Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Activity 4: Freedom Songs

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Laptop computer with CD burner and Internet access
  • An iTunes account or some other online music store that allows you to purchase music and burn it to CDs
  • Blank CDs for all participants

Preparation for Activity

  • During the previous workshop or by email before this workshop, ask participants to think of a song they like that is about freedom or liberation. It can come from any genre. Pick out a song for yourself as well. Ask participants to email or call you ahead of time to let you know what song they have picked.
  • If participants choose songs from a limited range of musical genres, consider adding a couple of songs from the following list: Arrested Development – “Revolution” from Classic Masters; Ben Harper – “Better Way” from Both Sides of the Gun; Public Enemy – “Fight the Power” from the Do the Right Thing soundtrack; Sweet Honey in the Rock – “Beatitudes” from Live at Carnegie Hall; Midnight Oil – “Beds Are Burning” from 20,000 Watts R.S.L.; Dixie Chicks – “Not Ready to Make Nice” from Taking the Long Way and Fugazi – “Suggestion” from 13 Songs.
  • If you collect the songs before the workshop, download and burn them to CDs. Make sure you have one for each participant, with extras for visitors or newcomers. If you are purchasing songs from an online music site, you may need to contact your religious educator to authorize the cost.

Description of Activity

Youth explore the theme of freedom and liberation through music. The thirty-minute time estimate may be low; it will take approximately five minutes per participant.

Point out that people have expressed their deepest desires for freedom through music for a long time. Many of today's gospel songs were originally sung by enslaved Africans; many folk songs were originally sung by laborers; and anti-war songs were sung by protesters of the Vietnam War.

Remind them of the songs that they have picked. Tell them that you made a CD of all the songs for each of them. Explain that after the group listens to each song, the person who selected that song will have two or three minutes to share what they think the song is about. When you have listened to all the songs, lead a discussion using the following reflection questions:

  • What did the songs have in common?
  • What were the different musical genres that you heard?
  • Did different genres of music talk about different types of freedom?
  • What do you think the song that you chose says about who you are?
  • What other art forms counter oppression? How do they do this? Think about some less obvious art forms like cartoons or fashion.