Oh Grief! Oh Joy!

The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library

Oh Grief! Oh Joy!

Oh Debbie Nargi-Brown has done it again. Sharing this song in community holds transformative powers… I find again and again Debbie’s songwriting has a particular knack for validating and embracing our shadows while still luring us back into the light. This was a joy to record with Debbie and my Wholehearted Chorus in January, 2020. Enjoy!

Composer & Copyright

Original song copyright Debbie Nargi-Brown.


Recorded with Debbie Nargi-Brown singing and conducting members of Wholehearted Chorus. Rayner Marx on guitar and Chris Gourlay on cajon.


Oh Grief, Oh Joy!
Held in the very rhythm of my beating heart
Oh Grief, Oh Joy!
May you come together so I don’t fall apart

Breathe in, breathe out
Gather your strength
Breathe in, breathe out
Remove all doubt

You are held (x3)
Surrounded, grounded (by Love)* By Love is added at the end of the song

Dig down into your roots
That’s where is all begins
Reach up into the stars
Embrace all that you are

(All these parts can also be layered on top of each other)

Teaching Notes

Coming soon!


Level of teaching speed/ difficulty (1 = very easy, 10 = very challenging)

  • Shana Leck

    I’d love to use this in a worship service, but am looking for copyright information to print along with the words. Can you help me with that?

  • Thank you
    I was introduced to this song by Andrea Wenger in her Centering in Sound series. Listening to it again this morning I am uplifted and inspired to shine my light too.

    The warmth of all the voices in the simple rhythms and melody, along with the powerful lyrics – and then the drumming – enliven me.

    I will be sharing this with other shining lights.

  • Suzy McGowan

    Just revisited this song as California is burning, COVID is raging and so many are suffering and longing for the lives we lead a year ago. This song is such a support. Being reminded to breathe, gather your strength and trust that the grounding love around us will pull us through.

  • Nerida

    Oh thank you o much for this…. I have a choir that I have been taking for 26 years and it is a very special and intimate group of beautiful people. One of our members is about to pass over and because of Covid and other strange forces I haven’t been able to say goodbye to her. I sent her husband a recording she had asked for of us singing which he has been playing to her and as she drifts in and out of consciousness she mouths the words. I have needed something that I could sing myself, and now… the tear are flowing…. I will share this in our strange Covid Zoom meetings which still allow us to sing, and know that I can hold that space for Ingrid with everyone else so again….Thank you, what a gift!

  • Brings me to tears. Very powerful! I will share this with my dancing circle of women! Thank you!

  • Ann Simonton

    Beautiful song Debi and ALL!! xo

  • Elan Loeb

    What are the guitar chords for this? Thank you!

    • Lisa G.

      I’m sorry I don’t have them Elan – try reaching out to Debbie!

    • Sounds like these 2 sections:

      |: G | C | G | D 😐

      G | C | G | C | G | C | G | D |

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