Videos

VOTING USA
GET OUT AND VOTE!!!


VOTING USA
from Brian Wilson’s “Surfin’ USA”/Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen”
new words by Hali Hammer

If everybody was voting – across the USA
Then everybody’d be using – their voice to have a say
You’ll see us casting our ballots – in person or by mail
We’re fighting voter suppression – we can’t afford to fail

All kinds of organizations (All across the USA)
– With one goal in mind (All across the USA)
To have a fair election (All across the USA)
No Voter Left Behind (All across the USA)
We’ve got a plan for November (All across the USA)
The choice is oh so clear (All along the way)
Make sure everyone’s voting – Election crunch is here

Some are writing postcards – while others check the rolls
To make sure all are registered – before they hit the polls
Fighting polling place closures – each vote must be ensured
Against foreign tampering – and Trumped-up postal fraud

Swing Left/Vote Forward (All across the USA)
N double A CP (All across the USA)
Election Protection (All across the USA)
And the DNC (All across the USA)
Poll Heroes are helping (All across the USA)
And Indivisible groups (All across the USA)
The Reclaim Our Vote Campaign (ooh)
We’re sending out the troops!

Break
Everybody is voting – Voting USA

We’re heading for High Noon – it’s coming up real soon
Walking precincts, phone banking – the moment’s opportune
All over the country – our message spreads today
Everybody is voting – Voting USA

We’re working 24/7 (All across the USA)
We’re gonna turn things blue (All across the USA)
Stacey Abrams with Fair Fight (All across the USA)
The cast of Hamilton too! (All across the USA)
All states in the union (All across the USA)
All ages have their say (All along the way)

Everybody is voting – Voting USA
Everybody is voting – Voting USA

CALIFORNIA’S BURNING
I originally wrote this in 2008, recorded it as audio and sent it out with a plea to donate to fire victims. This fire season has been the worst in CA history so I made a video to urge folks to donate. Here it is:

CALIFORNIA’S BURNING (Hali Hammer)
©2008
California’s burning – The sky’s a smoky gray
California’s burning – Don’t go outside to play
California’s burning – With fires flaring near, it’s hard to breathe the air
California’s burning

California’s burning – The sun peeks through the haze
California’s burning – Don’t see it much these days
California’s burning – It sets a molten red, I wish that it were gold instead
Cause California’s burning

Insatiable fires send birds flying from their wires
So many of them, how did they begin?
Like a scene from ancient Rome, folks evacuating homes
While ashes boldly ride upon the wind

California’s burning – It’s burning up the trees
California’s burning – That brings you to your knees
California’s burning – The animals have fled their cozy forest beds
While California’s burning

Insatiable fires send birds flying from their wires
So many of them, how did they begin?
Like a scene from ancient Rome, folks evacuating homes
While ashes boldly ride upon the wind

California’s burning – Hot embers fill the sky
California’s burning – They bring tears to my eyes
California’s burning – It makes you want to cry with everything so dry
California’s burning – California’s burning – California’s burning

WHEN THIS IS OVER
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, people started asking me to write a song about it. I really didn’t want to go there, and there were so many good parodies coming out, I didn’t feel the need to write one. But then when I was going to sleep one night, I thought about writing a song about when it was over. Here it is:

WHEN THIS IS OVER (Hali Hammer)

When this is over – We’ll take the masks off of our faces
And we’ll go to favorite places like we did before
When this is over – We’ll see friends that we’ve missed so much
And fill the need for human touch once more

When this is over – The skies will be much clearer
Sacred life will seem much dearer
And Mother Earth – at long last – has had a chance to breathe
When this is over – No Covid-19 news to start our day
No more wonderin’ how long will it be this way
It will be – a most welcome relief
(Instrumental verse)
When this is over – Will we appreciate the little things
In our lives and live for the joys they bring
And treasure what good people do
When this is over – we will recover from the strife
We will cherish precious life, and mourn for those who didn’t make it through

When this is over –
Our houses will be much cleaner
Our gardens will be much greener
With time to do – things we had no time to do

When this is over – Will we still make time to slow it down
And to meditate on what we have found
In the end, that’s up to you

When this is over –
We’ll see friends that we’ve missed so much
And fill the need for human touch one more

LADY LIBERTY SPEAKS

When I graduated 6th grade in the Bronx, our field trip was to the Statue of Liberty, and we learned the song, “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor” for our graduation song. I’ve always loved the Lady of the Harbor and what she stands for. So here’s my new song, “Lady Liberty Speaks”. Please share.

LADY LIBERTY SPEAKS
(words by Hali Hammer, music by Hali Hammer and Randy Berge)

I have stood here in this harbor – near one hundred forty years
Torch hoisted high, with an expression proud
And I’ve seen generations disembark upon this land
In awe, as though they’d stepped on hallowed ground

Affixed upon my podium there is a poem that reads
– “Give me your tired, your poor”
Ah, but I’ve been feeling poorly, and tired I have grown
To see what now is happening on my shore

I really cannot understand the way that things have changed
How immigrants are treated in this way
I wish the masses could be huddled ‘neath the green folds of my skirt
To breathe a little easier for a day

(Instrumental verse)

And yes, there has been bigotry, too often there is cruelty
Now rising exponentially in our land of opportunity
This explosion, now, of hatred, this propulsion now of scorn
Makes me feel the copper crown I wear might as well be made of thorns

So I cry out for the children abused and scared and caged
And weep to think of how we’ve fallen so far the wrong way
White power and no gun control, divisions, primal fears
While salt spray rising from the sea helps camouflage my tears
While salt spray rising from the sea helps camouflage my tears
Oooooh…


ALL OF ME

This is a parody of the old standard “All of Me”, called “All of Me (Health Care for All). I wrote it after attending a forum on Single Payer Health Care, but had already been involved with this issue. Enjoy!

After publishing the “We Will Rise Together” video about the Berkeley event I got feedback from several people that the chorus was so universal, they’d love to hear a new version as well. So here it is, hope you like it! If you look for the last one, it’s now called “We Will Rise Together: Berkeley”.

WE WILL RISE TOGETHER (Hali Hammer)
We will rise together, we’ll be wise together
We will watch the winter turn into the spring together
We’ll hold hands together, we will band together
We’ll breathe in and out as one and we will rise, rise, rise
Our hearts will pound as one and we will rise, rise, rise

Millions rose upon their feet as they marched into the street
To stir their souls and make their voices heard
In our cities large and small, young and old answer the call
To show the world the best side of America.
(CHORUS)

We must not yield to fear, we must keep our message clear
We must rise above the darkness to where our love lights beam
– We must protect the rights of all within our sight
Remember most of us are here because an immigrant had a dream
(CHORUS)

Now all across the country, folks are talking to each other
As we share the need for caring so that we can carry on
We never will give in, so collectively we’ll win
For the darkest night becomes the new light of a breaking dawn

We will rise together, we’ll be wise together
We will watch the winter turn into the spring together
We’ll hold hands together, we will band together
We’ll breathe in and out as one and we will rise, rise, rise
Our hearts will pound as one and we will rise, rise, rise


WE WILL RISE TOGETHER: BERKELEY (Hali Hammer)
We will rise together, we’ll be wise together
We will watch the winter turn into the spring together
We’ll hold hands together, we will band together
We’ll breathe in and out as one and we will rise, rise, rise
Our hearts will pound as one and we will rise, rise, rise

Hundreds rose while it was dark to meet in Civic Center Park
To soothe their souls and quell collective fears
As the sky grew light above we shared food and sighs and hugs
In the Greatest Little City in America (CHORUS)

We met with our compatriots to listen to the speakers
Talk of climbing from the darkness to where our love lights beam
We joined hands and circled round and we made a joyous sound
As we formed a human peace sign, spanning the entire green
(CHORUS)

So then we reassembled, with hope for Berkeley’s future
And we shared the need for caring so that we could carry on
When Gary took the stage 300 sang along
The song was Leonard Cohen’s, the new words were his own
And when the chorus came around, the crowd rang out as one:
“Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelu-u”

We will rise together, we’ll be wise together
We will watch the winter turn into the spring together
We’ll hold hands together, we will band together
We’ll breathe in and out as one and we will rise, rise, rise
Our hearts will pound as one and we will rise, rise, rise

ReSisters sing Bernard Gilbert’s “The Candidate’s Song”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7vnWnbVQ9g

I’m Not Gone – for Jon Fromer (Hali Hammer)
When you’re worn out from the marches,
from the pace you’ve kept so long
All the steps that you have taken – still the road goes on & on
Sing and play to lift the spirit – Pour your soul into the song
I will be there singing with you –
I’m not gone, no I’m not gone

When the workers get so weary standing on the picket line
When they need a song to cheer them and to help them pass the time
Sing as one to honor labor, sing for strength to carry on
I will be there singing with you –
I’m not gone, no I’m not gone

– When you play a song with passion
– When you sing one from the heart
– When you spur folks into action
– When you do more than your part
– When you work for peace and justice
– When you dare to take a stand
– When you join hands for a union
I’ll be there upon the wind

When you can’t escape the feeling that you have to do what’s right
That the world, it needs our healing
That the world, it needs our light
When you have to go the distance
When you have to right those wrongs
I will be there singing with you –
I’m not gone, no I’m not gone
I’m not gone, no I’m not gone – I’m not gone, no I’m not gone

On April 22, 2012, people gathered all across the nation (plus groups in Spain, Costa Rica, and Kazakhstan) to sing Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land in the same key (D) and at the same time (noon Pacific, 1 pm Mountain, 2 pm Central, 3 pm Eastern). Hali Hammer created and organized the project, and received 32 videos for the montage you see here. For full performances of the groups and other information and background about Sing Out for Earth Day, visit this link on the Occupella website: http://www.occupella.org/drupal/?q=sing-out-for-earth-day-videos July 14th was the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birth. Read THE STORY OF SING OUT FOR EARTH DAY by Hali Hammer


Fight the Status Quo

(Tune: Let My People Go, new words by Hali Hammer)

When Egypt was Mubarek’s land (fight the status quo)
Oppressed ones took the upper hand (fight the status quo)

Step up, fight back, stay strong and make a stand
Time to take command (fight the status quo)

The Arab Spring spread far and wide (fight the status quo)
As demonstrations swelled in size (fight the status quo) — Chorus

When Walker undermined their rights (fight the status quo)
Wisconsin workers won the fight (fight the status quo) Chorus

News spread by e-mail, facebook, tweet (fight the status quo)
As people gathered in the street (fight the status quo) Chorus

We work for rights, for what is fair (fight the status quo)
At Occupations everywhere (fight the status quo) Chorus

So now change comes before our eyes (fight the status quo)
This happens when we organize! (fight the status quo) Chorus


I Refuse to Believe

(words & music by Hali Hammer)

I refuse to believe that the light which we share is dimming
I refuse to believe that the good which we do will fail
I refuse to believe that the righteous will be defeated
Or our vitality be depleted – I refuse to believe

I refuse to believe that our strides are inconsequential
I refuse to believe that our energies will be drained
I refuse to believe even in our bleakest moment
That our force is less than potent – I refuse to believe

For I believe we are connected to a universal power
That cannot be held back for very long
And even when the forces of darkness are all around us
We will prevail if we don’t curtail our song

I refuse to believe that the light which we share is dimming
I refuse to believe that the good which we do will fail
I refuse to believe that the righteous will be defeated
Or our vitality be depleted – I refuse to believe (Instrumental)

‘Cause I believe that we are rising with others who are surmising
That caring and compassion are the key
And we are large in numbers
And we are strong in spirit
And we will not betray our humanity

I refuse to believe that our strides are inconsequential
I refuse to believe that our energies will be drained
I refuse to believe even in our bleakest moment
That our force is less than potent – I refuse to believe
I refuse to believe, I refuse to believe – I refuse to believe


Interesting Times

(words and music by Hali Hammer)

The banks have been bailed out thanks to politician’s clout
While foreclosures grow and folks can’t pay their rent
The class that’s in the middle is playing second fiddle
To the wealthiest, who are the 1%
We’ve seen the Arab Spring and the overthrow of kings
Wisconsin rallies weren’t far behind
Now we are on our feet as we Occupy Wall Street
We are living in interesting times

We’re living in interesting times, We’re living in interesting times
Some say it is a curse but we could change the universe
Cause we’re living in interesting times

A fiscal surplus had us confident when Clinton left as president
Eight years of Bush and that went down the drain
Yes, we had some cash before we waged interminable war
And the deficit became our ball and chain
With this broken infrastructure something’s bound to rupture
Are we modern Rome in our decline?
But rather than concede defeat we take it to the street
We are living in interesting times (Chorus)

Unemployment everywhere, corporations just don’t care
They’ve moved most of the factories overseas
As the job market has flown, rising debts from student loans
Have graduates upset and ill at ease
CEOs work to figure out how to dismantle union clout
But some day there will be payback for their crimes
Cause 99%, you see, is an extreme majority
We want democracy, and that’s the bottom line!

The Mayan Prophesy is not a death decree
Omens point to moving forward toward the light
But we need collective strength to effect a global change
Then we’ll truly live in interesting times (Chorus)

Here’s the video I did for Kate Harrison’s (successful!) re-election to Berkeley City Council:

Vote for Kate!
Original words/music Maceo Pinkard / William Tracey / Doris Tauber. New lyrics by Hali Hammer

She’s working hard for you,
You know what you should do
Vote for Kate!
She is a crackerjack who’s gonna have your back
Vote for Kate!

Espousing fair housing and rights for all
Reformer, what’s more, she
Answers every email and every call

A lifetime activist, and conservationist
Vote for Kate!
She is the People’s candidate!

She’s proven! Get movin’!
City Council problems, well
She’s the solution

Kate is Impressive and
Kate is Progressive so
Vote for Kate!

MORE GOOD PEOPLE

MORE GOOD PEOPLE (Hali Hammer)
There are more good people, there are more good people
There are more good people in this world
They want respect and dignity, they are the same as you & me
Yes, there are more good people in this world

Sayeed applies a brush stroke to the watercolor woman,
A beauty weaving cloth upon her loom
His daughter walks home from the school that she attends a mile from home,
His wife prepares the dinner in their room

They pray over their food for peace, they pray that they don’t hear the boom of war
become companion to their meal
They do not blame, they do not shame, they just want some tranquility
They’re just good people living in this world. (Chorus)

Rosa kicks off her tired shoes, turns on the Spanish evening news
Makes sure Abuela’s comfortable and fed
Her husband often comes home late – he gardens for a large estate
And kisses children sleeping in their beds
Most money flies across the Rio Grande to relatives who need a helping hand
They pray that they don’t get sent back, they pray La Migra won’t attack
They’re just good people living in this world, (Instrumental)

No matter where you travel to, from Ketchikan to Kathmandu
You’ll find good people wanting the same thing
To keep their loved ones safe and fed, to see their children get ahead
To have some friends, to talk and laugh and sing (Chorus)
Yes, there are more good people in this world.

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