Can We Get an 'Amen?'

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

In honor of Black History Month, The Choral Mix this week will highlight some of the traditional music of African-American people, as well as important composers who have worked to preserve and honor this music.

When Africans were brought to the United States, there were many possessions they were forbidden to bring, including musical instruments. But their musical and religious traditions, which they carried deep in their hearts, would not be left behind.

During Slavery, they weren't allowed to speak in their native languages in an attempt by slave masters to de-Africanize the African people. In turn, slaves would take traditional songs of their homeland, and replace the original lyrics with bible stories that were taught by the slave owners. Slaves would then in their own minds, redefine the meaning of the stories, as this prevented the owners from knowing what their workers were truly singing about.

While the slave masters only understood these stories in their traditional interpretations, the slaves found a new meaning in these songs, which would become known as Negro spirituals. In the singing of spirituals, slaves found hope for both strength, and freedom from slavery. Gospel music during slavery, with origins in the Negro spiritual, generally gave praise and worship to God. It often employs the use of call and response, a tradition from the ring shout, which has African origins traced back to the West Indies.

Composers such as Adolphus Hailstork, Moses Hogan, and Ulysses S. Kay, who are all featured this week on The Choral Mix, have done much to preserve the traditional music of African-Americans. Additionally we'll hear music by Michael Tippet, and arrangements by Gerre Hancock and Mark Kibble.


Traditional Gospel/Silver Light Gospel Singers(members deceased)/Cedar Rapids Iowa/Art of Field Recording
Don’t You Let Nobody Turn You ‘Round

Traditional Spirituals /Moses Hogan/Moses Hogan Singers/New Orleans/Negro Spirituals

Soon Ah will done with the troubles of the world
My soul’s been anchored in da Lord
Elijah Rock                        

Traditional Spiritual arranged by Adolphus Hailstork/Saint Ignatius Loyola Professional Choir/New York/Wondrous Love
Motherless Child

Michael Tippet/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Brighton Festival Chorus/U.K./A Child of Our Time
Part II

Ulysses S. Kay/Trinity Wall Street(Old recording under Larry King)/New York/Choral Music by 20th century American Composers

Sing Unto the Lord
Like as a Father
O Praise the Lord

Traditional Spiritual arranged by Mark Kibble/Take 6/Nashville/Take 6

Get away Jordan
Traditional Spiritual arranged by Gerre Hancock/Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue under John Scott/New York/American Voices

Comments [6]

James from from Manhattan

Hearing spirituals sung by 'authentic' groups, such as Silver Light and Tuskegee recordings from decades ago is so exciting! So are the wonderful pure-sounding recordings made by the seemingly-unlikely renditions such as those made by choirs of men and boys. Nicholas White's setting of Steal Away is a gem.

Mar. 16 2011 11:41 PM
Michael Meltzer

Totally off the choral subject, Kent, could you do us a tremendous favor, and explain to the programming department who E. Power Biggs was?
Thanks in advance.

Feb. 26 2011 10:23 AM
Gary Ekman from Manhattan NYC

What a fantastic program. I have been listening to Take 6 for decades and how wonderful to hear them on your program. Thanks so much for reflecting Black History Month in your program.

Feb. 26 2011 07:28 AM
Michael Elliot Bacon from Jersey City

Your program was very good, adding depth to the usual fare in such a celebration.
I wonder if you would at some time consider doing a tribute to Calvin Hampton? Michael

Feb. 21 2011 01:08 PM
Liege Motta from Manhattan

Thank you, Kent, for including Take 6!!! Those guys are just awesome. I have been a fan forever.

Feb. 20 2011 11:56 PM
Michael Meltzer

The Ulysses Kay pieces were an ear-opener. He's a composer heard not nearly enough, and worth exploring a lot further.

Feb. 20 2011 10:06 AM

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