Old Timey Tuesdays!* This Little Light of Mine

Written in 1920 by Avis Burgeson Christiansen and Harry Dixon Loes, "This Little Light of Mine" became a Sunday School standard.  I still remember the hand gestures and the piercing little kid "NO!" in regards to hiding our "light" under a bushel. Its simple message that became a part of the Civil Rights movement in the 50's and 60's, a standard during the folk revival via Pete Seeger and others, as well as an anthem post-9/11. 

Today, although my Sunday School days are very much in the past, "This Little Light of Mine" has remained with me and now feels far greater than the sum of its parts.  As I prepared this piece, I kept thinking of the Indigo Girls song, "Hammer and a Nail," which served as the soundtrack of the summer before I left for college.

My life is part of the global life
I found myself becoming more immobile
when I think a little girl in the world
can’t do anything.
A distant nation my community
street person my responsibility
if I have a care in the world
I have a gift to bring.
— Indigo Girls, "Hammer and a Nail"

Inspired by the Indigo Girls and their "Power of Two", I wanted to collaborate with fellow She's Folks member and one my very best friends, Khaki Pixley, on this because it felt important for two "little girls in the world" to share this piece.

The folk music I grew up with was about love, peace and light.  As much as I love cowboy songs, sea shanties and murder ballads, folk is at its most powerful when it's protesting injustice or uniting people in song or lighting a candle in the darkness.   

I find strength in pieces like this.  I believe in choosing love over fear.  Life is not a zero sum game.   I want to live in a world where everyone's "little light" can shine brightly. We have a responsibility to light each other's candles and keep them burning.  Folk music teaches us that while specific circumstances may change, the good fight is always the same.  

There is something special about a simple song everyone either knows or can learn quickly. 
It means we can sing it loudly together. 

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
— Albus Dumbledore (J.K. Rowling)

Thanks for watching and come see us live at Steppenwolf Theatre Company's new Lookout Theatre, 1700 N Halsted, August 25 & 26! Tickets are on sale now. http://www.steppenwolf.org/Plays-Ev…/productions/index.aspx…

Got an old timey tune you love? We'd love to hear about it! Share in the comments below. Who knows? We may even give it the She's Folks spin on a future Old Timey Tuesday!

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*On Old Timey Tuesdays we feature old North American folk, bluegrass, country, blues, ballads, and work songs we love. Some we grew up singin'. Some we've discovered along the way. These songs don't appear in our live shows. But we love them too much not to play them. We hope you love them too.
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Elizabeth Morgan