Light Comes In

by Ali Dineen

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I wrote these songs over the course of two years. Writing them brought solace in times of pain and uncertainty, and singing them is an act of joy, self-love and resistance.
Music is the medium through which I seek to understand myself and history. My music is influenced by folk traditions from the United States, the oldest of which were created by black people suffering under slavery and terrible oppression. Those songs were sung for healing and they were a mode of resistance, used to pass along messages of escape and freedom in lyrics that would go unnoticed by the oppressors. We can hear the legacies of these traditions in much of the music we love today, and see the legacies of that violence in police brutality, mass incarceration, deep-seated racism and the systemic and violent oppression of poor people and people of color in the USA. Resistance continues in the Black Lives Matter movement and countless related efforts toward dismantling white supremacy and on behalf of justice, freedom, compassion and peace.
I seek to resist all that deadens, shames and destroys and I seek to create life, connection and joy. I seek truth. These songs taught me to never look away from suffering, for healing and change can only come from awareness and accountability. They taught me to trust myself. They taught me that conscious art, celebration and community are essential forms of resistance against the white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy in which we are living. And they taught me something that I learn anew all the time: the only barriers between any of us are the ones we choose to construct and uphold.
If this music moves you, seek healing for yourself and your community. Seek knowledge about systemic oppression and your role in it. Find solidarity, community and joy, and resist division, isolation, silence and fear. Listen to yourself and to one another.
May you have ease, wellness, compassion and joy.


released December 4, 2016

Ali Dineen: voice, piano, guitar, harmonium
Hannah Sassoon: cello (1, 2, 4), voice (5)
Eleonore Weill: voice (2, 4), double-flute (4)
Jake Schulman-Ment: violin (1, 4)
Jeff Reinhardt: clarinet (1, 4)
Richie Barshay: percussion (1, 2, 4)
Joanna Sternberg:!bass (1, 4, 7)
Ilusha Tsinadze: guitar (2)

All songs except 5 and 8 written by Ali Dineen
1, 2, 4, 5 collectively arranged by Ali Dineen, Hannah Sassoon and Jake Schulman-Ment

Co-produced by Ali Dineen and Danny Blume
Recorded by Danny Blume at The Isokon in Woodstock, NY and Cowboy Technical in Brooklyn, NY.
Mixed by Danny Blume at The Hidden Quarry in Woodstock, NY.
Mastered by Joe Lambert.

Copyright 2016


all rights reserved



Ali Dineen Brooklyn, New York

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Track Name: Prayer
for the land beneath our shoes
and the river running through
for the life that we don’t see
and the life we don’t believe

may you grow in every crack that we have made
in the violence of our trying to create
a world we own and design
teach us how to forget what’s yours and his and hers and mine
and to work with what is good

for those lost in depth of night
and without a flame or light
for those with no place that’s safe
and whose laugh now hides away

may you know in your bones
being lost is to be seeking something more
and we only know joy from having known pain
some wiser folks have said they are the same
some wiser folks have said they are the same

for the angry and the cruel
and those blinded by their fear
for those who can’t stand the pain
of the harm they’ve done for their own gain

may you find a way to break
all the walls you’ve built for ignorance’s sake
learn to look at all the life you’ve undone
and begin to learn from everyone
begin to learn from everyone

this a prayer for you and i
that we find our way
towards a home where all can live
strong and free and safe

and as the pitcher cries and speaks
so do man and woman too, for water work and peace
may we do what we know, and know what we love
and love all that lives and live how we believe to be true and good
Track Name: Go, Stay
go when your feet are restless
go when you hear a faraway song
heed what your bones are saying
don’t wait for your saint to come

this is what it means to love
let go of all your distant hopes
and hold onto what you wish you’d never had
and never been

stay when your feet are restless
stay when every bone tells you to run
look where the skin is broken
and wait till the light comes in


no sleep tonight
you wake before the light of dawn
open and emptying
fill me with anything

go where your name is spoken
stay when you feel like standing still
no one can guide your footsteps
so walk where you will

this is what it means to love
let go of all your distant hopes
and hold onto what you wish you’d never had
and never been
to all those things you wish you'd never seen
Track Name: What You Know
It was winter when you
told your life you were leaving it
for warmer countries
And as you moved thru your days
with the spring coming on
you were tearing up roots, thinking soon you'd be gone
Somewhere else there were
miracles, carnivals, and a space in the air
only your bones could fill
And right here only emptiness, tragedy
cold days and nights
all the light far away, in some imagined place

We've got to start looking at what we pretend we cant see
it will save us, or it will break us
and you've got to stop telling yourself what you don't know
cuz you know what you know

Spring it brought madness and chaos and song
the wind growing warm, the days growing long
I watched the world blow through your mind
we stooped low to pick up what it left behind
Scattered stories of our country's childhood,
though we're deaf to their sounds
We're trying to stand up straight
but we don't know what's weighing us down


It was summer when we
learned that you might be leaving us
for warmer country
And as we moved through our days, cold wind blowing through
we were speaking our prayers for the keeping of you
Who said speak out or suffocate on slow-burning lies
I say we steer this wayward ship home till the last light dies


And nowhere is without rainfall, nowhere is without drought
nowhere is without madness, nowhere is without doubt
nowhere without cruelty, nowhere without war
nowhere without sunrise when the candle won't burn anymore
Resting in the dawn, waking to yourself
breath filling our lungs with the same air as everyone else's and
we'll find our way home
when we find out what we know
Track Name: Golden Light
i looked at my lover, constant as the sun
i wade in my waters, changing as the tides
we woke in the morning and asked ourselves,
does the sun see its light on the leaves outside?
he turned to me and said
when you burn that bright it isn't a matter of distance or sight

golden light upon your skin
that's the peace that i take my rest in
while around my bones and out in the street
blows a brutal wind, a storm i fear to meet

don't go alone, there's no fun in that
be still, you will find the ground beneath

can we light a fire bright enough to burn
through our darkest hours as we take our turn
doubting everything that we've ever done?
will we cease to grow before we have begun?

don't go alone, though they'll tell you it is right
you'll find in time nothing good gets left behind
and we're only passing time
there's no peace within your mind
and what's here is all you'll find, all you'll find
Track Name: Riversong
i’ve been down the river, i’ve been to the sea
i’ve been to the depths of the waters in me

the waters in me like the waters in you
are old as the earth, are pulled by the moon

the moon with its glow borrowed off of the sun
moves cold light on land, moves rivers as they run

they run over land made fallow by man
a man who's made fallow by his own hands

the hands that can grow are the same that can kill
but the hands that do wrong are a human's hands still

those killing hands are those loving hands
are my hands are your hands
hands that can harm are hands that can heal
hands that can give are hands that can steal
what do you do now that you know
the shackles are still steel the walls are still stone?
don't look away, don't look away

and I’ve watched a prison go up stone by stone
it’s watching a grave be filled bone by bone

bones that have danced and bones that stood strong
bones inside bodies with lungs full of song

songs that can guide us unto ourselves
before they are silenced by movements of hell

and hell isn't red hot it's cold and it's hard
it's gunshots and courtooms,
it’s lies and it’s laws
it’s sentences and stipulations, institutions and explanations
it’s a cage and a word

i’ve been down the river, i’ve been to the sea
i’ve been to the depths of the waters in me
Track Name: Drinkin' That Wine
well if my sister she calls for me
tell her death done silenced me
i oughta been in heaven ten thousand years
drinkin' of the wine,
drinkin' that wine, drinking' that wine
i oughta been in heaven ten thousand years
drinkin' of the wine
let's call the roll, let's call the roll
i oughta been in heaven ten thousand years
drinkin' of the wine

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