Sunday Morning Music: Wendeyaho

This is based on a Native American hymn traditionally sung to the four directions in the morning by the women of the community. The harmonization, arrangement, and orchestrations are my own, as well as the video performance. I’ve done several settings–orchestra, solo piano, and choir–the piano solo (with some soft string pads) is presented here.

“Wendeyaho” is often described as a “Cherokee Morning Song.” However discussion of it on the Internet indicates that the word, “Wendeyaho,” is not contemporary Cherokee, although it may have its origins in an ancient form of the language. The translation I was able to piece together from various internet sources is as follows:

Translation – We n’ de ya ho
Freely translated: “A we n'” (I am),
“de” (of),
“Yauh” –the– (Great Spirit),
“Ho” (it is so).

Feel free to download the 2 page sheet music PDF from THIS LINK so you can play it at home, yourself. You need to do some tricky shifting of hands to cover all the parts in the last two variations, but it’s doable, I promise. If you don’t want to download anything, you can follow along on this graphic below.

The choir at Lakewood UCC, St. Petersburg, FL, where I’m the music director, enjoys singing my choral arrangement of Wendeyaho. It’s very simple and effective. You can see it HERE.

Author: Hilton Kean Jones

Composer and performer, retired college music professor, lyricist.

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