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Let There Be Joy

An invocation of Irish pirate and clan chieftain Gráinne Ní Mhaille/Grace O'Malley (c. 1530-c. 1603), one of my personal icons of Female Fury and Freedom...

Words and Music © 1994 by Karen I. Olsen

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There is no one who can hold you down,
No one can shut you out;
No allowing, no forbidding you
To dance or sing or shout.

For in answer to our call,
It is Gráinne who arrives:
Let there be joy joy joy joy,
Sing aloud for joy!

I open up the cellars,
And the attics where you're kept;
The Night-Mare came to fright your foes
And jailers, while you slept...

I open up the padded rooms,
Unlock the doors of flats;
Unlock your screaming voices,
Help me conjure storms and cats...
(Chorus)

I untie the hair of all of you
To call up wind and rain,
For to crumble every bastion
Of those who cause you pain...

Hold up your heads and flash your eyes;
No looking to the ground.
Call up your wisdom and your strength,
And race through every town...
(Chorus)

They have food and wealth aplenty,
And it's wasted in their hoards.
Let us harness power sources
Which they only can afford...

Your arms and legs uncover,
And let all your self be free.
Oh, let them learn our language,
And their shameful history...
(Chorus)

Now, Gráinne rides your cities,
Fills the towns with awful cries;
And all who ruled by tyranny
Show terror in their eyes...

Oh, let them come with weapons,
For her glance will lay them low;
And we who fed their power
Now will lead their overthrow!
(Chorus)

There is no one who can hold you down,
No one can shut you out;
No allowing, no forbidding you
To dance or sing or shout.

For in answer to our song,
It is Gráinne who arrives:
Let there be joy joy joy joy,
Sing aloud for joy!
(Repeat last chorus)

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