Emotive wedding or funeral songs, a playful naming song…whatever tracks you choose for your ceremony, music is a key component because it can evoke our connection with joy, love, mourning and loss, stillness and movement – the very essence of life and death.
Stephen Hough (concert pianist and blogger) writes in his article, Music unlocks the key to their souls, ‘(Music) is about celebrating, to a level approaching ecstasy, the deepest human longings. At moments of acute joy or sorrow, men and women throughout history have sung or reached for musical instruments to express the inexpressible. When minds are taut with emotional entanglement, there seems to be an inner compulsive instinct to release and harness this tension through the measured vibrations in the air we call music.’
A few songs to get you started.
And more possible choices here
Some funeral songs chosen by family members for ceremonies I have conducted.
Guests arrived in the early morning twilight for the funeral of a local surfer. We gathered in the chill morning and just before the sun rose over the horizon and the light started to glimmer on the ocean, Morning of the Earth started to play.
A woman from a nearby spiritual community died and her body was placed in a handmade coffin in her home and for five days a vigil was held. At one of the smaller ceremonies her family and friends opened the ceremony with their version of the Gayatri Mantra.
The ceremony we held for a beloved grandma, who had some great tributes offered by her grandchildren, had the closing song of her favourite TV show, Neighbours. Everyone was laughing and singing it as we left the chapel. Apparently, she very rarely missed an episode.
Breaths by Sweet Honey in the Rock is an acapella song. The first time I heard this was at the funeral ceremony for a young woman. A group of her friends sang as we sat under a leafy tree in autumn, her coffin adorned with drawings and flowers. The stillness after they finished singing was palpable.
We gathered on the foreshores overlooking the ocean for a funeral ceremony for a local woman, only a few months older than myself. Her wicker casket, decorated with a handmade floral arrangement, was in place behind a large wooden bench that had LOVE etched in large lettering. This woman loved life. She loved her family and had many friends around the world who sent in their tributes. As they carried the coffin to the van the family organised the final song to be, Happy by Pharrell Williams.
For ideas, stories and real life ceremonies that will inspire you to create your special ceremonies visit my bookstore here.