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News FLASH! "Obama (Start Believing Again)" Song and Video is a finalist for the Air America Obama Ad Contest! PLEASE VOTE!


"Obama (Start Believing Again)"

“We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.” — William Butler Yeats

Welcome to the Songs of Conscience Website. I'm Mark Simos, a songwriter, tunesmith, fiddler, guitar accompanist, music teacher and 'modal philosopher'—also a concerned citizen working for change in this country.

I'm currently an Assistant Professor in the Songwriting Department at Berklee College of Music. This site reflects my activities as a private citizen. Happily, though, I have found a number of fellow faculty, staff and students at Berklee who are strongly committed to exploring the intersection of songwriting craft and social action. In the future I hope to be able to do more work within the institutional framework at Berklee. Stay tuned!

You can find out more about me and my music here.

I established this site in the interval between the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the Kerry campaign in 2004. My goal was to create a forum for exploring the intersection of music and songwriting craft with social action and activism. As a musician and writer sourced in various traditional folk music styles, I had a particular interest in that aspect as well. You can read more about the mission of this site here. If you're interested in these topics, I invite you to join the Songs of Conscience "community of inquiry." Read about my approach to downloads on this site here.

Thank you for visiting the Songs of Conscience website. — Mark Simos

Past Song Downloads:

Songs for Rachel Corrie

(Ancient History!) Songs of Conscience Virtual Album #1
(Special 2004 Pre-Election Edition)


Songs of Conscience Downloads

One goal of the Songs of Conscience site is to explore the different varieties of social action songs, what works best for what kinds of audiences and context, and so forth. Toward this end, we periodically release "Virtual Albums" which are samplers or compilations of a few songs addressing a common theme, usually from different, complementary perspectives. Most often the songs will reflect a clearly progressive point of view but using different slants, songwriterly techniques and tone of voice. They will often be "short shelf life" songs, to use a term from one of my songwriting heroes, Tom Paxton.

These are for the most part unabashedly "partisan" songs; I make no pretense of this being an objective, impartial, or balanced website. Some of the songs may be mine (Mark Simos, Songs of Conscience site-steward); some may be co-written songs. And some may be songs penned by my close friend, the reclusive and mysterious songwriter Ishmael Moongoose.

Sorry: for the present, I just don't have the resources to offer lots of other songs from other writers here (even some of my heroes and sheroes), but I will include pointers to their sites when so moved on the Links page.

In the interests of getting these songs out quickly, we release them on this site not as physical recordings on CD, but as free MP3 downloads (via a conditional Creative Commons license); we encourage you to download the songs. We also post lyrics as downloadable PDF files, and as more crudely formatted HTML pages; and, when available, chord charts to encourage musicians and singers to take up the songs if they grab the ear and heart.

If you enjoy the songs you find on this site, please spread the word to others you think will appreciate them. For now, this means sending email to your own selected list of recipients (I suggest blind copying if the list is at all large) and pointing them to this site, so that anyone downloading these MP3s will do so from this site. And encourage people to join the Songs of Conscience mailing list, to be part of what we hope will be an ongoing and evolving conversation about how to ally the artistic path of the songwriter with the goals of peace and social justice.




Songs of Conscience ( is a social action initiative of Mark Simos.
All Webpage content 2004 Mark Simos. All Rights Reserved.