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This page lists Ecopella's repertoire in alphabetic order and provides a brief description of each song. Click on a song title to display its lyrics. Some songs have video clips or short audio excerpts available and these are marked with 'click for audio' or 'click for video'.

Visit the CD page for information about our albums - An Organism Called Earth and Songs In The Key Of Green.

Words & Music: Deb Jones, 2015

We're indebted to Deb, director of the Solidarity Choir for sharing this important song with us. She writes: "Solidarity Choir often find ourselves singing first at gigs, and I like to acknowledge the traditional owners. I’d often off-handedly thought 'we should be singing this'. We already share one indigenous song about land rights with our audiences. The choir were on the lookout for a song that gave voice to how we as non-indigenous Australians feel about what’s been going on. So I decided it was time I gave the Acknowledgement a shot. It’s an acknowledgement and a promise, really. We acknowledge injustices done in our name to the Aboriginal people of this country, and we will step up and speak out."

Across The Hills
Words & Melody: Leon Rosselson, 1963
Arranged: Christina Mimmocchi & Miguel Heatwole, 2000

Nuclear war: the ultimate environmental catastrophe. We hear a dialogue about the menace posed by nuclear weapons. Some would prefer not to acknowledge its existence. Our arrangement features strong dynamic contrasts to illustrate the urgency of the alarm raised by the sopranos and altos and the insanely reassuring calm offered by the tenors and basses. These roles are switched as the song nears its end and all voices reach an uneasy accomodation with the threat.

Melody: 'ASIO' by John Dengate
Words: Miguel Heatwole, 2015
Click for audio

Standing outside the offices of Australia's dirtiest energy company the idea struck Miguel that his late lamented friend John's scurrilous song ASIO could well be pressed into service against these notorious polluters. Miguel had already arranged John's song for the Solidarity Choir and it only needed rewording.

Words: James Rado & Gerome Ragni, 1967
Melody: Galt MacDermot, 1967
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2000

From 'Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical' of the late 1960s, this song jibes at our society's production of airborne toxins. Ecopella does not perform nude - except at the Nariel Creek Folk Festival!

All The Wild Wonders
Words: Words: Elizabeth Honey, 2001
Music: Sue Johnson, 2001

We've long loved this song from the a cappella quintet Coco's Lunch. We were absolutely thrilled to sing it with Sue Johnson and her choir Living Out Loud during our 2019 tour to Melbourne.

Ambore Medley
Words & Melodies: Traditional Bondna (Papua Niu Gini)
Arranged: Jean-Anne Jones, 1995, & Miguel Heatwole, 1997

This medley of songs comes from the Sepik River region of Papua Niu Gini and was brought to Australia in 1995 by Henrik Ason, a member of the Raunisi Theatre Group in Wewak. His visit was part of a campaign called 'Big Bush Bugarup' exposing the depredations of the logging industry that threaten Papua Niu Gini's forest heritage. The songs were collected from the Bondna people living in the mountains 'half an hour's walk from where the road ends', and arranged by Raunisi. Henrik taught Ambore and Pe Pe Pe Pelesimo to the Solidarity Choir in Sydney, and Emo Ki Ki Mo to the Combined Unions Choir in Brisbane. Solidarity Choir members Jean Anne Jones and Miguel Heatwole wrote additional harmonies.

Ambore is about parents who have been successful in gathering food from the forest returning to their village and their children. The steady increase in volume is intended to depict the growing excitement at their approach. Pe Pe Pe Pelesimo, a song handed down through several generations of Bondna elders, reminds us how transient our lives are compared with those of ancient forests - 'we are not here for a long time'. Emo Ki Ki Mo finishes the medley on a celebratory note, expressing the joy of people who live in harmony with their forest home. (Anyone who can help us with a literal translation or correct our errors, is warmly invited to contact us!)

Words & Melody: Lyle Sayer, 1984
Arranged: Emery Schubert, 2000

Medical modelling suggests that the number of deaths in Australia from mesothelioma will reach a peak between 2014 and 2021. Emery Schubert's wonderfully expressive arrangement of this song contains some very fine original passages.

Blue And Emerald 
Words & Music: Miguel Heatwole, 2013
Click for audio

A tribute to the Australian Greens expressing admiration for the personal qualities of its activists. We fear for our planet, but take comfort from each other and from our victories.

Bonny Portmore
Words: Anonymous Irish, c. 1750
Melody: Anonymous Scottish, c. 1745
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2007

War has always been bad for the environment. 250 years ago people in Ireland were singing about the loss of their forests - cut down to deny shelter to rebels and to provide the Royal Navy with timber.

Come Away With Me
Words & Music: Tony Eardley, 1999
Click for audio

Tony started to write a love song but somehow it became about his feelings for the environment as well. Ecopella members have been known to weep on stage during this song.

Co-operation Reigns
Paul Spencer, 1997
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2000

"Almost every day we score a small, emotional victory against the colonisation of our life essentials and, now and then, we organise co-operatively and effectively and achieve something momentous or structural.

Hence this song, to the tune of a fantastically hopeful song about emigrating from Tipperary to Sydney during the gold rush."   - Paul Spencer.

Co-operation certainly reigns among choirs. This ingenious work is
enthusiastically sung by both the Solidarity Choir and Ecopella.

Councillor Chambers
Words & Melody: John Flecker Ross, 1987
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2009

Chambers is a composite character, and his nefarious activities reported in this song are taken from actual events. First performed when John and Miguel were in the Born Again Pagans the song has made a fairly comfortable, but still energetic, transition from rock and roll to choral music.

Denial Tango
Words & Melody: Men with Day Jobs - Stafford Sanders, Rod Crundwell and Kim Constable, 2011
Arranged: Bernard Carney, 2011
Click for video

We were thrilled to be offered this song by Stafford, and have it join the other tangos and climate denial spoofs in our setlists. A big highlight for us was singing it with the authors on stage at the 2015 Peoples Climate March.

Words: Annie Close and Miguel Heatwole 2015
Music: Miguel Heatwole, 2015

One of the most powerful things that we can do for the future is to stop financing its destruction and move our money to banks or super funds that don't invest in the fossil fuel industry. As more and more people and institutions concerned about catastrophic climate change divest from coal and oil, the large energy corporations begin to feel pressure to support renewables.


Drip Drop
Words & Melody: Margaret Bradford, 1998
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 1998
Click for audio

Sydney songwriter Margaret Bradford wraps some very practical advice about household water conservation in a lively and humorous musical package. Miguel's jazzy choral arrangement makes the most of the onomatopoeic possibilities.

Earth Day 
Words & Music: Miguel Heatwole, 2013

Originally written to celebrate Earth Day in April 2013, this song's popularity with the choir required us to redefine its meaning so we could sing it all year 'round. It now looks forward to the day when the planet may celebrate the triumph of sunlit good sense over the poisonous shadows of coal and uranium.

Earthly Love 
Words & Music: Miguel Heatwole, 2015
Click for audio

A hymn celebrating the bond shared by all people who take action for the planet, whether they've met personally or not.

Energy March
Words: Cathy Rytmeister 2010
Music: Miguel Heatwole, 2011

An anthem Cathy designed for us to sing when marching at events like Walk Against Warming.

Eroded Hills
Words: Judith Wright, 1950
Music: Christina Mimmocchi, 2003

Judith Wright's stark description of the New England Tablelands of Northern NSW reminds us that clearing trees for agriculture was the precursor to the region's problem with Eucalypt dieback.

Paul Spencer, 2000
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2014

The subject of this song is never far from us, but neither are the friendly arms we need to deal with it.

Five Hundred Years
Words & Melody: Peter Klein, 2002
Arranged: Patrick Harte, 2004

This song was inspired by the builders of a 16th century church in England. They had the foresight to plant an oak nearby so that the building's huge central beam could be replaced in the distant future. Five centuries later the church was destroyed by fire and rebuilt according to plan.

Words & Melody: Sting, 1987
Arranged: Christina Mimmocchi, 2001

Not only is our environment fragile, so are the human beings who defend it and each other. Sting wrote this moving tribute to Ben Linder an American aid worker who, together with Sergio Hernández and Pablo Rosales, was murdered by United States funded mercenaries - as were many thousands of Nicaraguan civilians during the Reagan years.

Green Like Me
Words & Melody: Paul Spencer, 1996
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 1999
Click for audio

Don't we all know someone who paints themselves a very pale shade of green? This song is hilarious!

He's Gotta Go
Paul Spencer, 2014
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2014
Click for audio

Thanks to musician Lindsay Pollack's songwriting competition on Facebook, and the encouragement it gave to Paul, we had an amusing tool that we hoped would come in handy at the next Federal election. We still occasionally sing it in the past tense so that we might still savour Paul's wit.

I Feel Like Going On
Words: Eleanor Bellstokes
Music: Andrea Sonny Woods
Click for audio

Some of us first learned this beautiful statement of resolve by performing it in our sister organisation the Solidarity Choir. Its simple message is applicable to many struggles, and Ecopella has had plenty of opportunity to sing it in our communities.

Ice Tears
Words: Cath Laudine, 2005-2006
Music: Miguel Heatwole, 2005
Click for audio

As the tundra thaws it releases methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas, which further contributes to climate change by exponentially increasing the rate of global warming. We should be 'listening and taking heed.'

Land Of Light
Words & Melody: Roy Gullane, 1986
Arranged: Terry Clinton, 1999

A song of hope from Scotland's Tannahil Weavers arranged by our own Terry Clinton

Last Leviathan
Words & Melody: Andy Barnes, 1983
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2009

Since the 1980s when this song was written some whale species have increased their numbers under the protection of an international ban on hunting them. We consider it worthwhile to keep singing it for a number of reasons - the ban is routinely defied by Japanese whalers, the killing of whales is an unnecessary cruelty, and the song is so beautiful it makes our altos cry.

Let There Be Peace
Words & Music: Christina Mimmocchi, 2015

"Writing this song was my small personal way of dealing with what i see in the news every day.  War and its glorification, abuse of refugees, the death penalty, climate change … you know the deal (Terrorists! Ebola! What they put in Coca Cola!)"

Let's Pretend
Words: Geoff Francis, 2011
Music: Peter Hicks, 2011
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2013

Sometimes it feels like it would be nice to do as this song cheekily suggests. One would have plenty (of the wrong sort) of company if one did!

Click for youtube

Listen Deep To The Land
Words & Melody: Dallas De Brabander, 2016
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2016

Listen Deep to the Land was inspired by the words of Aboriginal writer Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann who describes deep listening, "dadirri", as "quiet, still awareness ... and the waiting." The song came to Dallas as she walked in the magnificent Morton National Park near her home in Bundanoon.

Living In One World
Words & Music: Jules Gibb & Faith Watson, 2001

Some of us learned this song from Jules and the Manchester Community Choir while touring England with the Solidarity Choir in 2001. It's one we're fond of teaching at festivals and encouraging our audiences to join in with.

Machines Are Closing In
Words & Melody: Paul Spencer, 1997
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2006
Click for audio

This song commemorates a battle for old growth forest in which its author took part. An interesting feature of the arrangement is that in Paul's original song what are now the flute and cello parts were simultaneously picked on guitar and used as accompaniment to the verses. Rather a feat of polyrhythmic coordination!

Make Some Music
Words: Paul Spencer, 1996.
Melody: Traditional Irish, Maggie May

A celebration of direct action for anyone tired of writing letters "that a junior clerk can place upon a shelf."

Message From Mother Earth
Words & Melody: Frankie Armstrong, 1990
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 1998

Beautiful music lamenting the harm done to our planet. "Remember, I give you birth, remember Mother Earth"

Murray Darling
Words & Melody: Clark Gormley, 2005
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2010

When Clark was asked by Cath Laudine (See Ice Tears) to write a song about the troubled Murray Darling river, he responded with his trademark nerdy off-beat sense of humour. We love it!

Murrumbidgee Water
Words & Melody: John Warner, 1998
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2006

This comes from John Warner's prodigious song-cycle Yarri Of Wiradjuri recreating the history of Gundagai's catastrophic flood in 1854. The indigenous Wiradjuri first warned the settlers and, after their advice was ignored, then rescued many of them. This song however deals with the river itself, viewed from the Wiradjuri's perspective.

My Kyoto
Words & Music: Miguel Heatwole, 2006
Click for audio

Miguel realises that his environmentally motivated concern with the minutiae of daily life sets him apart from billions of his fellow beings, but passionately wishes this were not so. Will such behaviours one day become mainstream?

Newell Highway
Words & Music: John Warner, 1985
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2013

This song celebrates the Warrumbungle Ranges in inland NSW.  John first heard the tune, C.H.H. Parry's melody for the hymn 'Repton,' in his earliest childhood as a theme to a BBC radio programme, and adapted it from that memory.

Ode To Soil
Words & Melody: Paul Spencer, 2000
Arranged: Terry Clinton, 2002

This is the one dirty song in our repertoire. One has to admire the ecological understanding that leads a poet to exalt the dirt beneath our feet!

Of Trees and Humankind
Words & Melody: Wendy Joseph, 1982
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 1997
Click for audio

A passionate view of the impact on forests and indigenous people made by brutal invaders in Europe and Australia, rendered in a sophisticated choral format. Our sister organisation, the Solidarity Choir made a beautiful recording of it also.

Oil On Snow
Words & Music: Brian Jonathon, 2015

Inspired by oil drilling in the Arctic. Miguel was struck by the strong poetry and melody of this song while he was recording Brian's solo album. An intricate choral arrangment soon followed.

Organism Called Earth
Words & Music: Paul Spencer, 1999

Paul's manifesto is a sonic tapestry, each rhythmic thread dedicated to the earth and its millions of creatures.

The People Are Scratching
Words: Ernie Marrs, Harold Martin, 1963
Melody: Pete Seeger, 1963
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2002

What happens when pesticides are introduced into a finely balanced ecology? Remember that the rabbits in this song are American!

Words & Melody: Tom Lehrer, 1965
Arranged: Wayne Joiner & Miguel Heatwole, 2002

A 1960s classic from one of the USA's most gifted satirists. Laugh 'til you cough! Then see below for his other song We Will All Go Together When We Go.

Words & Music: Miguel Heatwole, 2003
Click for audio

In the weeks preceding the US invasion of Iraq a mood of restless tension prevailed among those who could see the evil being precipitated.

Roads, Traffic And Authority
Words & Music: Paul Spencer, 1997

A humorous and clever dig at those authorities who've decided that more roads are what we crave.

Shannon Rise (The)
Words & Melody: Phyl Lobl, 1987
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2002
Click for audio

Since the early 1920s, whenever the Snowflake Caddis Fly completed its larval stage and the new adults would rise from Tasmania's Shannon River they produced the internationally popular trout-fishing phenomenon from which this song gets its title. In 1967, water from the Great Lake which had fed the Shannon was diverted to a hydroelectric project and the Shannon Rise ended. Five years later, and without public consultation, Lake Pedder was flooded by the Tasmanian government in an act of unparalleled environmental vandalism. A more positive outcome underlies verse three, which concerns the Cataract Gorge near Launceston, successfully rescued by wilderness activists.

Sleep Well
Words: Nigel Gray, 1981
Melody: Leon Rosselson, 1981
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 1998

A chilling anti-uranium lullaby.

Stand Fast
Words & Music: Miguel Heatwole, 1998
Click for audio

Countering an individual's despair at confronting "a putrid world's decay". Comfort comes with collective action.

Take Me There
Words & Melody: Paul Spencer, 2010
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2010

Our most vehement opponents seem to live on a different planet to us, and apparently aren't entirely comfortable there. Perhaps we could organise a swap?

Two Wheel Tango
Words & Melody: Marie-Lynn Hammond, 1994
Arranged: Greg Furlong, 1999
Choral adaptation & additional lyrics: Miguel Heatwole, 2009

Just when we were worrying that our repertoire had too many heavy songs in it, Miguel brought this one back from a trip to Canada! They have slightly different slang over there, but we trust that Australians will realise what we don't mean.

Unity (Raise Your Banners)
Words & Melody: John Tams, 2000
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2015

This rousing anthem was recorded, appropriately, by uniting Ecopella and the Solidarity Choir. Both choirs get a good feeling from singing it.  Another powerful version of it can be found on Miguel's website.

Universe's Daughter
Words & Melody: Fay White, 1989
Arranged: Tom Bridges, 1998

A solemn tribute to our world's ancient and fragile beauty.

Unnecessary Things
Words & Melody: Annie Kennedy, 2004
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2014

Melbourne songwriter Annie Kennedy once sang this moving piece to Miguel at the Nariel Creek Folk Festival and, although it took a few years to get to it, he was very pleased to arrange it for the choir and sing it back to her, again at Nariel Creek, in 2015

Vegetables From Hell
Words: Geoff Francis, 2002
Melody: Peter Hicks, 2002
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2003
Click for audio

We used to think this song was funny until one of us read an article and discovered that human genes really were being put into food!

We Will All Go Together When We Go
Words & Melody: Tom Lehrer, 1959
Arranged: Deb Jones, 2018

It's hard to think of a worse environmental catastrophe than a nuclear war. For sixty years this song has invited folk to laugh in the face of danger.

Words & Music: Miguel Heatwole, 2006

Composed at 3am for added authenticity, Miguel's argument is that many of us (himself included) could do a little more to help the environment movement and relieve some of the pressure felt by fully committed activists.

When Coal Seam Gas Was New
Words: John Spencer & Paul Spencer, 2012
Tune: Traditional English, When Jones's Ale Was New, c. 1594

A succinct, come-all-ye musical description of the impact of coal seam gas mining on the land and people it degrades. The original song is over 400 years old. We sincerely hope that the new words Paul has given it will have no such longevity, but soon be out of date!

Whisper On The Waves
Words & Melody: Kaye Osborn, 2007
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2008

Kaye, from our alto section, describes her very first song as being 'about one of my saddest sadnesses.' In it she displays not only a fine musical and poetic sensibility, but also a deep understanding of the crisis that scientific research is revealing. This song will be on our third album, some years from now.

Wings Of A Seabird
Words & Melody: Nicholas Carlile, 2001
Music: Emery Schubert, 2003
Click for audio

Being a marine biologist whose passion is the preservation of seabirds, it was little surprise that Nicholas brought us a song on that subject. Emery accepted the job of arranging it and little more was heard for two years. Nicholas would occasionally leave messages on Emery's answering machine consisting only of recorded seabird calls. When the completed score was delivered to the choir we could see how such an intricate and exciting piece of music had taken so long to create. It would also take some time to learn, interrupted as we were by the emigration of key members from our Sydney branch, and the formation of new branches. Four years later (with the professional assistance of the Sydney Lyric Strings who provided us with an exquisite guide track) the work finally made it to disk, and was premiered live at the Illawarra Folk Festival in 2008. Whew! But oh, so worth the effort!

Wolli Creek
Words & Melody: Sue Gee, 2014
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2015

For songwriter Sue Gee joining Ecopella was an inspiration to take up her pen and load it with green ink! This song celebrates a victory - the conservation of some rare urban bushland - and will be useful for us in battles to come.

You Won't Be Fracking Long

Originally The Laughing Song by George W Johnson, c. 1895
Words: Marie Walsh, adapted by Catharine Percy Huskisson
Verse 2: adapted by Cathy Rytmeister, 2018

A delightful Knitting Nana - who claimed to be the only Welsh person on the planet who can't sing - handed Miguel a copy of this song at an anti-coal seam gas demo. Easy to learn, lively and fun it soon became a favourite! Catharine Percy Huskisson is a pseudonym for members of the Liverpool Socialist Singers. The choir rehearses at the junction of three streets bearing those names.

You're Needed Now

Words & Melody: Dallas De Brabander, 2015
Arranged: Miguel Heatwole, 2016

After the People's Climate March in November 2015, Dallas was disappointed to hear so many people say how they really wanted to come but they had family events or other amusements to attend: birthday parties, kids performances, outings, shows, etc.  Sometimes it is important to do what is right for the planet rather than bend to the immediate wishes of family and friends. This song is a call to action for all who say they really care about family and their future.



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