MY MUSIC

Litany album cover.jpg
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Every song worth writing, for me, has its beginning in silence, in stillness, in meditation, in prayer. I have never been able to write a song that did not have its beginning in this way. “Litany” began to emerge in the silence of an Everyday Zen Women’s retreat in January of 2017. Among the silence and stillness, the sufferings of our world seemed particularly poignant. This song emerged out of that deepened awareness. “Litany” acknowledges some of those sufferings and is a cry for mercy.

 

Lyrics are my own. The song remembers the image of the Syrian toddler, who drowned as his family sought refuge on distant shores. The song remembers, by name, in the form of a true litany, Black men and women who have died violently, futilely, and unspeakably in our country, and who continue to die. It remembers the silencing of the voices of women throughout the ages, prompted by that  moment on the Senate floor when Senator Elizabeth Warren was asked to sit and to silence her voice, but “she persisted.” It remembers the suffering of our earth, the plight of immigrants, and specifically alludes to the DACA recipients in our country. Finally, in the final verse, the song calls upon the Kannon Bodhisattva, she “who hears the cries of the world, with eyes upon her arms,” and who searches the world for suffering. May this be a song of healing.

 

Laura Comyns joins me on guitar harmony and vocal harmony.

Doug Harman joins me on cello.

Photography: Michael Ecton (www.winecountryphoto.com)

Lamento album cover.jpg
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“Lamento” is a song of compassion and was inspired by stories I heard of those attempting to cross our border and seek refuge. Lyrics are my own. Remembered are the father and daughter who drowned in desperation, attempting to cross our border. The second verse remembers the young girl, who died of sepsis before she could receive needed medical attention. Verse three remembers a story I was told by Sister Norma Pimentel one morning as we sat together at breakfast at Mercy Center in Burlingame. Verse four is a cry of hope. Each of these, and the countless others they represent, is depicted as they were in life and depicted beautifully in the art of Phil McDonel. Also depicted are the children separated from their parents, grandparents or other unrecognized family members at our border. Walls and cages and rhetoric do not change hearts; they constrict hearts. It is my hope that music, art and poetry, and kind words do change and expand our hearts. We know that these children and their families rest in the glorious and merciful robes of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We know that the Kannon Bodhisattva, who hears the cries of the world, with eyes upon her arms, hears their cry, sees their suffering and leans towards and embraces them.

 

Laura Comyns joins me on guitar harmony and vocal harmony.

Doug Harman joins me on cello.

Cover art: Phil McDonel (phillipmcdonel.com)

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“Like a Watered Garden”

 

I began to write “Like a Watered Garden” at Redwoods Monastery in Whitethorn when I was there for a retreat. The words of this song are adapted from Jeremiah 31, which we had been listening to all week. Throughout those days, I found myself moving more deeply into the words, steeping in them. I found them relevant to our time and deeply moving. 

 

Laura Comyns joins me on guitar harmony and vocal harmony.

Doug Harman joins me on cello.

Photography: Michael Ecton (www.winecountryphoto.com)

My House Being Now All Still single cove
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“My House Being Now All Still”

 

Words are adapted from the poetry of John of the Cross, 16th century Spanish mystic, and Carmelite. 

 

Laura Comyns joins me on guitar harmony and vocal harmony.

Doug Harman joins me on cello.

Photography: Michael Ecton (www.winecountryphoto.com)

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 Also available on iTunes Store under "My Whole House" and "Johna Peterson"

“My Whole House” is an album of original, contemplative songs. It was produced in 2005. Lyrics are my own, adapted from biblical scriptures, especially the Hebrew Scriptures, or from the writings of the mystics. I sing and play guitar and mandolin. Helen Marie Gilsdorf, RSM, sings vocal harmony. Cindy Kaye, RSM, plays viola da gamba, and Piotr Synowiecki plays flute. Recording engineer was Aaron Peterson of Fluxcapacity Productions. Mixed and mastered by Blair Hardman of Zone Music in Cotati, CA. Michael Ecton provided photography. (www.winecountryphoto.com) All songs composed by Johna Peterson. Lyrics by Johna or as noted.

1. And That Is Why

Words adapted from Hosea 2

2. Come Dance With Me

Words adapted from the poetry of the Sufi Master, Hafiz

3. Come Sweet Love: Lyrics by Johna Peterson

4. In This Place of Silence: Lyrics by Johna Peterson

5. Hear, O God

Words adapted from Isaiah 43

6. Late Have I Loved You

Words adapted from Augustine of Hippo

7. Like Some Icon: Lyrics by Johna Peterson

8. And God Will Bandage All Our Wounds
Words adapted from Hosea 6

9. My Soul Thirsts

Words adapted from Psalm 63

10. My Whole House: Lyrics by Johna Peterson, with allusion to John 12

11. Returning: Lyrics byJohna Peterson

12. Praises of Mechtilde

Words adapted from the poetry of Mechtilde of Magdeburg

13. Ten Thousand Mercies: Lyrics by Johna Peterson

14. When The Clear Night Comes

Words adapted from Synesius of Cyrene

15. Song of Julian

Words adapted from Julian of Norwich

Comfort of My Wilderness cover .jpg
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 Also available on iTunes Store under "Comfort Of My Wilderness" and "Johna Peterson"

“Comfort of My Wilderness” is an album of original, contemplative songs. It was produced in 2012. Lyrics are my own, adapted from biblical scriptures, especially the Hebrew Scriptures, or from the writings of the mystics. I sing and play guitar and mandolin. Kathleen Nelson sings vocal harmony. Doug Harman plays cello. Rita Thies plays flute, alto and bass flute, and saxophone. Cindy Kaye plays piano and Laura Simpson plays harp. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Blair Hardman of Zone Recording in Cotati, CA. Michael Ecton provided photography. (www.winecountryphoto.com) All songs composed by Johna Peterson. Lyrics by Johna or as noted.

1. Comfort of My Wilderness

Words adapted from William of Saint Thierry

2. Prayer for the Good of All

Words adapted from Aelred of Rievaulx
 

3. Mother of Compassion (Song of Catherine)

Words of the verses adapted from Psalm 16 and the Suscipe of Catherine McAuley

Words of Refrain: Johna Peterson

4. Preghiera (Prayer)

Words adapted from Francis of Assisi

5. Give Us the Light

Words adapted from Catherine of Siena

6. Movement of My Heart

Words adapted from Bernard of Clairvaux

7. Song of Mary of Magdala

Words adapted from The Song of Songs

8. Cleft of the Rock

Words adapted from Exodus and Johna Peterson

9. So Is My Soul

Words adapted from Psalm 131

10. Una Dolce Canzone (A Sweet Song)

Words of verses adapted from Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Words of Refrain: Johna Peterson

11. God With You Always

Words adapted from Teresa of Avila

12. Your Dawning Brightness

Words adapted from Baruch and Isaiah

13. Benedetta (Blessed)

Words adapted from the last words (Le Sue Ultime Parole) of Claire of Assisi

14. Hymn of Beatrice

Words adapted from Beatrice of Nazareth