Virtual Sing Out Strong: DeColonized Voices Program Book & Lyrics

Virtual world premiere

Sing Out Strong: DeColonized Voices Program Cover
Click or touch the image above for the program book

May 13, 2020

Watch the performance
Read the program book *
Download printable lyrics

Read our ZOOM Tips & Tricks

*In a previous version, we mistakenly attributed “A Terrible Nightmare in Hong Kong” to Elena Ruehr instead of composer Mike von der Nahmer. We regret the error and offer our sincerest apologies.



Text by Geovanna de Andrade, adapted by Cerise Lim Jacobs
Music by Stephanie Henry

My story hits my chest and cuts my heart
It’s my skin color, my only designation…
I’m invisible before your white eyes
You own me because you found me
But my mom gave me life, she gave me life free
I remember her face
When the palm of our hands touched, for the last time

Why do I stand in this cage with colonial locks, if I breathe the same air?
Air that belongs to my lungs not your pocket
You made me want to leave the lands that breathe life in me
It hurts! My roots are not attached to my veins
No one’s skin is tough enough to endure

If home is a city of fire…
No one would leave home…
Wade throughout oceans of thoughts…
And desperate broken dreams….
Before hearing the sweaty voice in between…
I heard independence but I’m stuck
My skin is still my only designation

Who We Are

Text by Larry Spotted Crow Mann
Music by Daniel Sabzghabaei

We are the Wampum Belt-
Open at both Ends –
Weaving Our Story.

We are the Sacred Drum.
That- Resilient Beat-
Within Mother Earth.

We are the 7th Fire-
Ignited by our past -Carrying the
For our Future.

We are the Cedar Basket,
Sewn from the Roots of the Universe-
Expanding Our Spirit.

We are the Survivors
& Revivers.

The Relations of the Forest
& Educated by the Sun.

We Rise- like the sturdy Green Cornfields,
That Kiss the Cranberry Dawn.

We are the Deep Red Ocean
Flowing within the Arteries
Of Turtle Island.


Text and Music by Jerod Tate

This is the moment. The old ones, they know.
Now I will listen and follow.
Now I know.

Anchonkash, (my heart) is clear.

I can feel them.
They take my hand
and show me.
They hold me,
and carry me home.

(I know.)

I see,
and now I know.
Inki’, Ishki’, chihollo’li’
(Father, Mother, I love you.)

The wind is restless,
like my soul.
Is this the right time?
Am I the right one?

I am breathless.
The air is heavy.
Hear me, mother.
Talk to me, father.

They took a chance so I could be.
They were frightened,
But fate did tell them.

I know I must go.

The Sun is shining!
This is the new beginning.
I’ll show the way to glory.
We’ll sing the joy of home.

My heart has told me that now I must go.
I am now certain, I know.

Now I know.

And now, I know.
I see my home.
I know they see it, too. Ithánali.

Hashi’! Hashi’! (The sun is shining!)


Text by Melody Guerrero
Music by Kui Dong

Where I’m from, they listen to ana gabriel Saturday morning for cleaning.
Where I’m from you wake up, listen to some bachatas and a bunch of traste.
Where I’m from you eat mangu con salami in the morning.
Where I’m from they call you rubia (white and blonde) even tho you are morena (dark skinned with black hair)
Where I’m from girls get shamed by their natural curly hair.
Where I’m from the oldest sister is always like the second mom.
Where I’m from family come first
Where I’m from when it’s raining you go to play outside
Where I’m from my family like to play dominoes under a mata
Where I’m from you learn to dance bachata desde chiquita
Where I’m from you can’t go to sleep until you wash the dishes.
Where I’m from a little girl gets harrassed by family friends.

And even though it is not the best country in the world, I’m glad to be dominican.


Text by Lordorina Hercules
Music by Michele Cheng

I am from the first black independent country, Haiti.
Where every citizen knows The story.

My ancestors fought like hell to bring peace to a country where being black was a sin.
My ancestors fought like hell to assure that their children and the children of their children didn’t have to go through
The whipping,
The shackling,
The beating,
And the raping.

My ancestors fought like hell to end the oppression.
My ancestors fought like hell to erase what a black couldn’t do or be.
A black couldn’t sit at the same table as a white.
A black couldn’t learn how to read or write.
A black couldn’t be a doctor.
A black couldn’t be free.

I am from the first black independent country, Haiti.
Where every citizen knows The story.

My ancestors didn’t have guns, cannonballs or eight thousand men.
But my ancestors did have bows, seashells, and determination.
The determination that they weren’t born to be less than anyone.
The determination that they weren’t born to be slaves.

I am from the first black independent country, Haiti.
Where every citizen knows we are The story.

Congo Song

Text by Chiruza Muhimuzi, adapted by Cerise Lim Jacobs

This is the story of my family and of the Congo
A story told by my grandfather
A story of a lost land, lost people and lost culture

“It was in the morning when we saw the first white men
Everything was new, everything was new
Their food, their culture, and the color
We wanted to know more about them

Their occupation of our land was slow, slow
They renamed our mountains, rivers, lakes, and plants
Even though they all had names
They had a puppet king
Behind the power was the power
The “behind the power” controlled our movements
Our land, our animals, our crops
The power of kings was in their hands
We remain with tears and suffering
In our motherland”

A Colonized Flower

Text by Cerise Lim Jacobs
Music by Elena Ruehr

I’m the world’s largest flower
Three feet wide, fifteen pounds strong
And stinking of carrion to attract my prey
I lived for centuries
In the rainforests of Southeast Asia
Before I was “discovered” on May 19, 1818
By the English colonist, Stamford Raffles
(Though in truth, it was Raffles’ Malay servant
Who brought me to him)

I don’t know my true name
For Raffles named me after himself
“Rafflesia arnoldii”

The colonized have no name
Except what the colonizer gives us
We do not exist
Until we are “discovered” by them

I’m the largest flower in the world
But the world says I exist
Only because Raffles “discovered” me

I am the largest flower in the world
I am a colonized flower

I Was Born in South Vietnam

Text by Vy Le, adapted by Cerise Lim Jacobs
Music by Brian Morales

I was born in South Vietnam
Colonized three times by the North
For one thousand years by China
Sixty-one years by France
Then war with America
What we really need now
Is freedom and happiness
Like the slogan of Vietnam
“Independence, Freedom, Happiness”
I hope that not only Vietnam
But all nations
Can forget past hatreds and discrimination
Life is short


Text and Music by Avik Sarkar

Barishal, Bangladesh during the Partition of India, 1947

It is monsoon when they part,
when the water lilies sprout like tiles,
painting mosaics of rose and jade beneath
my grandmother’s feet. She sings prayers, words
erupting like gasps under her breath.
Stretching her veil up and over, scouring the market,
venerating the rain—sheets of glass, particles
reflecting the sweet limes heaped in pyramids—
she recalls the emerald beads her sister gave her
before her parting, searches her neck for their indent.

She bows to choose a lime as a child
wrenches a lily from the water. Droplets explode,
drench my grandmother’s veil, clasped
to her face, and she drowns in a cry, remembering.
It was monsoon when her sister parted,
wrested from fragile arms.
Up at her the child stares, turns to leave, face streaked
with glassy rain
My grandmother recalls
her sister’s voice—in fragments, remnants
of mosaics—and under her breath she whispers
Come back, come back. But
the lilies float on, apart.

A Terrible Nightmare in Hong Kong

Anonymous Text
Music by Mike von der Nahmer

I cry for you my Hong Kong
Colonized by the British
Then handed over to China
A new and terrifying colonization
The promise of “One Country, Two Systems”
Now exposed as a lie

I weep for you my Hong Kong
For your young people
Shot, gassed, beaten and dead
Bleeding, broken, blinded and dead
Families, friends, and lovers divided
Pitted against each other

I mourn for you my Hong Kong
For the loss of your freedom
To be fearless is a natural born right
But now you’re afraid
As your schools, media, businesses, and banks
Are penetrated by the encroaching Mainland

My heart hurts for your children
Who prefer to die than be colonized
I am proud of their defiance
I want to be buried in Hong Kong
Then I will always be with them

Zoom Concert Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices to Enjoy our Sing Out Strong Concert

Download the Zoom application on your phone or computer for the best experience. 

Step 1: Join the Meeting

  • From a computer or Zoom enabled device, click on the event link you received in your emailed invitation.
  • From the Zoom App: Tap the “Join a Meeting” button within the app. When prompted, enter the Meeting ID.  Tap the “Join” button to proceed.

Step 2: Join Audio

  • From a computer, if you are using the computer’s microphone and speakers, click the “Join by Computer Audio” button. 
  • From the app, it will default to join via device audio.
  • As the host, we will mute you during the introductions and songs.  We’ll unmute you after each song so you can applaud the artists.  Please feel free to cheer us all on!

Step 3: Screen Setup

  • When the singers are screensharing the accompaniment, you will see a green notification along the top of your screen letting you know you are viewing their screen and next to it, a black button that says “View Options.” If you click the “View Options” button you will be able to select “Side By Side Mode” which will put the singer next to the accompanists. You can then adjust how much of the screen each of them occupies by clicking on and sliding the black bar between them. This function enables you to feature the accompanists and the singer with equal prominence.

Step 4: Other Features

  • From a computer, you will see several icons at the bottom of the screen, including “Chat,” “Q&A,” and “Raise Hand.” Use the Chat to talk to the audience and panelists during the event. Q&A will enable you to see what questions have been asked, give them a thumbs up if you have the same question, or ask your own question. We’ll keep this up during the event and also use it during our talkback. We’ll use the Raise Hand feature during the talkback as well!

White Snake Projects and its 2020 programs are supported in part by Mount Holyoke College, and a grant from the Boston Cultural Council and administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.