Hands are Knockin’

Voicing: SATB
Accompaniment: Piano and Drums
Text:  Kyle Pederson

Text/Translation:

Naftahhu athhanana, Alhamdulillah  
Naftahhu qulubana, Alhamdulillah   
Namuddu aydeeyana, Alhamdulillah

We open our minds, thanks to God (Alleluia)
We open our hearts, thanks to God (Alleluia)
We reach out our hands, thanks to God (Alleluia)

Additional text:

Hands are Knockin’
Brother, will you let them in?
Sister, will you let them in?

Notes: A Blessing of the Hands ceremony prior to the start of the school year proved to be a moving experience bringing to light the incredible power of our hands—hands that can heal, support, comfort, and give, and also hands that can just as easily hurt or push away. It is my hope that this piece might make those who experience it become more deeply committed to using their hands to offer hope and wholeness in the world.

About the piece: Hands are Knockin' was born from a collaborative effort with the Kindred Chamber Choir and their director, Melanie Brink, and staff members of the The American International School of Muscat (TAISM). The piece was commissioned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the school's opening, and was premiered at the 16th annual TAISM Festival of Choirs in the Sultanate of Oman. Because the school and festival are nestled in the heart of the Middle East in Oman, where Arabic is the official language, it seemed appropriate to incorporate several beautiful Arabic phrases throughout. Alhamdulillah is a very common expression in Arabic and, like alleluia, used frequently to verbalize joy or gratitude in many situations. The juxtaposition of English and Arabic text throughout the piece is intended to reinforce the universality of the message—an invitation to all to open our minds, hearts and hands to each other.