CDs at CDBaby and get 1¢shipping, domestic or international. This is an amazing deal for those of you in Canada, UK, Australia, Italy, and Mars.  (Ha! I’ve been watching where the streaming activity is coming from.)  P.S. Some CD titles are discounted if you purchase more than one copy, for extra savings.  Buy here.

100% Organic/Recycled Earth Mama T Shirts A World of Musiversity! A World of Earth Mama Music!  These are the softest, most comfortable, beautiful purple T’s for yoga, walking, sleeping or gifting. The "tear away" label means no itchy neck from the tag.   
$12, reduced from $20!   Limit 3 per buyer.  Buy here.

We have Gift Certificates - Do you want to give an Earth Mama gift, but not sure what they have? Give them a Gift Certificate!  Contact Us for details.
Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify Users: Please include Earth Mama songs in your playlists for sharing. Most or all of my songs play in those platforms.

Thank you MidWest Book Review for this wonderful recent CD review:
                     The Holiday Shelf                      
Christmas Heart

$15.00 CD / $10.00 MP3 cdbaby.com

"Joyce "EarthMama" Rouse presents Christmas Heart, a holiday-themed music CD for the whole family. Some of the songs have religious themes that celebrate God's love and the birth of Jesus Christ; all are shining with the universal joy and camaraderie of the season. An included lyric booklet makes Christmas Heart ideal for sharing and singing aloud, especially at Christmas caroling or parties. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Christmas Heart" (3:18), "Close To The Earth" (4:26), "Baby Child, Baby King" (2:34), "The Angel Tree" (3:49), "First Christmas Waltz" (3:27), "Christmas Candles" (2:52), "Quaker Christmas Medley" (5:03), "For Christmas" (3:25), "Fear Not (in the Stile Nacht)" (5:20), and "Green Christmas" (4:57)."
Christmas Bonusfree download of “Baby Child, Baby King”(from my Christmas Heart CD)
(Limited time offer - Click Here )

Blessings & EarthPeace to you and yours in this precious season,

P.S. Here's how/where you can get all of my music: (always a great gift to a friend in need of a lift!)
1. At My Performances, up close and personal.
2. From my website: www.earthmama.org. All of my music is on my website with clips of each track for free previewing.
3. All of my music is also available in CD or digital Downloads at cdBaby or at  itunes.
4. Order directly from me! Email me with your order: earthmamjoyce@mac.com.
5. Go shopping in Independence, VA at Square One & in Galax, VA at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Part II - You MIGHT be an Environmentalist.....

Part II - - You MIGHT Be an Environmentalist…

..if you drive through the Cherokee National Forest and feel the spirit of ancient native people.

..if you attend a baby shower, see the mountains of plastic stuff and know that it never used to take this much fossil fuel to have a baby.

..if you’ve ever sneaked onto your neighbor’s construction site and pulled the perfectly good lengths of 2X4 out of the dumpster to use on a backyard project.

..if you wish that “bio-accumulation” were a collection of critters.

..if you get an ulcer whenever you catch a glimpse of clear cut beyond the “beauty strip”.

..if you’ve ever had a small part on an appliance repaired for $125 when you could have bought a new one for $135.

..if you have ever attended a public hearing in defense of national forests.
..if you ever hugged a tree and felt like it was hugging you back.

..if you ever skipped doing laundry for 3 weeks cause you were waiting to wash a full load.

..if you ever left a beautiful rock right where it is, because God put it there.

..if you’ve ever bragged about your compost heap.

..if you regularly visit earthmama.org to check on the latest news.

..if you’ve ever had to explain to someone why Earth Literacy is vital.

..if any of your heros are George W Carver, Rachel Carson, Chico Mendes, David Suzuki, Johnny Appleseed, Donella Meadows.

..if you’d rather be outdoors.

..if you know the names of 4 endangered species.

..if you know what IPM is.

..if you’ve ever dreamed of living in a tree.

..if you can name your 3 favorite creeks without stopping to think.

..if you give your cat lessons in mouse hunting.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Part I - You MIGHT be an Environmentalist...

Holiday Wreath made from discarded sheet music.

Part I --You MIGHT be an Environmentalist….

..if you insist on your coffee being organic, shade grown (to protect the songbird habitat) and labeled “fair trade”.

..if you tote your rotten apple core 74 miles home to put it in your compost pile rather than pitch it in a trash can.

..if you limp when you walk because you recently darned the holes in your socks, and it is a new skill, so they are lumpy!

..if the only cleaning supplies in your house are salt, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and borax.

..if you haven’t used a chemical on your lawn since you read the ingredients and knew the dandelions and butterflies wouldn’t like it.

..if every time you see a child having an asthma attack and silently cuss out makers, sellers and drivers of SUV’s.

..if you only want to go to the food store when you have four items left in your refrigerator and none of them are tofu or fresh fruit.

..if you count down the days to Household Hazardous Waste Day to dispose of your used batteries, paints, solvents, household chemicals and computers and parts.

..if you think that Julia “Butterfly” Hill should have been Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for the two years she tree-sat in Luna.

..if you always cheer for the Indians in the old westerns—and you still regularly want to defend native peoples.

..if you watched 3 people on your block die of the same rare disease and begin to study eco justice issues.

..if you use leftover water in glasses from meals to water your houseplants instead of dumping in down the drain.

..if you can describe the difference in mission of Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund and Audubon Society.

..if you struggle with the issue of living sustainably in a consumer world.

..if you’ve held a child in your arms as you read about degraded air and water quality and whispered, “How can we do this to you?”

..if your favorite “good clothes” came off the Final Clearance rack at Goodwill.

..if you’ve ever asked a loved one to save their bath water so you can use it next, knowing aquatic life downstream need the next tub full more than you do.

..if you’ve read about sustainability successes Kerala, Curitiba, and Gaviotos and thought: "Why can't we do this in more communities?"

..if your jewelry collection is made mostly from rocks, string and dried mushrooms.   

..if you shopped your entire Christmas list while only buying things from groups that are committed to Earth restoration.

..if your friends can recite by heart your speech about the dangers of pesticides to children.

..if you’ve ever saved all your dryer lint to stuff a pillow.

..if you hang wet clothes all over the house, rather than use the dryer, because besides saving power it humidifies your dry winter house.

..if you’ve ever called the hotel desk and asked them to leave the same sheets on the bed  for the 4 days you’ll be in the room.

..if you’ve ever stood in your backyard in the rain in your skivvies laughing at how good it felt.

..if you wretch every time you hear the word disposable.

..if you compost because you know that  “a rind is a terrible thing to waste.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why Women Should Vote

Standing with the Courageous at Seneca Falls, NY   Women's Rights National Historical Park
In less than four years, we in the US will celebrate the centennial of women winning the right to vote. I wish I had been able to ask my grandmothers what they felt the first time they could cast their votes in 1920. Since first reading the biographies of our American suffragists, I have been fascinated by the stories of their willingness to sacrifice great time and trials, many of them working for decades, to push a boulder up a mountain for the right to vote.  Many of them did not live long enough to vote themselves, but wanted women in the future to have rights they were denied.

I hope you will identify or create celebrations in your own communities to honor this glorious marking of significance in some special way.  For inspiration to get started, please see this anonymous blog post below. If you know who should be credited for it, please let me know.

And please study the positions of your candidates and VOTE!

The following photo essay appeared several years ago, without authorship credit attached.  It is still timely.  How far have we come since these photographs?  

Blessings and EarthPeace, Joyce

*Other recommended films and resources can be found following the essay.


This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.  Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

(Lucy Burns)

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

(Dora Lewis)

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

(Alice Paul)

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because- -why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn. ' The right to vote', she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse.  Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for ‘insanity.'

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.

We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women.

History is being made.

Films and video:
Iron-Jawed Angels, HBO films
The Suffragette Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep
Forward Into Light, Inez Millholland martyr suffragist, new film http://inezmilholland.org/
Standing on the Shoulders of Courageous Women music video:
               YouTube StandingontheShoulders

The Perfect 36, Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage  the dramatic story of Tennessee’s struggle to ratify the 19th Amendment, reaching the required number of states for women’s suffrage to become federal law.   Book and video  www.theperfect36.com

Websites for Centennial events and resources:
National Women’s History Project,   www.NWHP.org  for lots of information and great resources, including for Women’s Equality Day

Women's Rights National Historical Park