Lo Yisa Goy
SATB (div.) a cappella
The DC-based, all-star professional choir The Thirteen, under the direction of Matthew Robertson, performs Stacy Garrop's "Lo Yisa Goy." Recorded live and unedited on October 14, 2017 at St. Columba's Church, Washington, D.C.
Traditional Jewish song
Chicago a cappella
Theodore Presser Company
Coming in 2021.
Lo yisa goy el goy cherev
Lo yilm’du od milchama.
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks:
nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
But they shall sit every man under his vine
and under his fig tree;
and none shall make them afraid:
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.
- Micah 4:3-4, King James Version of the Bible
When former Artistic Director Jonathan Miller asked me to write two pieces for Chicago a cappella, I knew right away that I wanted to choose two songs from my own past. The first piece, Hava Nagila, is a celebratory song full of joy. I wanted the second work to contrast the first, and to this end, I chose the somber text of Lo Yisa Goy, a prayer for peace. I remember singing this song as a young child in Hebrew school and synagogue, always in context (at least in my congregation) of praying for the state of Israel. I think we’re at a particular point in which people in a lot of different nations could use such a prayer. For this reason, you’ll hear the words in both Hebrew and English. In my research of previous versions of the melody, I discovered three variants for the tune, all of which I have incorporated into my piece.