Residence: Washington, DC & Northampton, MA (college)
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/17/2018
Primary Language: English
My friend Razi went to a Quaker summer camp in Virginia called Shiloh Quaker Camp for several years as a kid. She learned a number of folk songs with Quaker themes as a camper there. The following is a recording of Razi singing one of these songs, along with the lyrics. She doesn’t remember what the song is called, so I’m referring to it by the first line.
Love the life you live with all your
Heart and all your soul and all your
Mind and love all human-
Kind as you would (clap) love yourself!
Love the life you
Live with all your
Heart and all your
Soul and mind to (clap) let your love flow!
We’ve got all our lives to live
We’ve got all our hearts to give
We’ve got love inside our souls
And it will make us whole!
This song celebrates Quaker values that non-Quakers can appreciate as well. It is optimistic and cheerful, and makes no specific reference to God or religion, so it can be embraced as a secular folk song. Quakerism is a particularly open religion in terms of its acceptance of other religions, so songs that come out of the tradition can often be sung with the same conviction by people who have to particular affiliation with the religion. Razi is Jewish and agnostic, but she agrees with many of the values taught at Quaker camp, so songs like this one have stuck with her.