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Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar

The Shambles 21 Mar 05 - 03:07 AM
mad2 21 Mar 05 - 03:24 AM
Flash Company 21 Mar 05 - 05:09 AM
greg stephens 21 Mar 05 - 05:37 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 21 Mar 05 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Michael Morris at work. 21 Mar 05 - 01:40 PM
PoppaGator 21 Mar 05 - 02:09 PM
The Shambles 21 Mar 05 - 02:26 PM
The Shambles 21 Mar 05 - 02:29 PM
The Shambles 21 Mar 05 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,JTT 21 Mar 05 - 03:29 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 21 Mar 05 - 04:12 PM
The Shambles 21 Mar 05 - 04:21 PM
Ebbie 21 Mar 05 - 07:29 PM
Azizi 21 Mar 05 - 08:57 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Mar 05 - 09:29 PM
GUEST 21 Mar 05 - 09:32 PM
The Shambles 22 Mar 05 - 02:01 AM
Big Tim 22 Mar 05 - 02:39 AM
greg stephens 22 Mar 05 - 03:26 AM
JulieF 22 Mar 05 - 04:34 AM
RobbieWilson 22 Mar 05 - 04:52 AM
GUEST 22 Mar 05 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 22 Mar 05 - 05:41 AM
Azizi 22 Mar 05 - 07:53 AM
GUEST 22 Mar 05 - 08:32 AM
Azizi 22 Mar 05 - 09:15 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 22 Mar 05 - 09:47 AM
Azizi 22 Mar 05 - 09:48 AM
The Shambles 22 Mar 05 - 10:32 AM
GUEST 22 Mar 05 - 10:49 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 22 Mar 05 - 10:57 AM
greg stephens 22 Mar 05 - 12:03 PM
Azizi 22 Mar 05 - 12:24 PM
greg stephens 22 Mar 05 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Michael Morris at work. 22 Mar 05 - 12:50 PM
Azizi 22 Mar 05 - 01:17 PM
BB 22 Mar 05 - 03:02 PM
greg stephens 22 Mar 05 - 03:21 PM
GUEST 22 Mar 05 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Michael Morris at 22 Mar 05 - 05:31 PM
greg stephens 22 Mar 05 - 06:08 PM
Azizi 22 Mar 05 - 06:16 PM
The Shambles 22 Mar 05 - 06:27 PM
GUEST 22 Mar 05 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,Michael Morris at work. 22 Mar 05 - 06:33 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Mar 05 - 03:09 AM
The Shambles 23 Mar 05 - 03:46 AM
Azizi 23 Mar 05 - 04:09 AM
GUEST 23 Mar 05 - 04:22 AM
GUEST 23 Mar 05 - 04:23 AM
Big Tim 23 Mar 05 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Fiosrach 23 Mar 05 - 06:38 AM
RobbieWilson 23 Mar 05 - 06:54 AM
RobbieWilson 23 Mar 05 - 07:52 AM
Goose Gander 23 Mar 05 - 10:39 AM
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Desert Dancer 23 Mar 05 - 12:58 PM
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Desert Dancer 23 Mar 05 - 02:17 PM
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Desert Dancer 23 Mar 05 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Michael Morris at work. 23 Mar 05 - 03:51 PM
M.Ted 23 Mar 05 - 05:19 PM
sian, west wales 23 Mar 05 - 05:27 PM
greg stephens 23 Mar 05 - 05:33 PM
Azizi 23 Mar 05 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,petr 23 Mar 05 - 07:44 PM
M.Ted 24 Mar 05 - 12:31 AM
The Shambles 24 Mar 05 - 01:53 AM
Big Tim 24 Mar 05 - 04:15 AM
Azizi 24 Mar 05 - 08:48 AM
Big Tim 24 Mar 05 - 10:59 AM
Azizi 24 Mar 05 - 11:25 AM
greg stephens 24 Mar 05 - 11:37 AM
Azizi 24 Mar 05 - 11:56 AM
Azizi 24 Mar 05 - 11:57 AM
Azizi 24 Mar 05 - 12:03 PM
sian, west wales 24 Mar 05 - 01:07 PM
The Shambles 25 Mar 05 - 03:38 AM
greg stephens 25 Mar 05 - 05:04 AM
Bob the Postman 25 Mar 05 - 01:06 PM
Desert Dancer 29 Mar 05 - 06:00 PM
Desert Dancer 30 Mar 05 - 08:23 PM
Desert Dancer 08 Apr 05 - 01:05 AM
Azizi 08 Apr 05 - 10:28 PM
BB 09 Apr 05 - 07:48 PM
Desert Dancer 09 Apr 05 - 08:07 PM
Azizi 09 Apr 05 - 08:34 PM
Desert Dancer 06 May 05 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,Philippa 12 May 05 - 06:17 AM
Desert Dancer 11 Dec 05 - 10:05 PM
Desert Dancer 19 Dec 05 - 09:51 PM
Goose Gander 12 Jan 06 - 07:45 PM
blind will 26 Mar 06 - 01:31 AM
Azizi 17 May 06 - 07:53 PM
blind will 11 Jul 06 - 09:56 PM
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LadyJean 15 Jul 06 - 12:52 AM
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blind will 17 Jul 06 - 11:41 PM
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blind will 24 Jul 06 - 09:39 PM
blind will 24 Jul 06 - 11:56 PM
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blind will 25 Jul 06 - 08:37 PM
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Subject: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 03:07 AM

The Gospel Truth?

Could the origins of Gospel Music be white? Willie Ruff, Professor of Music at Yale University, believes so. His recent visits to the Free Church communities of the Outer Hebrides have convinced him his musical roots are more Afro Gaelic than Afro American.

Others are less convinced - Anthony Pinn, Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University sees this as an attempt to deny African Americans their influence on American culture; while British actor and playwright Kwame Kwei Armah asks "Why can we not have anything of our own?"

Broadcaster and theologian Dr Robert Beckford travels to Lewis and to the USA to see if there is any credence in the Professor's extraordinary claims that early Scottish emigrant worship profoundly influenced African slaves. He accompanies a group of Psalm singers to rural Alabama where Professor Ruff's theory is put to the test. Does Gospel music really have white ancestry? Or is it a form of intellectualised white supremacy?

Find out on Monday 21 March @ 8.00pm on Channel 4.

The Gospel Truth? is an Eyeline Media production, directed by Christopher Walker and produced by Terry Wolsey © Eyeline Media Ltd 2005

The Gospel Truth? is supported by Scottish Screen through National Lottery funding.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: mad2
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 03:24 AM

will look out for this - sounds interesting. I would have thought that the scots and the africans influenced one another? will wait to see what the doc has to say


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Flash Company
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 05:09 AM

Got this marked down for recording, I'm having a busy time at the moment, and when I sit down at 8.00pm I tend to doze!

FC


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 05:37 AM

I saw an interesting video the other day, advancing the theory that the roots of bluegrass were African and "Celtic". Same sort of stuff, you know the kind of thing, Scots/Irish immigration into the Appalachians, escaping from the wicked English. well, of course everybody influences each other. There is plenty of pentatonic music in the outer Hebrides, and in Tibet for that matter, not to mention Basildon. Personally, i would say that the distinctive features of the Hebridean religious music are a million miles from black gospel. The harmonies of gospel are obviously 3-chord trick NW european rather than African, but certainly not specifically Hebridean. The sonorities are stunningly un-Hebridean, the language obviously not Hebridean, the melodies not Hebridean. So what is left? However, I shall watch the programme with the greatest of interest, and listen to a few gospel recordings, and my treasured Isle of Lewis psalm tape as well, to prepare myself culturally.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 01:10 PM

Greg, I think that the Gaels method of "presenting" may have been adopted by Black gospel singers. This is perhaps what is being referred to.
I grew up with Gaelic presenting, but it would be a stretch to call it music. The Black gospel sure sounds better!
       Sandy


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST,Michael Morris at work.
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 01:40 PM

This is an old debate. George Pullen Jackson argued that black gospel was European in origin, and in turn he was challenged by scholars who insisted it was African-American in origin. To my ears, it clearly is a hybrid form: A New World form derived from Old World antecedents. In that way, it's like most American folk music (unsurprisingly so). The parallels between gospel and some Hebridean forms have been noted more recently by Robert Cantwell in his book on bluegrass, though he argues strongly (and convincingly, I believe) for cross-fertilization between British and African forms in American music. He even uses the dreaded "C" word

I think there is a problem in framing the argument upon a search for ultimate sources. National folk song forms and styles do not exist as discrete entities, and isolating one influence to the exclusion of others is bound to lead to problems.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: PoppaGator
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 02:09 PM

Several weeks ago, I read an article about this specific interaction between a group of African-American gospel singers visiting the Hebrides and their host congregation. It was published in the "Travel" section of the New Orleans Sunday Times-Picayune. I briefly considered posting something about it here at Mudcat, but never got around to it. I'm glad it's coming to light via BBC TV.

I'm not taking a position on how valid the argument might be without hearing the music in question. I hope the BBC documentary finds its way to US TV sometime soon so I can listen and make up my mind.

In general, I think it's obvious that Black gospel, like the blues and all other African-American musical forms, combines European and African influences in some way. If there's something special about this particular Scots/Gaelic style of church singing that is especially evident in Black American gospel, I'd love to hear it.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 02:26 PM

Not BBC TV but Channel 4.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 02:29 PM

http://www.channel4.com/culture/


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 02:33 PM

The Gospel Truth
Writer: Mike Gerber

Unless you're a vinyl junky, the discs you spin on your hi-fi these days are no longer black, yet in a musical sense many probably are. Because if you listen to any jazz, blues, hip-hop, soul, funk, disco, gospel, rock, what's turning you on is strongly rooted in African-American music.

African American culture has also impacted on country and folk music, klezmer, the Broadway show-song, classical composition, Latin American, African and Caribbean music. Not to mention literature, painting, architecture, interior design, the clothes we wear, the way we speak, our way of life.

What though do you mean by African-American music? Think you know? Channel 4's documentary The Gospel Truth might shake any complacent assumptions. It argues that there are strong links between Scottish Presbyterian music and the gospel music heard in Black churches.

We learn that Highland Scots were slave owners in the Southern States of America from 1740s onwards and slaves brought over from west Africa took on some of their owners' cultural and religious practices.

One thing is certain; anyone who contends that there have been important non-Black influences on African-American music can expect to take considerable flak.

Black musicians and pundits often complain, 'the whites stole our music'. Their perception is that white musicians and music business entrepreneurs that often benefited from the music that Black people originated. So the issue of the origins of African-American music is hotly political! The debate was particularly potent in the late 1950s and 1960s when African-Americans were struggling for civil rights, and proudly reclaiming their African roots.

African-American is, by definition, where everybody else fits in. All Americans are, except Native Americans, recent settlers historically speaking. They all brought their music, and much of that too affected the development of African-American music.

Other influences include the music composed by first-generation Jewish-Americans - George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Vincent Youmans, Richard Rogers and others. These songs fed right into jazz as standards on which musicians frequently based their improvisations.

Yet those wonderful songs were themselves emanations from the American 'melting pot' that Inevitably included a heavy debt to African-American influences - ragtime, cakewalk, blues, the black marching-band tradition. Those idioms in turn were melting-pot phenomena.

Some of the best research on this convolutedly complex terrain has been done by a white South African, Peter Van Der Merwe. In his book Origins of Popular Style, he notes: 'For over three and a half centuries Black and white Americans have been living, working and making music together, or at any rate within hollering distance of each other. It would be a miracle if there were not profound musical influence and such influence there undoubtedly was.'

Yes, those Gaelic speaking Highlanders are in there, but so too are Scottish-Irish and the Catholic-Irish and Latinos. So too the French-Louisianan colonials, a powerful factor in the musical development of the 'Creole' blacks.

New Orleans Creoles were relatively privileged compared with most other Black people. Their musicians were often schooled in European classical music. They however also absorbed the rhythmically and tonally thrilling strains coming from their Black culture, along with motley other musical influences. Many key figures in early jazz, like Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton and Freddie Keppard were Creoles.

The debate about the provenance of jazz shows no sign of abating, but what should be beyond dispute, is that a disproportionate number of jazz's greatest practitioners and innovators have been Black.

The blues is one musical form that is unarguably African-American. It is a commonly held misunderstanding to define blues narrowly as 'music of oppression'. Blues music was born out of African-American oppression, certainly, but it often transcends it. Particularly in the urban context - the classic jazz-blues of Bessie Smith, boogie-woogie, rhythm and blues, the belting southern soul music of Ray Charles.

Look beyond the 'oppression' definition and, as Van Der Merwe finds, 'the blues' genealogy includes clear connections to both British and African folk music, as well as the jigs, dance songs, minstrel tunes, and even parlour music'. Many characteristics commonly associated with the blues and other African-American forms are not in themselves unique to Black music. Bent or 'blue' notes, improvisation, vocalised instrumentation, melismatic singing, call-and-response, syncopation, modes, the preponderant minor-key feel - all these can be found in other musical cultures.

What makes African-American music Black? The answer must be that Americans of African descent, by degrees, synthesised, personalised and transformed their multifarious musical influences, some recalled from African cultures, some learned from other Americans. They did this in numerous, cumulative ways - examples being the far greater emphasis on syncopation, the introduction of African-style cross-rhythms and the adaptation of instrumental techniques. Out of all this they originated a succession of distinctively expressive musical idioms, so creatively liberating, so vital that they swept the world and transformed popular culture.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 03:29 PM

If you sail a boat up and down from north Africa along the west coast of Europe you'll encounter variations on the same sound under different names - flamenco, sean-nós, etc. Surely it was a musical tradition that traded its sounds along the roads of the sea?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 04:12 PM

One error should be corrected to start: Most of the Highland Scots were not wealthy slave owners, but exiles who were forced from their homeland. These people were dirt poor and often worked side by side with the slaves, especially in the Carolinas. Culture was no doubt exchanged and also some intermarriage followed. If these descendants had some common ancestors there would have to be cultural bonding as well.
"Presenting" in the churches of the Highland Scots consisted of a leader who would sing or chant in Gaelic one line of a hymn or Psalm. The congregation would then sing the same line in unison and so on until it was finished. This was done because Gaelic Bibles and hymnbooks were scarce and also many of the people were illiterate in their mother tongue. The presenter would be more often chosen because he could read than because he could sing.
   No doubt that among the slaves illiteracy was also very high and this follow the leader format was also adopted. This does not, of course apply to all Black gospel music, but I think you will find that this is the tie being studied.
                   Slainte,
                        Sandy


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 04:21 PM

That is a good point as the sea, sea ports and rivers also were the way all the cultures come together and affect each other- sadly not always out of choice. The sound of the waves would have always been a reminder of the homes - far over the sea - that both cultures did not want to leave and would wish to return to.

The programme was stronger on the roots of how the Scottish musical, religeous and cultural influence came to the new world. It was less strong - I thought - on the many musical influences that the various African cultures brought with them (including drums and stringed banjo type instuments).

It left you with the idea that call and response came from the Gaelic 'lining-out' and was not a already an important part of the African culture. Which looking at Africa now, where this call and response is present in many cutures - I tend to think not to be the case.

However this call and response aspect probably suggests how the scatterered remnants of African culture that came to the new world as slaves would have found this aspect of the Gaelic worship as a familiar element and developed this. Later introducing the syncopated elements missing from the drawn-out 'sean-nós' singing.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 07:29 PM

What a fascinating subject. Thanks for discussing it.

I have a question that will expose my ignorance: The UK has a lot of immigrants. Are they almost all from Jamaica/Haiti/the South Pacific, et al, or does a signifant number come from Africa? My point really is, is their music primarily reflect reggae and calypso and other more convoluted beats rather than what we think of as American Black music like Gospel or jazz?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 08:57 PM

I would have loved to have seen this program. Hopefully, it will eventually be aired in the United States and elsewhere.

I agree with PoppaGator's comment that "In general, I think it's obvious that Black gospel, like the blues and all other African-American musical forms, combines European and African influences in some way." Although I would have written that Black music combines African and European influences instead of the other way around

;O)

I see know reason to doubt that African Americans adopted the practice of "lining" out religious songs from others. It seems to me that a large part of the reason for adopting that practice was the similarity between "lining" [or "presenting" a song as I am reading is the term that Gaelic people used] and the traditional African pattern of call & response. Of course, the fact that both groups had large numbers of people who couldn't read can not be discounted. However, my point is that illiteracy would not have been the ONLY reason that African Americans adopted this practice.*

Considering further the position that similarities in customs influence choices, I offer this quote from Shiela Walker's "African Roots/American Cultures-Africa In The Creation of the Americas" {Lanham, MD; Bowman & Littlefield, 2001; p. 159}:

{Writing about the factors that contributed to the form of Christianity that most African Americans adopted in the eighteen century}.."The Methodist and Baptist denominations were the most successful in conveting African exiles and Afircan-Americans to Christianity. I believe this is true, in large measure, because the religious practices of the then evangelical movements of John and Charles Wesley openly embraced ecstatic expressions of religious fevor. Consequently "speaking in tongues", "fainting", "moving with the shakes"; uncontrollably going into trance like states" were all practices in which white Methodist and Baptist religious celebrants engaged. In other words, religious behavior of the eighteenth century evangelical Methodists and Baptists were very consistent with religous behaviors of eighteenth century West Africans, although the religious ideology was not. This congruence of religous behavior was what anthropologist Melville Heskovits suggest was fertile ground for cultural syncretism to grow."
Olly Wilson 'It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing": The
Relationship Between African and African American Music

end of quote.

* Given the increased literacy among African Americans, the need for a leader to recite a line of a song, and the congregation repeat that line has all but disappeared and so to has the practice of lining. Besides, lining's African "cousin" call & response interfers much less with our {people of African descent's} first love-syncopation.


Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 09:29 PM

"Call and response" (and syncopation) is normal in most cultures, so far as I can tell. Given that so many Scots were involved in slave-owning situations in America and the Caribbean, it would be surprising if there were not a cultural crossover, though I wouldn't care to guess at the details.

Let's not indulge overmuch in the romantic fantasy of the Gaelic-speaking Scot as "victim"; poor people emigrated to the Americas from all over Europe because they had to. They took servants, or slaves, just as soon as they could. The Scots, Highland or Lowland, were no better or worse than everybody else.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 09:32 PM

In an Irish documentary series some years ago, it was postulated that Coptic Christianity was brought to Ireland by traders along the Atlantic coast, and that it was therefore easy for the organised Catholic system to displace the original, non-hierarcical system.
As part of their research, as well as comparing Irish caligraphy and patterns with north-african ones, they took a gaelic singer to a north-african marketplace to perform un-announced and then interviewed locals about the performance. the concensus was that the singer must be from another area because they didn't understand the dialect, but that the music was local.
C.H.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 02:01 AM

The looks on the faces of the American congregation when they were faced with the Gaelic singing - look to be a similar response. Seeing and hearing this in the film - probably says more that the academic opinions of those who were not there or who have not seem the film.

It was a bit sad to see some who could only see this in terms of politics - rather than the musical history it is. Wllie Ruff being dismissed as a child of his time and in favour of integration was not fair. If intergration means everyone getting along, singing together and learning from each other - then I am all for it.

The idea that gospel music is in some way devalued by an influence from the Gaelic connection - and any less Afican in origin is not valid. Especially as no one was really making such a claim.


The idea that there is syncopation in 'sean nor' singing is an interesting one. I would be interested in the evidence for this.

Also the call and respose aspect would not be unknown to all of those brought to the New World at this time - in sailing vessels and their shanty-singing crews


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Big Tim
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 02:39 AM

I'm not qualified to say yea or nay. But I watched and was fascinated by the programme.

One thing that struck me was that there were a lot of black doubters but when they saw or heard the Hebrideans sing they were amazed at the similarities. When the Scots group sang in a southern black church, in Gaelic, many of the black congregation began to sing along, even though they didn't know the language. Sandy McLean is correct,the emphasis of the programme was on "presenting".

The other thing that struck me was how far we have advanced in race relations, not just since slavery, but in the last 40 years.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 03:26 AM

The practice of lining-out may be found now in some parts of the outer Hebrides, and in some parts of Alabama. There is a logical fallacy in assuming a specific influence from one to the other, transmitted around 1740. The question that needs to be asked is, who was singing in this call and response fashion in the eighteenth century in the southern United States.
    This all reminds me of the famous assumption that there is something "Celtic" about bagpipes, because they seem to be found more commonly in Ireland and Scotland than in England. Of course, the historical fact is that they were common in all those countries, but cultural changes caused the use of the pipes to die out in most of England. The same question needs to be asked here: was lining-out unique to Gaelic-speaking Scottish islanders in 1740? And the answer, I would suggest, is probably "no".


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: JulieF
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 04:34 AM

I was a bit disappointed in the program in that I thought it lacked a lot of analysis that might have helped.

i) it didn't look at what the slaves brought with them - so that you could get an idea of how much they assimulated from others in the community.

ii) it didn't look at why the music then became different ie look at the differences in worship in the presberian church and the american baptist churches.

iii) It didn't acknowledge that you bring singers/musicians together they will almost always find some commonality in what they do.

iv) it didn't elaborate on how the poor from the islands became the slave owners in america.   ( One family went over in 1804 and were documented as buying a slave in 1814 or so). It seemed to be assumed that this just happened immediately.   Whereas there would have been winners and loosers at this point as well.   But I can't quibble as that would have been a completely different story.


The program did manage to demeonstrate some influence but it was hard to establish how much for the reasons outlined above and it was interesting to learn that for some slaves gaelic was their first western lanaguage which I wouldn't have thought about. It would be great if someone would do a more indepth study - can we send them Howard Goodall - he's aprticularly good at that sort of stuff.

J


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 04:52 AM

I watched this and was fascinated, partly because as a Scot from Glasgow the form of the NWestern singing seemed so foreign to me.

I thought the politics of ownership a bit sad in that it seemed so difficult to question current orthodoxies but the same thought kept coming back to me: why should anyone doubt that gospel music which is, after all a method of delivering the Gospel, has its roots at least partly in the music of the people promoting that gospel.

Christianity was the religion of white Europeans being promoted by white Europeans to supplant the religions of the people they colonised all over the world. The fact that it is now embraced so overwhelmingly by black people does not alter this.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 05:22 AM

open your eyes
open your ears
open your mind.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 05:41 AM

I thought the politics of ownership a bit sad in that it seemed so difficult to question current orthodoxies but the same thought kept coming back to me: why should anyone doubt that gospel music which is, after all a method of delivering the Gospel, has its roots at least partly in the music of the people promoting that gospel.

Amen.

The programme did not follow-up to where the music has gone to now and also not - as earlier mentioned - what Africans brought to this. Perhaps the makers thought that this ground had already be well-covered?

But without exploring these aspects more - you could perhaps excuse some folk from thinking that it was an attempt to take credit away from Africans and Afro-Americans?

However, the programme did strongly suggest - by producing a record kept of one family and having living members of this family present - that some of the blood of these Gaels were now mixed with those who are now referred to Afro-Americans. Both black and white members of this family seemed reconciled and stated that they were happy with this. Even when talking together whilst standing in front of the remains of the wooden shack that the Afro-American man's ancestors lived in (as slaves).


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 07:53 AM

Perhaps what is needed [and apparently what that British television program failed to provide] is information on the similarities between African-American and West African/Central African music.
I specifically focus on these two regions of Africa since those were the regions from which the African ancestors of the majority of African Americans came.

Here is a quote that provide some introductory information on this subject:

"Spirituals are of two text types: sorrow songs and jubilees {some of the latter were used as "shout spirituals}....Examples of this type of spiritual [sorrow songs] are "Nobody Knows The Trouble I See", "What A Tryin' Time"; "I'm Troubled In Mind", I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray", "Go Down Moses", "Were You There," and "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child".

Jubilees express joyful expectation of a better life in the future. Songs such as "Goin to Shout All Over God's Heaven", "Little David Play On Your Harp", King Jesus is A-Listenin', In that Great Gittin Up Mornin", and When de Saints Fo marchin' In' express jubilation for present and future blessings.

The kinship of these early spirituals to African performance is striking. The song 'Steal Away,' for example, has short phrases taht repeat, grow, and make larger melodic structures and uses multimeter, pendular thirds, and descending phrase endings.It also makes use of the 'implication, euphemism, symbol, allegory,and secret [that] is a part of the everyday technique of oral expression' in Africa {Zahan [1970] 1979, 114}. Furthermore, any performance of 'Steal Away' will conform to many of Lomax's }1975, 46}characteristics of the African song style that I quoted in chapeter 1: it will be vocally non-tense, textually quite repetitious, lacking in melodic embellishment, non-complex, relaxed, cohesive, multileveled, and leader-oriented-"distintly African" according to Lomax. In this spiritual, as in most others, we see the African retentions that effect the continuity that is characteristic of the elaboration of black music in America."
{Samuel A Floyd, "The Power of Black Music, p. 42}

-snip-

I would also take this opportunity to say that there appears to be an underlying assumption that there Gaelic people and Africans had no historical connections. Anthropological evidence confirms that all people originally came from Africa. Furthermore, historical documents show that prior to early contact with Europeans in the 15th century or so, Black Africans were not people who remained locked in their own geographical areas, failing to travel or make any contact with non-African peoples. Couldn't it be possible that the presence of call & response patterned singing in Gaelic music came from this ancient and not so ancient contact?

For those interested in reading about Black Africans' presence in Europe and the Middle East and Black Africans' profound influence on the cultures of Europe and the Middle East, let me suggest the following three books:

Frank M. Snowden Jr., "Blacks In Antiquity-Ethiopians In The
Greco-Roman Experience" {Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1970}

Ivan Van Sertima, editor "African Prsence in Early Europe"
{New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers, 1988}

Frank M. Snowden, Jr, "Before Color Prejudice-The Ancient Vuew of Blacks" {Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1983}



Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 08:32 AM

Ummm, we have no records of black Africans (opposed to Berbers) going to Gaelic lands. It would definitely have been commented on don't you think.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 09:15 AM

Who says Berbers weren't Black?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 09:47 AM

This thread from last year follows some related themes so perhaps they should be linked.
       Sandy

oral tradition - 'celtic' singing in usa


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 09:48 AM

Of course, the definition of who is Black has always been a troublin thing for folks since that definition differs from one culture to another and changes within the same culture depending on who you ask and what time of day it is..

First off, one can't assume that the way a people look now is the way their ancestors looked..A good case in point are the ancient Egyptians and Egyptians today..An even more telling example would be African Americans in the 18th century and African Americans today.

I don't believe that there is any pure race of people. And I believe that the Berbers were descended from African people who were darker than they are now and also had children by darker skinned Africans..

It happens now and then, folks.

I would dare say that there are countless numbers of people who are considered to be or who consider themselves to be "Black" who look whiter than some people who consider themselves to be pure Europeans.
And this does not count the large number of Black folks who are knowingly passin for White or whose ancestors passed for white...

For more general information on the people generally known as Berbers, see this link:

Berbers

Here is one excerpt from that site:

"THE ANCIENT Berber culture is extrordinarily rich and diverse, with a variety of musical styles. These range from bagpipes and oboe (Celtic style) to pentatonic music (reminiscent of Chinese music) - all combined with African rhythms and a very important stock of authentic oral literature. These traditions have been kept alive by small bands of musicians who travel from village to village, as they have for centuries, to entertain at weddings and other social occasions with their songs, tales, and poetry."


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 10:32 AM

Anthropological evidence confirms that all people originally came from Africa

I don't really have a problem with this idea, but I think it is a simplification that some more learned than I on the subject may contend. The anthropological evidence on which all these theories are based - still remains very scarce and every time there is some more evidence found - there are yet more theories.

But it rather depends how far back in the earth's past you wish to go. There was a time when there was no African continent - just one big one continent where all our ancestors existed together - in some form. Or if you want to go even further back - existed together in the sea itself....It all seems to lead back to the sea in some way.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 10:49 AM

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=67594&messages=69&page=1


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 10:57 AM

Sorry, guest above was Sandy of The Lost Cookie. :-}


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 12:03 PM

Azizi quotes a passage about Berber music which is a great example of the sloppy thinking I have talked about earlier in this thread. Because the Celts(whoever they are meant to be) used bagpipes does not mean there is anything distinctively Celtic about bagpipes. Because the Chinese like pentatonic music does not mean there is anything distinctively Chinese about pentatonic music. You would think this would come in to the realm of the Bleeding Obvious, but it is surprising how many amateur ethnomusicogists fall into the trap. It's simple: Michael Coleman played the fiddle, this does not prove the Irish invented the fiddle. The Rolling Stones played blues. This does not prove the English invented blues.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 12:24 PM

Greg,

Thanks for your comments about the Celts and bagpipes and Chinese and pentatonic music.

That website I provided a link to might indeed be guilty of sloppy thinking.

And I'm sure that I am guilty of sloppy thinking sometimes too. That being said, I don't consider myself an ethnomusicologist-amateur or otherwise.

I would also mention that I put more credence in the books that I have read which is why I shared some titles.

I appreciate it when other posters share information that corrects [or suggest corrections] to material I have posted.

That way I learn and others do too.

And with regard to the English inventing blues because the Rolling Stones played blues, I'm sure that you'll find some people who believe that. Not me, though.

;o}


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 12:36 PM

Azizi: I'll bet you're guilty of aloppy thinking, and so am I. I wish God would give us the gift to spot this fault in ourselves as quickly as we can see it in others!
   That programme was just too too sloppy for words though, a load of ill-thought out attempts to generate controversy and confrontation( though I must admit I was only able to watch the first half). However, the fact that it was an intellectually crap programme doesnt mean much, compared with the fact that the theories were fscinating and thought-provoking, the music was stunning, the people you saw were great. Much like a good Mudcat thread, in fact.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST,Michael Morris at work.
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 12:50 PM

Greg-

Your comments are correct regarding origins, but the historical use of particular instruments and stylistic elements is equally important. If the use of lining-out and the pentatonic scale in religious music can be found among Gaelic Scots, and similar elements are found in African-American gospel, and it can be demonstrated that there was interaction between these groups, it is reasonable to conclude there is probably a connection.

Your earlier comment about the endurance of certain instruments in Ireland and Scotland after they had fallen out of general use in England is a valid point. To offer a relevant parallel, lining-out of hymns was practiced not only in the American South but also in New England in the 18th century (earlier?).


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 01:17 PM

Greg, you wrote
"..the theories [in that TV program] were fscinating and thought-provoking, the music was stunning, the people you saw were great. Much like a good Mudcat thread, in fact."

So you can see 'Catters and hear music too?

What's wrong with my Internet connection?

LOL!!


Peace!
Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: BB
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 03:02 PM

Greg, you said, 'That programme was just too too sloppy for words though, a load of ill-thought out attempts to generate controversy and confrontation( though I must admit I was only able to watch the first half).'

I think that you are a little too quick to condemn the programme, particularly as you didn't watch the whole thing. I found it fairly convincing and, by the end, very positive, and I think it has to be accepted that much of the academic rigour that many of us would have wished to see just wasn't possible in such a short programme. And it wasn't made for the Open University for its students or for academics but for Joe Public.

Let's give the programme makers credit for making an interesting programme on musical traditions, even if it didn't go far enough for most of us!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 03:21 PM

My point, for Michael Morris and others: yes, if Scots Gaelic call-and-response people interacted with African-Americans in 1740, influences could have been transmitted. Well, of course they could, and probably were. What I was querying was how much that influence was transmitted. My crucial point was: because call-and-response has lasted in the Isle of Lewis to the present day has no logical connection whatsoever with an assertion that they were the only people using call-and-response in 17th century north America, and that therefore any call-and-response music subsequently arising had its roots in Scots Gaelic music. It is technically possible that the assertion is true, but the lasting of this form in Lewis is no evidence at all. What we must do is look at what happened in southern USA 1700-1900, not what is happening now in the Lewis. That is just TV "make a controversy" stuff.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 04:17 PM

Ahh, but the Berber interaction I ment was in the form of raids along the coasts of Europe, up to Scandinavia.
BTW there is a great group called Tayfa which takes Breizh (Breton) influences and fuses them to their North-African music.
But what makes you say the Egyptians of today don't resemble the ancient ones?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST,Michael Morris at
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 05:31 PM

Greg-
I totally agree, that why I mentioned origins as well as historical development, and why in an earlier posting I questioned the validity of looking for a single source for any form of music, be it Southern gospel or anything else.

Southern gospel is both a black musical form and a white musical form. To understand Southern gospel, we of course should look at the US 1700-1900. To understand a hybrid form such as gospel, it makes sense to look for areas of overlap between white and black music. Two important Old World elements (by all means not the only elements) in this New World form are the call and response styles of Africa and Gaelic Scotland and certain gapped scales.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 06:08 PM

Yes, but why the call-and-response or lining-out of Gaelic Scotland, as opposed to the call-and-response of non-Gaelic Scotland, or England, or France, or Africa(and which parts of Africa). If this is worth looking at, it's worth looking out prperly. TheIsle of Lewis may be the only place doing it now, but who was doing it then? That's the question to ask.
Incidentally, call-and-response and lining-out are two quite different things. There is very little lining-out in gospel music...it is hardly the core of it, is it?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 06:16 PM

I presume that Guest 22 Mar 05 - 04:17 PM is talking to me when s/he [???] asks "what makes you say the Egyptians of today don't resemble the ancient ones?"

Books that I have read on ancient Egypt refer to a population made up of different racial groups and quite a bit of interracial lovin going on..Furthermore, I have read that there were more darker skinned Egyptians than then there are now..

I cannot find quotes that specifially address those points but see this rather long excerpt about interracial mating in the ancient Greco-Roman world..

"In the modern world the crucial test of the white man's acceptance of the Negro is the attitude toward miscegnation. Greek and Roman accounts of race mixture between Ethiopians and Mediterranean whites reveal no repugnance at the idea of racial crossings between whites and non-whites. Herodotus' report on the 240,000 rebellious Egyptians who settled in the reign of Psammetichus I among the Ethiopians and mixed with them is a case in point...Nor does Plutarch when citing the Herodotean account, have anything to say in condemnation of the Ethiopian-Egyptian racial mixture...No explanatory or apolegetic note accompanies mention of Danatis' seven daughtes by an Ethiopian woman, or of the black lover of Aurora, the father of Memnon. Josephus records a legend which declares that Tharbis, the duaghter of the king of the Ethiopians, fell madly in love with Moses when Ethiopia was invaded. Moses accepted her proposal in marriage and after celebrating the nuptials, led the Egyptians back to their own land. Again, there is no comment on the interracial marriage....

Racial mixture of white and Negroid types were frequent enough to the [Roman] Empire for the stirists to find a source of amusement for the Roman public in references to miscegenation..Juvenal implies that mulattoes would be more were it not for the practice of abortion...

The statues of mulattoes and of mixed racial types are proof of the miscegenation noted in the texts. It is safe to assume, therefore, that in course of time many Ethiopians were assimilated into a predominatly white population. Completely random mating regardkess of racial differences in the United States, it has been pointed out, would result in the virtual elimination of darker shades of Negroes and in the almost complete disappearance of Negroid traits. Some such process was not unlikely in the Greco-Roman world in view if the evidence for racial mixture in a society which had no prohibition against miscegenation. {Frank M. Snowden, Jr, "Before Color Prejudice-The Ancient View of Blacks"; pp 192-195}.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 06:27 PM

That programme was just too too sloppy for words though, a load of ill-thought out attempts to generate controversy and confrontation( though I must admit I was only able to watch the first half).

The second half was the best and most convincing part.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 06:32 PM

I would agree that there are other European and non-European sources of call and response and lining-out should be considered. Of European sources, other British sources are probably the most important. I would also look at similar practices elsewhere in North America (the New England example is not insignificant).

Without wanting to over-generalize, I would say say that call and response and lining-out are at least closely related practices, but I'm sure I would get a good argument on this from someone more knowledgible than myself.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST,Michael Morris at work.
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 06:33 PM

Previous post by myself at work, I hate the enter button on this keyboard.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 03:09 AM

I'm with Greg on this one; that style of singing was simply a lot more common and widespread in the past, and the fact that it survives in only isolated areas of the UK today doesn't of itself prove anything; though I'd keep an open mind on the question pending more detailed research. It may be that the congruity of Highland Scottish and African liturgical singing may have reinforced the style in the New World, but it won't have been a simple "either or" thing.

I'm not sure how relevant it is to suggest that Berbers may have been darker in the past than they are now (or, really, what they have to do with it at all). They were still Northern Africans, not members of the nations from which slaves were mostly drawn. The issue is one of musical culture, surely, not colour.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 03:46 AM

Perhaps a large part of the issue does touch on is oppression and all forms of slavery? We should not forget that The Barbary or North African) Pirates were not adverse to descending upon the ports of England, Ireland and Wales for their slaves.

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=1604


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 04:09 AM

Malcolm,

My comments regarding the 'Berbers' were in responds to this post by Guest 22 Mar 05 - 08:32 AM:

"Ummm, we have no records of black Africans (opposed to Berbers) going to Gaelic lands. It would definitely have been commented on don't you think."

While I agree with you that the issue of the skin color of ancient North Africans is more thread drift than directly part of this thread topic, I would still refer those who are interested in the subject of Africans in ancient Europe [and cultural other interactions between those populations] to the books I had previously listed.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 04:22 AM

Lets just get the new Dr Who to nip back and find out for us!Now that would be a good programme to watch.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 04:23 AM

I don't quite know how it got onto colour, but was trying to say that I've not heard of a single example of an African, trader or otherwise, visiting Gaelic lands prior to the 15th century. It's just wishful thinking to talk of African influence on Gaelic music at that time. Not a shred of evidence or a likely supposition to support this idea.
Anyway the Berbers contained plenty of blacks, but these were generally slaves or descendants of slaves and mercenaries. And regardless of their skin, the important factor here is the culture. North African music is very different from, say, West African. I don't think they had much influence on the music in Britain and Ireland, because frankly, they were only there for the slave raiding.
They do pop up in folksong, but that's simply because the raids were a frequent occurence from the 16th to the early 18th century.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Big Tim
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 04:27 AM

Many of the comments on the program from those who disagreed with the theory, it seemed to me, were based on gut reaction, rather than on a dispassionate consideration of the "facts" as given, such as they were.

Of the sort that goes, "the whites robbed us of everything; homeland, culture, language, freedom, dignity, and now they are claiming the last thing that truly identifies us: gospel singing".

"But the man propounding the theory is himself black"?                                                            

"It wouldn't be the first time that a friendly black has been used to promote white sumremacy"                                          

The Prof was portrayed by one young black English guy as a virtual Uncle Tom.

The (English black) program presenter tiptoed around this issue, but I still thought he handled a difficult subject, aimed at a general audience, very well.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST,Fiosrach
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 06:38 AM

I thought there should be some comparison of the music black (majority) and white (majority) congregations in the churches in N Carolina. The whites also have an inheritance from the Scottish settlers; what did the people of African descent add to the church music?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 06:54 AM

As well as he could in the circumstances given the size and difficulty of the issue and the constraint of a one hour prog. It seems to me symptomatic of current TV formats that a very interesting question was raised but ended up with a very superficial treatment, while the controversial side was constantly stirred. As I remember it only one of those asked for their opinion of the profs opinion was actualy presented with any music/evidence and he reversed his opiniom/gut reaction.

We have a middle class English actor, who has changed his name to something he feels more appropriate than the one given to him by his parents, talking with authority on the history of music in America. We are supposed to give him credence because he is a TV personality who appears in a popular soap.

I thought the programme raised some very interesting questions on which most people like me are not in any position to draw definitive conclusions on. There has been some very interesting and informed ccomment in this thread as a follow on. It is just a huge shame that the British media is so pathetic that we are unlikely to see this issue looked at in any depth, with an emphasis on research rather than celebrity opinion.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 07:52 AM

Well, Well, Well! Following some threads about the history of Gospel music I came acroo this post from 2 years ago

Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: sian, west wales - PM
Date: 26 Sep 03 - 06:45 AM

A study into the roots of gospel music by a U.S. professor -- an accomplished musician who has played with Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie -- has led him to conclude that the "good news" music sung in black American churches originated in Scotland, not Africa. Willie Ruff of Yale University said the roots of the music derived from evangelical spirituals and had more to do with the crofters of the Outer Hebrides than slaves on U.S. plantations. Prof. Ruff, 71, a Baptist from Alabama, told Britain's Independent newspaper: "I, like everyone else, assumed [the music] was unique to black congregations in the United States . . . but I began to wonder if it was performed by white congregations in the same way." He discovered that some black U.S. slaves owned by Scottish immigrants spoke only Gaelic. However, it wasn't until he travelled to Scotland, and heard psalm singing in Gaelic, that he became convinced of the common roots: "I was struck by the similarity, the pathos, the emotion, the cries of suffering and the deep, deep belief in a brighter, promising hereafter."


Curiously the discussion only ran for two more postings. Is that because of the relative audience numbers on Channel 4 and The Independant, because of the effect actually hearing some of the music in question had on us, because catters now are more willing to consider the issues, or because the replies made further discussions a bit pointless:
Subject: RE: History of spirituals
From: masato sakurai - PM
Date: 26 Sep 03 - 11:04 PM

There was much debate over the origins in the first half of the 20th century. D.K. Wilgus discussed it in a chapter titled "The Negro-White Spiritual" in his Anglo-American Folksong Scholarship Since 1898 (Rutgers UP, 1959, pp. 344-364); the chapter is reprinted in Mother Wit from the Laughing Barrel: Readings in the Interpretation of Afro-American Folklore, edited by Alan Dundes (U. Pr. of Mississippi, 1990, pp. 67-80). Wilgus quotes from Bruno Nettl a position of the "compromise theorists", who "do not hold that the melodies of the American Negroes originated in Africa, but assume that the Negroes have taken over tunes of the whites and combined with them African stylistic traits--hot rhythm, much variation, preference for part-singing, antiphony, and response," saying that "study is revealing that a simple cencept of origin is not only misleading, but nonsensical."


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 10:39 AM

Has Willie Ruff published his findings in any books are articles? I googled around his name but only found references to newspaper articles and the BBC program. I would like to see what source he uses(other than contempory gospel and Hebridean religious music), how he evaluates his sources and how he develops his argument. For all I know, his published work may be much more careful than the program (which I admittedly did'nt see, though it sounds like it was designed to get a reaction and to gain publicity).

D.K. Wilgus took up the historiography of this question iin the final chapter of Anglo-American Folksong scholarship(1959). Responding to Rudi Blesh's Shining Trumpets (1946), he noted:

"Pentatonic and hexatonic scale structures and microtonal flatting, especially of thirds and sevenths, may be African survivals; they are also a part of Anglo-American music.... And antiphony (call and response) is an African technique that has some slight parallel in the rendition of white folk hymn." (p.359)

And in 1914, Henry Kriebel noted Scottish parallels to African-American music, though he was sceptical regarding a direct connection.

"....


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Goose Gander
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 10:51 AM

...and before I accidently hit the enter button, I wanted to conclude by saying that I believe Ruff definately is on to something, though if he is going to argue for a Gaelic Scottish connection to the exclusion of other influences, he has to explain why other European and non-European influences would not have had any impact upon this particular form.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 12:58 PM

I'd love to see this program... it seems to me that what might have been missing in the discussion is the comparison between the Lewis style and the style of rural white southern U.S. singers. A number of years back, Vic Gammon (a Brit, for those who don't know him -- Senior Lecturer on Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University, formerly at Leeds) was on staff at Pinewoods Folk Music Week (U.S., for those who don't know it). He brought along a sampler compilation of various interesting singing styles (wonderfully entitled "Religious music and other fruity vocals from Europe and the USA") to compare and contrast. Among them, a couple of tracks described thusly:

"Lining psalms and hymns, 'the old style of singing' (the heterophonic style that preceded the reform represented by shape note music and 'west gallery music'. From Lewis (Hebrides) and Kentucky (1959)"

The Kentucky sample was from a rural white church congregation.

I was astounded by the apparent relationship between these two samples. The "lining out" or "presenting" aspect of the form is certainly not the only thing comparable in the structure. The scale(s), the individualistic variations, the microtonal ornamentation... Also, in listening again this morning, I'm also struck by the lack of regular rythm, like the Irish "sean nos" I've heard. I don't think I've ever heard any African American music be so arrhythmic.

I wish there was some way to attach sound samples here; if I had a web site I'd link them. (I could send them to anyone who's interested - PM me.)

The sound seems to me to be distant from modern white or black gospel, though certainly related. That particular Kentucky church sound is probably extinct now, or certainly nearly so.

So I'd say, that if the programs presenters missed a piece of the puzzle in presenting their story if they didn't get that in. "Call and response" style singing is widespread in the world, and when white and black singers met they undoubtedly both brought that to the table (although there are subtle differences between the nature of "lining out"/"presenting" and "call and response". The interchange after that is interesting to speculate on.

Also, I'm making assumptions that "presenting" and "lining out" are terms for same thing...? And, thanks for the refs. to the discussing by Wilgus and others.

~ Becky in Tucson
(home from work with a snuffling boy)


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 02:05 PM

Here's a nice site about Gaelic Psalm Singing.

Apparently "presenting" is a verbification of a mondegreen on "precentor", I see? :-) ...a distinctive style of singing in the Gaelic language, where the psalms are sung a cappella (without musical accompaniment), and led by a precentor (literally 'one who sings beforehand').

There are links at this site to popular articles on the topic and Willie Ruff's "discoveries" about the connection between Scottish psalm singing and and Black gospel, including the one Shambles copied here.

In the Sunday Herald article, "After Elvis ? the Scottish roots of soul and gospel" by Torcuil Crichton, he says,

After some research Ruff discovered that the form of psalm singing did not survive among US Presbyterians or in England. "People said if I wanted to hear white Presby terians sing this way I'd have to go to Scotland and the Presbyterians in the Free Church. It was rumoured they sang this way in their native Gaelic."

I am not able to lay my hands on my notes from Folk Music Week '03 and I don't have any information about the recording of the Kentucky congregation that Vic included. Presumably, if it's not on a commercial recording somewhere, it's in the Library of Congress archives somewhere. I'll send him a note and see if I can find out.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 02:17 PM

Got an autoreply that Vic's on leave for the spring semester. Hope he's checking his e-mail. :-)

~ B in T


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 02:23 PM

Gosh it's hard to be sure you're contributing intelligently to discussion of a program you haven't seen... but, craving your indulgence:

On this site, Willie Ruff himself says,

"On a visit to Alabama I noticed for the first time that a small congregation of black Presbyterians -- a denomination that never succeeded in getting a foothold in the Baptist, Methodist and Sanctified world of my childhood -- were thriving across the river from where I grew up. More importantly, they were holding onto the line singing that white Presbyterians in America and the English speaking world abandoned more than a century ago."

The first part of that statement's interesting -- the existance of a black Presbyterian group singing in that old style. The second sentence looks like hyperbole or innocent ignorance -- if Vic Gammon's Kentucky 1959 singers were white, as I have assumed they were.

~ B in T


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 03:26 PM

Here's an article on a different twist in the path from Old World to New: The Past Returns to the Present: Archaic British hymn-singing practices survive in London's West Indian churches. Yes, lining out, but a whole 'nother sound. I hear Eastern European / medieval / ?

And this (lengthy!) article "Praise: The Melody of Religion" opens by tying in the sound of the Jewish synagogue... About 2/3 of the way down, you get to Gaelic Psalmody, and the discussion compares the Black West Indies style of lining out...

It also mentions "Black Baptist churches in the United States have a practice which they call 'Dr. Watts' or 'Long Metre' (cf. the Scottish term 'Long Tunes'), and the old Regular Baptist Churches in eastern Kentucky apparently come closer than that in resemblance to the singing of the Gaelic precentors (see T.E. Miller, article on Oral Psalmody in Journal of the Hymn Society of America, January 1984)." Which leads me to wonder who Dr. Watts was, and is he any relation to Isaac Watts, the early 18th century hymn writer??

me, Googling? Guilty!

And hopping over to sample D.K. Wilgus (on paper, really!) I find (as has already been pointed out) there's nothing new under the sun in folk music discussion ('specially on Mudcat, where so many of us are enthusiasts, rather than scholars):

"To define the nature of the argument, one may pose the problem: what elements in the Negro spiritual have been borrowed from the music of the North American whites and what are due to an African heritage and/or the Negroes' own creation in American? Whatever the confusion in some minds, no serious student has imaginged that Negroes disembarked in Virginia singing "Deep River" or "Roll, Jordan." And whatever the confusion in some minds, no reputable scholar who has studied the problem has ever said that Negroes merely imitated or echoed white song. The issue lies between the extremes; and it is unfortunate that a few early commentators and the hysterical fringes of both sides have obscured the problem."

I think echoes my view of the "ownership" issue. I'd rather just continue with my fascination with attempting to trace the entangled threads of relationship among all our musics.

~ B in T
I've already said... time on my hands


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST,Michael Morris at work.
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 03:51 PM

Thanks for your comments and the mustrad.org.uk article. It seems funny that questions of origins become questions of ownership. The music belongs to whoever sings it and, vicariously at least, to anyone who enjoys it.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 05:19 PM

For those curious, here is a Willie Ruff Biography. I don't think that he would understand any of this "ownership" business--if anything is clear about him, it is that he believes that all music is a shared culture, and the more people who have contributed to it, the better--

Just to mix things up a bit, I will point out that, contrary to what many may believe, the first American Black Protestant congregations used the same Hymnals and sang the same hymns that everybody else did(many still do). The music that we associate with Black Gospel, the Thomas Dorsey stuff, is new, not traditional. The traditional stuff has always been very far from the mainstream--

It's all good.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: sian, west wales
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 05:27 PM

Good lord, Robbie, did I post that? I have NO memory of it!

I did see the programme and thought it was interesting as far as it went, but I did feel that it should have explored, at least in passing, what the black participants 'brought to the table'. I also could be slightly critical about the fact that they slipped in just a snippet of Sacred Harp in the background at one point - I'm not sure if it wasn't a clip from Cold Mountain. Some researcher wasn't paying attention; that wasn't the style of music under discussion, neither was it sung by the community under discussion. Having read Beverly Bush Patterson's "Sound of the Dove", I think there could be an equally interesting programme linking the Sacred Harp / Fasola singing tradition with early Welsh Baptists.

siân


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 05:33 PM

Thanks to those now producing the obvious references to the fact that this style of singing is nothing uniquely to do with the Scottish Gaelic culture of the Isle of Lewis; this was merely a bit of TV bollocks to provoke controversy. The truth of folklore(insofar as we can approach it) is always more interesting than the fakelore, even if TV moguls think bogus arguments are more fun.
Music is beautiful, as are different peoples' interactions with each other. But the programme was half good, because it made us listen to music and think about it. Why they felt they had to include the drivel is their problem.
    And now, the chord sequence of Thomas A Dorsey's "Precious Lord Take my Hand", the start of modern gospel. But surely Elizbethan English?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 06:23 PM

M. Ted,
With regard to your comment: "The music that we associate with Black Gospel, the Thomas Dorsey stuff, is new, not traditional. The traditional stuff has always been very far from the mainstream--",

The words "traditional" and "mainstream" mean different things to different people. And iss music created in the 1930s new? I guess it compared with other music genres yes-and no.

There are a number of Internet sites on Thomas Dorsey. Here are excerpts from one of those sites:

"During the early 1930s, Thomas Dorsey created gospel music -- the African American religious music which married secular blues to a sacred text. Under the name "Georgia Tom" he performed with blues artist Ma Rainey and her Wild Cats Jazz Band. He wrote over 400 compositions, but it is for "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" that he is best known.

..in August 1932, Dorsey's life was thrown into crisis when his wife and son died during childbirth. In his grief, he turned to the piano for comfort. The tune he wrote, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," came, he says, direct from God. Dorsey co-founded the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses in 1933. Six years later, he teamed with Mahalia Jackson, and the team ushered in what was known as the "Golden Age of Gospel Music." Dorsey himself became known as the father of gospel music. He died in 1993. "

end of quote

For more information on Thomas Dorsey click here:
Father of The Gospel Music


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 07:44 PM

saw a documentary called Irish in America
and Pete Seeger sang Rock a my soul in the bosom of Abraham
(repeated 3times)
and then sang the rhythm da da da da da da
da da da, da da da..
and guess what,
albeit slightly speeded up, it was an Irish 6/8 jig,
in fact sounded like the Irish Washerwoman..


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 12:31 AM

And this means what?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 01:53 AM

Thanks to those now producing the obvious references to the fact that this style of singing is nothing uniquely to do with the Scottish Gaelic culture of the Isle of Lewis; this was merely a bit of TV bollocks to provoke controversy.

I take that you have now seen all of the programme?

Would you contend that black gospel music is not uniquely rooted in the non-African religion that it still worships?

Surely if you are not allowing Willie Ruff to state that the roots of this particular style uniquely comes from this Gaelic culture - you cannot state that it clearly does not.

What I heard and saw on the film - tends to convince me that - more than likely it does.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Big Tim
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 04:15 AM

Willie Ruff from the program:
"I would say that this tradition [Scots Gaelic] is part of the DNA of every kind of musical expression that blacks have done in this country. Ask Aretha Frankin, ask Mahalia Jackson".

Also, Dr. Bobby Jones, "the Godfather of Soul", before he saw the Scots singing,

"[Gospel] has nothing to do with white culture".

After he heard the Scots,

"The similarites are so much there, the only basic difference is the language. It sounds like blacks singing".


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 08:48 AM

I know Dr. Bobby Jones * and Dr. Bobby Jones is no "Godfather of Soul".

James Brown is the Godfather of Soul.

;o)

* At least I know Dr. Bobby Jones from watching his television gospel programs.

Maybe Dr. Bobby Jones can be given the tag "The Television Music Director of Black Gospel" or some such title that credits him for the excellent work he has done in providing a forum for folks who can get his program to hear new and veteran African American gospel singers.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Big Tim
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 10:59 AM

Yes, for "soul" substitute "gospel" in my post. Just wait, Azizi, until I spot a mistake by you!


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 11:25 AM

Big Tim, LOL!!

Well you won't have to wait at all if you count my typos..

Peace!

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 11:37 AM

Shambles: I'm only making one point, and it's a very narrow, and possibly pedantic one. The fact that lining-out is practised on the Isle of Lewis in 2005 does not prove that it wasnt practised anywhere else in 1740; it doesnt even suggest it.
   But I am perfectly willing to believe that Scottish music influenced gospel music: of course it did. And so did gospel music influence modern Scottish music.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 11:56 AM

And BTW, M. Ted,

I think Thomas Dorsey is called the Father of Gospel.

LOL!!


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 11:57 AM

but then again, you did write "Godfather" and not "Father".

Peace!

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 12:03 PM

Sorry!! my post was really supposed to be directed to Big Tim.
{Does it count if you quickly catch your mistakes?}

This shows that I can't do ten things at one time..

Who am I was I talking to anyway??..Big Tim or M. Ted or both or myself..or everybody or nobody???!!!

Chose which ever..

LOL!!


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: sian, west wales
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 01:07 PM

DesertDancer, as I mentioned above, it seems that various academics aren't making enough distinction between various forms of religious music. If 'Dr Watts' referred to Isaac Watts (and it's entirely possible it does) then this could be of interest. I've translated the following from a Welsh book, "The History of Congregational Singing in Wales": "In the Forward, he (Watts) said, 'that there is a need for tunes more supple and free than the old Psalms and their slow, graceful movement ... In Germany hymns are found arranged to short, lively and sweet tunes - those that small holders at plough would hear, and children on the road would sing. ... (He) put tunes of this style in the book (his Lyra Davidica) in order to break the practice of singing one note for each syllable, and brought to Church music tunes with two, three and four notes for each syllable. Having thus brought them in, the style was emulated by Wales' composers, and continued until they were condemned by Ieuan Gwyllt, Emlyn Evans, and others." (Other Welsh hymnists)

As a side note, Ieuan Gwyllt actually did use a lot of folk tunes of the time (saving many of them from disappearing, so the Nonconformists were all bad!) but perhaps this was all part and parcel of that started by Luther, trying to make the words more understandable and not obscured by overly-embroidered tunes. Which ties us into a thread I took part in a few weeks back about Luther and the Roman Catholic church response.

Oh, and Welsh chapels also used precentors, although we call them Codwyr Canu (sing. = codwr canu = the one who raises up the singing). Many of them still maintain the position, although with pretty much global literacy the lining out no longer happens.

siân


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 03:38 AM

Shambles: I'm only making one point, and it's a very narrow, and possibly pedantic one. The fact that lining-out is practised on the Isle of Lewis in 2005 does not prove that it wasnt practised anywhere else in 1740; it doesnt even suggest it.

For what it is worth - we are now in complete agreement. It is a very narrow and possibly pedantic one...*Smiles*

BTW did you ever manage to see the rest of the programme?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: greg stephens
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 05:04 AM

Shambles: alas, I havent managed to see the second half yet. Not of course that prevents me from pontificating on the subject. But it has caused me to listen to my Isle of Lewis recordings with great attention and enjoyment. I will freely admit that on first listening, to the untutored ear, they do sound remarkably like a recording by Alan Lomax of Henry "Ironhead" Boggatt and fellow inmates of Parchman Farm.
    But only on first listening!


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 25 Mar 05 - 01:06 PM

Smithsonian Folkways has two CDs of lined-out heterophonic hymn singing from Old Regular Baptist congregations in Southern Appalachia. The catalogue numbers are 40106 and 50001.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 06:00 PM

Here's Vic Gammon's response to my query as well as his thoughts on the program:

Hi Becky,

Good to hear from you. I have now seen the programme. You are quite right that Southern white Old Regular Baptists did and some still do perform in a style that is very close to the singers of Lewis. I think the recordings I played at Pinewoods are from an old Alan Lomax compilation - I have just moved and cannot get my hands on anything to check up.

There are two CDs of recordings made by Jeff Todd Titon (who for goodness sake should have been on the programme) of Old Regular Baptists of South-eastern Kentucky, Smithsonian Folkways SF CD 40106 and SFW CD 50001.

The programme made a significant number of mistakes:

    * Not knowing about the Southern white performers who are still practising the style
    * Not knowing that the style was much more widespread in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries than just the Scottish Islands - it is NOT an exclusively Gaelic style although no doubt the Islanders put there own particular flavour on. It was widespread in England as well as Scotland until driven out by church music reformers
    * Including some shape note performance as background music - this is exactly the 'regular singing' style that drove out the older form
    * The depiction of music expressing the geography or the history is romantic nonsense. The programme did not mention that the Islands produced some of the finest tweed cloth made in Britain - although they used a 'waulking' (tweed processing) song in the background.

As for the whole thing about is the style the same or not - it is a question badly put. If we consider five elements of the style, it seems to me four of the five have great commonality, and one does not.

That is:

Hetereophony (individual simultaneous variation of a single melodic line) - Both
Pentatonic scales - Both
Lining out / call and response - Both
Voice production / timbre - Both full, chest voiced styles, similarities
Rhythm - Different

I certainly feel that the surging, non-pulsed quality of the Lewis and Kentucky singers is different from the swung rhythm I hear in most gospel music - if you are looking for an African element, I think it is here. (Although this does not explain where the rhythmic quality of shape note music comes from, although it is not swung in the way that gospel is).

The key point about the North American musical synthesis (or should that be syntheses) is that elements came together when there was sufficient commonality for them to do so. It is sad that people are so hung up about origins and a sort of essentialism - is it black music or white music? Of course gospel is a music nurtured and developed by African Americans, but the elements that made it, like black Christianity, are both European and African.

Nice to be able to express this to someone. I could not get through to the thread but if you want to stick it on please do (if so please include my land contact address and email).

Best wishes,

Vic

PS I may be in the US next year, Easter time - anything interesting happening?

Dr Vic Gammon
Senior Lecturer in Folk and Traditional Music
International Centre for Music Studies
School of Arts and Cultures
Armstrong Building
The University of Newcastle
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 7RU

Vic.Gammon@newcastle.ac.uk


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 08:23 PM

Refresh - to be sure people catch Vic's comments


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 08 Apr 05 - 01:05 AM

Thinking about this again, and hoping Vic's comments weren't wasted here - maybe a refresh closer to the weekend will help?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Apr 05 - 10:28 PM

Thanks Desert Dancer for your efforts in getting those comments.

I guess those who are interested in this subject will find this thread whether you refresh now or at another time.

I've noticed that threads from 1997 on have been reactivated at various times because some new information is found, new posters find them & add a comment or question, and/or a veteran 'Catter wants to add another post on that subject.

The thread then is given new life...And it is actually new for alot of people since I suppose that new people come here everyday.

So if it's time for this thread to retire for a while, it doesn't mean that it will never be activated again.

Best wishes,
Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: BB
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 07:48 PM

Becky, don't worry. Vic said it all, and I for one felt quite satisfied after reading his post. That may well be why there have been no further comments.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 08:07 PM

I just know how depressing it is to feel like a thread killer. Thanks for your replies!

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 08:34 PM

Becky,

You are not a thread killer.

Now I have the last post in this thread.

I found it very interesting and hope to read more about the subject.


Thanks.


Ms. Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 May 05 - 08:02 PM

There was bit on the topic on NPR's Morning Edition this morning, concerning a conference at Yale Univerisity. The Appalachian white Primitive Baptist singing was brought in, but for the UK sources, still only the Scottish/Gaelic was mentioned.

The following is from the conference website:

Line Singing Conference and concluding "Singing Service" at Yale
May 5 and 6, 2005

Common roots of centuries-old psalm singing traditions in Scotland and among blacks in the Deep South, discovered by Willie Ruff, will be celebrated at Yale Conference Singers from the Scottish Hebrides, Kentucky, and Alabama will join scholars for two days of talks, demonstrations, and "A Jubilee Conjoining" May 5 and 6

The startling connection between a centuries-old form of psalm-singing in the Highlands of Scotland and a similar tradition among descendants of African slaves in America and the West Indies will be explored at a conference at Yale University on May 5 and 6, 2005. The highlight of the historic event will be a singing service, in which the practitioners of this musical form of worship from Scotland, Kentucky, and Alabama will join in "Singing the lines" from the Psalms of David. The featured singers include twelve members of the Free Church Psalm Singers of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland; twenty members of the Indian Bottom Old Regular Baptists of Southeastern Kentucky, and twenty members of the Sipsey River Primitive Baptist Association of Eutaw, Alabama.

The Yale Conference on Line Singing has been organized by Yale music professor Willie Ruff, who discovered the connections between the European and New World traditions. Ruff had been intrigued by stories shared by his old friend, the late jazz legend and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, that black slaves in North and South Carolina spoke and worshipped in Gaelic. In 2003, Ruff visited the Scottish Hebrides islands and found remote congregations worshipping in a manner similar to what he heard in Alabama as he was growing up. He asserts that Scottish settlers in America passed on their forms of worship and religious musical traditions to their slaves, with remnants of this tradition still heard among isolated congregations on both sides of the Atlantic. Consequently, "presenting the line," the unaccompanied singing of psalms in Gaelic by Presbyterians of the Scottish Hebrides, is itself at the root of "lining out," a practice found among many black congregations in the American South.

The connection between the Scottish and American traditions has stirred an enormous amount of interest in Great Britain and the United States. In addition to a number of newspaper articles, three television documentaries have already been made for Scottish television (one version in Gaelic), filmed partly during a visit to Alabama by Scottish line singers last year.

----

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Gospel music and Gaelic
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 12 May 05 - 06:17 AM


Americans line up to hear psalm singing in Gaelic [Scotsman article]


BEN MCCONVILLE
in New Haven

AMERICA last week witnessed a new explosion in interest in Scottish culture after a group of Gaels touched a nerve in a way that Tartan Week could not.

More than 16 million listeners tuned in to National Public Radio to hear a group of Gaelic psalm singers from Back Free Church in Lewis perform alongside Baptist congregations from Kentucky and Alabama.

The Gaels are in the US to take part in a conference on line singing at Yale University alongside a white congregation of Old Regular Baptists from Kentucky and a black Primitive Baptist church from Killen, Alabama.

After the broadcast the switchboard at Yale was jammed as Americans scrambled to get tickets for a concert in which the three congregations were to 'line out' an ancient form of worship, which was once common throughout Europe and the US.

The international conference on line singing was arranged by Willie Ruff, a professor of music who has played with some of the giants of jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis.

Ruff says "precenting the line" - the traditional unaccompanied singing of psalms in Gaelic in the Presbyterian churches in the Hebrides - is one of the predecessors of 'lining out', still practised in black churches in the South.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 11 Dec 05 - 10:05 PM

I think the link will change, so here's the text, from the Latest News at Musical Traditions:

Reading the Line

A booklet has just been published which sheds new light on the English-language equivalent of Gaelic psalm-singing in Scotland.

Reading the Line: an English-language Lining-out tradition in Presbyterian Scotland looks at the practice of 'giving out the line'. Gaelic psalmody has preserved this singing style, but it was once standard practice in the Scottish Lowlands and actually came into Scotland due to English influence.

The book traces the rise and decline of 'reading the line' in English throughout Scotland as well as its re-emergence in that language in one denomination, the Free Presbyterian Church, in the twentieth-century. The booklet also includes a brief survey of the North American versions of the lining-out tradition and the distribution of Gaelic services in the Free Church of Scotland and other groups in the islands and throughout Scotland in the present day. Painstaking research in libraries and in discussion with older people in the Highland mainland is reflected in the detailed and carefully-referenced chapters.

The author, Stornoway-based Norman Campbell, states in the opening page that he wishes to 'add to the discussion' initiated by the claims of Prof Willie Ruff of Yale University that US Gospel music was influenced by the Gaelic-language lining-out worship tradition, brought to North Carolina by Highland settlers. The booklet is aimed at anyone interested in church and social history, bilingualism and cultural change, as well as areas such as the Islands, Ross-shire, Caithness and Sutherland.

All profits from the sale of the 32-page booklet, which costs �4.99, will go to the Bethesda Hospice and Care Home in Stornoway. The booklet is available for �5:75 (inc post and package) from Norman Campbell, 2 Garden Rd, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, HS1 2QJ.

dated 5.12.05

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Dec 05 - 09:51 PM

Rod Stradling's review/summary of the booklet above is at MT here. Not much to add to this discussion, but in case anyone's interested...


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Goose Gander
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 07:45 PM

Here's something related if anyone is interested . . . .

John Wyeth and the Development of Southern Folk Hymnody


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: blind will
Date: 26 Mar 06 - 01:31 AM

Hope nobody minds a late comer!

This has been a very interesting thread and has inspired me to write my first post on mudcat cafe.I've already learned things I didn't know before from others hear and some of my thinking has been corrected in the process.

The lined out genre that came from Britian (including Gaelic Psalm singing) was an important contribution to the early development of black religious music in the States.It also had impact on atleast some of what we call black gospel today (however watered down).But other European roots should not be overlooked.Nor should African factors not be considered.

One thing that would be good to remember is that black church/black religious music has come in a diversity of musical styles.Black American sacred song didn't all begin with one specific style or hybrid, with everything else following it's foot steps.This is a lengthy sample of it's diversity:

________________ Black Lining Out ________________

This black religious style (often called surge singing) was probably the first African/European hybrid to be common in black churches.It has African vocal qualities and other African traits, but shares the undanceable irregular rhythmn of white/British styles of Lining out.So far I've only heard one example of this type of singing (among black Americans) and it had the same slow focus as the whites I've heard, just extra slow.It sounded like a bunch of black men trying to sing at a funeral, not shure of what musical direction they were going to take.(Not a racist comment, just my way of describing it).The lyrics they were singing were from the popular Amazing Grace hymn, but to a totally different tune (and almost no tune).

__________ Ring Shout __________

In much contrast to the black lined out songs is the ring shout.This style is essentially an African type of music with little or no influence from European music, different sources suggesting that it's origin is in Africa.But it's emotional tendacys may often owe something to white religious fervor such as the "Irish Shouters" of 18th Century Ireland.It is characterised by a very repetitive sound, shouting, circle dancing, stomped out rhythmns (often sounding like a drum) and sometimes even yodelling or screaming.Put in the black spiritual category, it was not only found in black churches but also in the racially mixed revivals, Methodist meetings and camp services of the 18th and 19th centuries.While many whites questioned the ring shouts or thought they were pagan, other whites joined in and did it in their own white churches.In the 20th Century the ring shout was preserved in black Pentecostal/Holiness churches and echos of it's sound can be heard in the more dramatic and rocking types of black gospel today.

_____________________________ The Revival/Camp Meeting Song _____________________________

This style is more associated with the "white folk hymn" tradition, being more upbeat or regular than the lined out genre.But it initially began as the result of black slaves and whites freely singing together in the early American revival/Methodist/camp scene--causing a sound that mixed British based folk melodies (often drawing on ballads) with African music elements.It is characterised by simple and repeated texts, often using clapping, minor keys and a "flatted 7th scale".One song from this tradition is the popular "Give Me That Old Time Religion" sung for years in both black and white churches.It had a indirect influence on all the music we commonly call black gospel.

__________________________ Black Spiritual folk music __________________________

In it's original folk form, black spirituals came in atleast three styles: the very African ring shout (mentioned earlier), the partially formed blues or primitive blues style that often spoke of sorrow or death (sometimes sung in a ethereal unison blues chant) and the more upbeat/hopefull sounds of songs like Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.The common European musical elements that did crop up in the spritual folk song came from the white religious world that the slaves were exposed to.And most of that exposure came from two styles--the irregular lined out songs (including Gaelic Psalm tunes) and the more regular revival/camp meeting song.I have notised interesting similarities between Gaelic Psalm singing and the unison-blues chant I've heard from the black church.

_____________________ Barbershop Spirituals _____________________

A trend that began in the 19th century was singing black spirituals in close barbershop quartet harmony style.Barbershop itself was an originally black American style, despite it's strong European feel (atleast compelling evidence supports such a claim).It goes back to atleast the early 184O's and was popular in "black minstrel shows" where whites made fun of blacks.My own research suggests that it took much of it's smooth European sound from a type of 4 part harmony music that came to the States from Austria.(Mennonites of German origin also have a 4 part harmony music that bares strong similarities to barbershop).Mixed with elements of black spiritual song the smooth Austrian harmonies became barbershop, forming the foundation of all black American quartet harmony.By the early decades of the 20th Century, singing black spirituals in barbershop style became even more predominate, popularised by black university singers that were known as "jubilee quartets".Eventually the barbershop spirituals would spread from the universities to the black churches.By expanding this religious barbershop sound with new musical influences (eg. the gospel of Thomas Dorsey) the black gospel quartet sound began.

------------------------

The examples above already give an idea of the diverse roots of black gospel and black American religious music in general.Other styles such as a black tradition of sacred harp singing could also be cited.Eventually I will try to give a more direct look at black gospel as a whole, but first I'll wait for some possible feedback!


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 17 May 06 - 07:53 PM

Wow!

blind will, thank you so very much for that post. Somehow I missed reading it when it was first posted.

I hope that you don't mind that I'm including your comment on the "African Music Threads & Posts" thread. Though it's not 'souly' ;0) about African music, I feel your comments fit in that listing of threads about African music.

I hope that you are still part of the Mudcat community.

In case you miss this post, I'll pm you this message.

Best wishes, Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: blind will
Date: 11 Jul 06 - 09:56 PM

Azizi,

I just saw your reply to me tonight!

No problem with using my comments on the African thread you mentioned.I'll have to check it out some time.

**I hope that you are still part of the Mudcat community.**

Thanks.Hopefully I'll show my head a little more around hear in the future.And I'll probably do atleast one more post hear sometime.

Anyway, see you later!


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Jul 06 - 10:03 PM

Blind Will, sorry, I can't help it. In response to your last statement, I have ta say:

After while, crocodile!

:o}

****

I look forward to more comments from you, blind will!!!

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Jul 06 - 10:35 PM

Btw, Blind Will,

I know that you only gave us a teaser, but I'm wondering why you didn't mention call & response vocal [not to mention instrumental] patterns in your initial comments.

Just as background for some who may not be aware of this pattern, see this quote:

"One predominant style of music that is still retained and was brought to America during the slavery period of the early 1600s to 1865, is the call and response pattern in which a leader sings a line and the entire group answers. Typical styles also included drums and other percussion instruments played a complex rhythmic accompaniment. (Sound familiar? A good example of this call and response style with syncopated rhythms can be heard by Ray Charles who used this to great advantage on his hit "What'd I Say")."

Source: Crosscurrents: History of Gospel Music

That website begins the discussion of this subject with this quote:

"There can be little doubt that shouting is a survival of the African "possession" by the gods... it is a sign of special favor from the spirit that it chooses to drive out the individual consciousness temporarily and use the body for its express..."
-Zora Neal Hurston,
The Sanctified Church


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Jul 06 - 10:42 PM

Furthermore, blind will, since nothing complicated is ever simple, I'm hoping that you also would 'talk' about the influence of Caribbean music on African American religious music.

For those interested, here's a background quote:

"The Bongo Nation is a distinct group of Jamaicans descended from indentured servants. They are known for Kumina, which refers to both a religion and a form of music. Kumina's distinctive drumming style became one of the roots of Rastafarian drumming, itself the source of the distinctive Jamaican rhythm heard in ska, rocksteady and reggae.

The modern intertwining of Jamaican religion and music can be traced back to the 1860s, when the Pocomania and Revival Zion churches drew on African and Christian traditions and incorporated music into almost every facet of worship. Later, this trend spread into Hindu communities, made up of the many coolies (ethnic Indians on the island), resulting in baccra music. The spread of Rastafarianism into urban Jamaica in the 1960s transformed the Jamaican music scene, which incorporated nyabhingi drumming, played at grounation ceremonies into popular music."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Jamaica

-snip-


And here's an excerpt from another online article:

There are two compelling reasons why the study of Caribbean music should be more integrated into the larger field of American music. First, as scholars of world music have argued for some time, the Caribbean, the southern United States, and parts of coastal South America form a unified musical region where the fusion of European, African, and (occasionally) Amerindian traditions has shaped vernacular musical practice for centuries. Creolized Caribbean forms like the Cuban son, the Puerto Rican plena, the Trinidadian calypso, and Haitian Vodou music have much in common with American hybrid genres such as spirituals, blues, early jazz, and gospel music. Second, the diaspora of Caribbean music to the United States in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries has indelibly shaped the vernacular music cultures of urban centers like New Orleans, New York, and Miami. Moreover, transnational interchange among Caribbean, Latin, and North American urban centers promises to foster some of the new century's most imaginative popular styles."

ISAM Newsletter: Caribbean Roundup


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: blind will
Date: 12 Jul 06 - 10:39 PM

Azizi,

**I know that you only gave us a teaser, but I'm wondering why you didn't mention call and response vocal (not to mention instrumental).**

Sometimes when I fail to mention something it's because I forget to.But I didn't even think to mention the call and response pattern or think it was necessary (soft voice, not argumentive).I have discussed this elsewhere in musical discussion (on another site) but I didn't see the need this particular time (especialkly since it was mentioned earlier).From my perspective "call and response" is not really a style of music but a musical pattern that is found in alot of African music, varied black American styles (eg.blues,jazz,soul,rap,etc), and also some European forms such as the lining out of psalms and sea chantys.(Some black American work songs were black versions of British sea chantys).But you do make valid points on this musical pattern.

As far as instrumental patterns go, much of the black religious styles I have mentioned so far is pre-20th century sounds, and most of this religious music was a ccepela with no musical instruments.Though I did make a reference to the ringshout genre as having "stomped out rhythmns (often sounding like a drum)".Different sources suggest that drums were rare amongst black Americans prior to the 20th Century, and quite often banned.Plus the fact that most of the black slaves that came to the United states came from the northern savanna's, and in this area of Africa drums were not as common.Rather stringed instruments (especially the banya or what would later be called the banjo) was predominate.This would be a view supported by Tony Palmer's book "All You Need is Love:The story of Popular Music).I could also add that alot of the black African music that came to the States from the savanna's was shaped by Arabic influence.

In the 20th century drums would gradually become very common in black American music, and some of this drum playing (or drum machine rhythmns) shows clear inspiration from tribal African percussion.This is especially obvious in modern dance music forms such as house or Detroit techno (which began with blacks).But let me get back to black gospel, before things get to off topic....

Now as far as black gospel in the more recent 20th century/21rst century use of the term, I havn't even given much of my view on this yet.(I have deliberatly started with the earlier styles first and will try to get to the rest later.Speaking of rest it's past my bedtime, so I'll also get to your Carribean comments later!

PS. The following link gives a very staticy 1896 recording of a black spiritual that is done in barbershop harmony (by a black group), plus some interesting info on barbershop:

www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/barbershop


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Jul 06 - 12:07 AM

Blind Will, thanks for your comments.

I look forward this exchange of information. You wrote that you have discussed call & response " elsewhere in musical discussion (on another site)". Would you please post that site name and URL?

Btw, here is that link that you gave at the end of your last post:
NPR: Barbershop Quartets

****

Appreciating what you said, if I understood you correctly, I have some responses to specific comments you made in your last post.

You wrote:
"Different sources suggest that drums were rare amongst black Americans prior to the 20th Century, and quite often banned.Plus the fact that most of the black slaves that came to the United states came from the northern savanna's, and in this area of Africa drums were not as common."

-snip-
I'm not sure what you mean by the "northern savanna". Furthermore, my reading indicates that most of the African ancestors of Black Americans came from cultural areas that had rich drumming traditions.

See this excerpt from this article: MELT Press: Drums & The Origin Of Jazz

"Most of the slaves were taken from three main cultural regions: (1) the coastal rain forests of West Africa w ich includes the Yoruba, Ewe, Shanti, Fon, lbo and other Nigerian, Dahomeyan and Ghanaian tribes; (2) the savanna belt, which covers the coast of Guinea to the north of the Sudanese rainforest and includes largely Muslim groups such as the Wolof of what used to be called Senegambia, the Malinke of Guinea, the Haus and the Fulani of North Nigeria and surrounding areas, and the Mandigo, who cover as wide an area including Senegambia and what is now Sierra Leone; and (3) the Congo-Angolan area, populated largely by people of other language and culture groups, such as the Bantu. These group were into the Americas at different times, partly reflecting upheavals in Africa itself, much in the same manner that we are witnessing today with the influx of these same group into South Africa as a result of political and economic upheaval in the continent."
-snip-

Among other documentation of drum playing by enslaved African Americans, there is documentation of drumming in Congo Square in New Orleans.

See also this excerpt from that MELT Press article:

Besides the drums, other musical instruments and elements (marimbas, rhythm bells, maraccas and the role of the performer) made the Trans-Atlantic crossing. In 1775, in Georgia, US, slave-owners forbade drumming. lt was decreed by law that 'whatsoever master or overseer shall permit his slaves, at anytime hereafter, to beat drums, blow horns or other loud instruments, shall forfeit 30 shillings sterling for every such offence".

This edict was difficult to enforce and in 1811 legislators were still saying: "It is absolutely necessary to the safety of the province to retrain Negroes from using or keeping drums."

-snip-

See this website that shows photos of some West African drums:
West African Drums

Also see this excerpt about the Ngoma [drum] from Central Africa:
"Ngoma-General name for drum in Bantu language, this common term varies from central to southern Africa. In the Great Lakes area, for instance, "ingoma" means both "drum" and "kingdom".

When associated with festivities this drum becomes a dance instrument, but in ceremonies it is linked to royal or magical powers. Its form is generally conical or cylindrical, and can be played as an individual instrument or in an ensemble - sometimes with more than 25 players."
BBC Music..Echoes from Africa: Ngoma


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 13 Jul 06 - 12:17 AM

Blind Will, re-reading your comments I note that you said that "drums were rare amongst black Americans prior to the 20th Century, and quite often banned."

I concur with that statement. "Rare" doesn't mean it never happened. My difficulty is with the rest of your statement-"the fact that most of the black slaves that came to the United states came from the northern savanna's, and in this area of Africa drums were not as common."

****

Perhaps it doesn't need to be said, but let me say it anyway, I look forward to you continuing this discussion [and others joining in] not as a means of cherry picking what you write, but because this discussion is an opportunity to think, and share, and learn.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 08:13 AM

Hopefully, this conversation is far from over, though admittedly-at least for a time-it has branched off from a strict discussion of the thread's title.

For instance, I've been thinking of blind will's statement that "the fact that most of the black slaves that came to the United states came from the northern savanna's, and in this area of Africa drums were not as common"

Here's one of the online references that I found to the Cental African Savanna

-snip-

I'm not sure that I would agree that the majority of enslaved Africans came from Central Africa. The sense I got from my reading was that different ethnic groups were more heavily populated at different times. But generally, I've read that the majority of Africans who were enslaved came from West Africa {by 'came from' I mean were indigenous to-not got there by forced travel from Central Africa].

If you are saying that drums aren't a part of the music tradition of some Central African ethnic groups, that may indeed be true. I don't know enough about it to say yeah or nay. But what about the Conga drum that is so heavily used in Afro-Caribbean music? That drum gets its name from the Congo {Central Africa}.

And I found this quote about musical instruments and African cultures:

"Similar musical instruments are found throughout most of black Africa. However, the flora and culture found in any particular region influences the dominance of certain categories of instruments. Drums are for instance more popular in the forest regions of West Africa than in the tree-less savanna areas of southern Africa. Musical instruments often show a close link between sculpture and music."

A History of African Music

-snip-

But that quote refers to 'the tree-less savanna areas of southern Africa".

Also here's an excerpt from a Wikipedia article:

"The wide array of drums used in African traditional music include tama talking drums, bougarabou and djembe in West Africa, bendir in North Africa, water drums in Central and West Africa, and different types of drums often called engoma or ngoma in Central and Southern Africa."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Africa

And for what's its worth, since the late 1980s, West African djembe drums appears to have become The Drum of choice by Afrocentric African Americans. Prior that time {at least in the Eastern part of the USA}, African American people [almost always men] who played drums at African festivals and other ethnic cultural or spiritual events were playing Conga drums and bongo drums. I'm not sure where 'bongo' drums came from-but I think they're of Central African origin.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 09:11 AM

Correction:

But generally, I've read that the majority of Africans who were enslaved in the USA came from West Africa {by 'came from' I mean were indigenous to-not got there by forced travel from Central Africa].

****

Also, here's an online quote about Congo drums:

"We have observed a marked morphological similarity between the oldest forms of the conga drum and the ngoma drum. Likewise there are resemblances to various versions of the makuta drums. Most important perhaps is the barrel shape of the drum; moreover the fact that both the ngoma and makuta drums have heads of tacked-on cowhide makes them likely ancestors of the Cuban conga drum. The first tumbadoras had their skins or heads tacked directly to the upper opening of the shell in a manner similar to drums brought by people of Congo or Bantu origin to Cuba...

The ngoma drums, also known as palo ("stick") drums, were the instruments used in ceremonies and celebrations of the Palo Order. This religion was brought to Cuba by various ethnic groups of the Bantu peoples. The ngoma ensemble may have two, three or four drums of different sizes which together produce complicated cross-rhythms. In general these drums are barrel-shaped, although sometimes they may also be of a tubular cylindrical shape. They have a single head stretched over the upper opening while the lower end is open. The head is tacked to the wooden body of the instrument and its tone is brightened by placing it near a fire."

Source: A History of the Congas [A Cuban Perspective]


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: LadyJean
Date: 15 Jul 06 - 12:52 AM

When I was a very small child, living in East Liberty, Azzizi, an African American woman who worked for my mother used to sing, "Where oh where is dear old Joseph. where oh where is dear old Joseph. Where oh where is dear old Joseph, way down yonder in the promised land." There were also verses about Moses and Elijah. The tune was in a major key, soft enough to put a small girl to sleep.
I have lately encountered a shape note hymn that begins "Where are the Hebrew Children? Where are the Hebrew Children? Where are the Hebrew Children? Safe in the promised land". The openning verse refers to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Two more verses are about the 12 apostles and the "holy Christians". The tune is in a minor key, with a sharper rhythym. But it's a pretty safe bet the songs are related.

Everybody in the word tells a variant of the story of Cinderella. They don't always tell it the same way. But always a low status girl is given nice clothes, and attracts a high status male who recognizes her by her shoe. The collective unconscious is a wonderful thing.

My 8 generations back grandfather was a Presbyterian minister in South Carolina. In 1810 he preached that slavery was wrong. Which led to a split in his congregation. He and the anti slavery faction moved to fairhaven Ohio. I have seen the church they built and his grave. Shortly afterwards the congregation split again. This time there was a faction who thought the church should have a pump organ. So we were lining hymns in 1810 and after.   (The church in Fairhave now has a small electric organ.)


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Jul 06 - 05:04 AM

LadyJean.

I appreciate your comments. I didn't know that you grew up in East Liberty-the section of Pittsburgh where I live now...

So you're Really my homie!

I found the story of your grandfather to be particularly interesting and emotionally compelling. Thanks for sharing it. Churches are still spliting up because of serious and not so serious reasons.

Re: those "where or where song" In my head when I read them, I sung the words to the tune "Paw Paw Patch".

I couldn't get the Mudcat Search engine to work [or I got impatient waiting for it to work] so I checked out google and found that song and the tune here:

http://www.songsforteaching.com/folk/pawpawpatch.htm

I had never known there was a religious version of this song. And given the way secular songs work-its probably that the religious version came first...but its likely we will never know.


****

I'm sorry, Shambles for going off topic so much in this thread.

The topic of Black Gospel music is very important to me, and I admit to getting swept away in the history of that topic more than in your specific question of the Gaelic roots of that music form.

I very much recognize that this general discussion is far afield from the specific topic of gospel music in gaelic. If this thread remains open, I'll henceforth limit any comments I make to that specific topic.

Perhaps there is another thread on Black Gospel Music. If no such thread exist yet-and if someone wants to start one, I'll probably join in the discussion. I think I've started enough threads for a while...

Again, sorry. I meant no harm.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Jul 06 - 10:19 AM

FYI, I have started a thread on Black Gospel-roots, styles, examples

My reasons for starting that thread are noted in the thread's initial comment.

That thread will include links to and possibly reposting excerpts of some of the comments I made in this thread.

I have enjoyed all of the discussion that has occurred in this thread, and may continue to provide comments here-but if so, they will be on topic.

Thank you.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: blind will
Date: 17 Jul 06 - 11:41 PM

Azizi,

I have prepared an answer to some of your more off topic comments.Where would the appropraiate spot be to answer them? Some of it isn't even directly on the subject of black gospel.

I'm also part way done in preparing my look at black gospel in the more 20/21rst century sense.Hopefully I can put that part hear, since it's meant to be follow up to my initial post hear.But I guess I'll have to check if it has enough Gaelic content, which is challenging because any of the Celtic/Gaelic roots of modern black gospel tends to be very indirect or drowned out by other European/African roots.It may take going through a musical microscope.I can think of one black gospel group whose early music was indirectly shaped by the white lining out style of the Appalachian/Primitive Baptists (which has a Celtic tinge), but I'm not shure it has any connection to the Gaelic Scottish variation of this style.For now I'll keep you and others guessing wich group I'm refering to.

Gaelic roots could have come into black gospel in different ways.For example alot of black gospel (not all of it) has been shaped by jazz music, and jazz music is indirectly influenced by jig music.Likely that would include jigs of the Irish or other Celtic people (perhaps even some Gaelic speaking people), but jig music was also a non Celtic/English type of music as well.So I'm not shure if there are Gaelic roots in this way, though the possibility is there.


Anyway, I must go now.

PS. I hope you don't mind if I'm a bit slow or take a bit to get back to you sometimes.It probably won't be a two month wait this time!


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 18 Jul 06 - 11:48 AM

If there's no evidence of them being removed how can they be replaced?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Jul 06 - 12:03 PM

For the record, in the second part of my 15 Jul 06 - 05:04 AM post, I was responding to a post from Shambles that I recall requesting that this thread be closed.

****

blind will, you wrote: "I have prepared an answer to some of your more off topic comments.Where would the appropraiate spot be to answer them? Some of it isn't even directly on the subject of black gospel."

It's your choice where you want to post your comments. If you are particularly wanting me to know that you have posted comments-on any subject and in any threaduse the private message system to inform me about those postings.


Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Jul 06 - 12:05 PM

sorry-let me correct that typo in my last sentence:

If you are particularly wanting me to know that you have posted comments-on any subject and in any thread, you could use the private message system to inform me about those postings.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Jul 06 - 12:17 PM

I'm quite sure there is a valid distinction between hymns, spirituals and gospel--but I don't have the foggiest idea where they differ. Clearly, gospel as we know it today is a melding of older spirituals with blues scales and phrasing and a healthy infusion of barbershop singing.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: blind will
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 09:39 PM

**If there's no evidence of them being removed how can they be replaced?"

I think this question may have been directed at me.If I understand the question, I wouldn't say the that any Gaelic/Celtic roots have been removed from modern day black gospel.But I think alot of it is more distantly related or more watered down then some of the earlier black religious music that preceeded it

I'll explain it this way.Let's say you have a musical style that is a Gaelic/African hybrid, which is 50% Gaelic and 50 % African.And let's say you have another kind of hybrid song that is 50% Swedish and 50% Jewish.Now if you combine these two musical hybrids so there mixed evenly, you would end up with a third kind of music with 25% Gaelic content.If we were keep this game up we could bring the Gaelic content down to even more watered down porportions.Perhaps this isn't the best way of explaining it, but atleast I tried.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: blind will
Date: 24 Jul 06 - 11:56 PM

Now to follow up and continue where I left off from my initial post.I will attempt to give a look at how 20th/21rst century black gospel developed:

From the 17th century to 19th century the vast majority of sacred music in the United States was a cappella--both among whites and blacks.While there was some diversity of style in this a cappella religious music, much of the singing shared a raw folk quality and often used the pentatonic five note scale (which was common to both the African and British heritage that came to the States).Sometimes the music was modal or in a minor key.

But one of the exceptions to the rule, came with the 19th Century arrival of the "gospel song" or "gospel hymn".The music began as a urban white hymn style in the nothern States, which had composed melodies, was typically played on musical instruments and was always diatonic and in a major key.This was the type of hymn music that the popular Fanny J. Crosby wrote with such songs as "Blessed Assurance" and "To God Be The Glory", and so often played on piano and organ.It took some of it's inspiration from the earlier camp meeting/revival song tradition (that a cappella mingling of African and British derived folk that originated in racialy mixed services).But it also drew heavily from 19th century secular music sources--especialy "parlour music" and sentimental songs, as well as marching tunes.These particular secular influences gave the music a more polished or "correct" European quality that suggest a link to the "central old European zone" (eg. southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland, northern Italy, etc).European hymn melodies and church songs of a similar quality like those of Martin Luther (German) or "Silent Night" (melody written by an Austrian) would easily mix into the repertoire of churches who did gospel hymns.

Around the turn of the 2Oth century, black Americans began to take the white gospel hymn and blend it with sounds derived from the black spiritual (a typically a cappella music that often had a blues or bluesy quality built into it).This created what is known as the "black gospel hymn", which is said to have originated with Charles A. Tindley.(Tindley published his first song collection in 1901 and composed the popular "Stand By Me" in 1905).Tindley originated or helped to pioneer this first style of black gospel (in the more modern use of the term) and this was long before Thomas A. Dorsey was given the title of "father of gospel".

A second wave of black gospel came as the early black gospel hymn form began to mix with such popular sounds as ragtime, jazz, blues, and boogie woogie, or with the Pentecostal/Holiness survivals of "slave sounds"--the shouts and screams of the highly African ring shout, the rhythmic preaching or the old religious bluesy chanting.(These kind of sounds would also continue in some other black churches).

Thomas A. Dorsey was of course one of the very important and influential figures in this second wave of black gospel.He created the style he is know for by drawing on the black gospel hymn of Charles A. Tindley (whom he always acknowleged his dept to) and mixing it up with his background in blues/jazz and sounds from black spirituals (already an ingredient of Tindley's sound).By the time he wrote his first sacred song of the "blues gospel" variety it was 1928.Around this same period and before there were others who were coming up with a similar fushion as Doresy.One of those was Mahalia Jackson who is said to have come to her fully formed style by her mid teens (in the late 1920's), a style that mixed the black gospel she heard in church (both of her Baptist upbringing and that of the Sanctified church) with the blues/jazz of singers like Ma Rainee and Bessie Smith.Later in the 30's she would begin her recording career, a repertoire that would include both gospel songs of Dorsey, black spirituals and the Austrian born melody of Silent Night.Occassionaly the od song of hers would have some barbershop/quartet type harmoies in the background.

Another important and influential figure (though much less known) is a woman by the name of Arizona Dranes.She helped to shape the likes of future gospel singers like Clara Ward and Sister Rosetta Tharpe).Coming from a Pentecostal denomination called the Church Of God In Christ, she began performing her brand of gospel in the 20's and recorded from 1926 to 1928.As a singer and pianist her style drew very heavily on ragtime or a kind of boogie woogie/ragtime fushion, which was mixed up with a lively type of gospel.A kind of gospel sound that has echos of the old white gospel hymns--but done in a shouting voice and occassionaly screaming.Not only can boogie woogie be detected in atleast some of her tracks (a type of blues related music), but the blues can be heard in the singing at times.An example of a blusy singing track is "Bye and bye Were Going To See the King".She was recording bluesy gospel before Dorsey.And some of her songs were recorded with choir or other singers (including some quartet/barbershop type harmonies on atleast one track).

Continued tommorro with what I call "the third stream of black gospel": The black gospel quartet.It's getting to late.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 06:20 AM

Will, The comment wasn't aimed at you but it's kicked off a couple of interesting posts so...


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: blind will
Date: 25 Jul 06 - 08:37 PM

Manitas at Work, Ok.It's good to hear that I didn't put you to sleep.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: blind will
Date: 26 Jul 06 - 01:50 AM

Continuing where I left off from my previous big post....

A third stream that came to be indentified with the black gospel label is what is known as the black gospel quartet.Though the term "black gospel quartet" was first used in 1851 (according to book author Alan young), today it refers to a type of black quartet singing that developed somewhere in the 20's and 30's and what followed in it's footsteps.

To trace it's roots we have to first go back to the genre of barbershop quartet harmony (which was it's strongest inspiration in the beginning).Some of this will be a bit of a repeat and some of it new--but my research so far sais it was an originaly black American style (despite it's strong European feel).It goes back to atleast the early 1840's and was commonly sung by black minstrel singing groups, both the whites who blackened their faces and the authentic black groups who would appear on the minstrel stage.Recently on mudcat I read about one of those minstrel groups traveling to South Africa in the 19th Century and having a strong influence on South African music in that time.Chances are these South Africans were exposed to barbershop harmonies and if so it might be linked to the barbershop quality that can be heard in Ladysmith Black Mambazo (probably the most popular black groups of that country).

But before I get to off topic hear, one of my sources suggest that barbershop harmonies are linked to a craze of 4-part Austrian harmony in the 1830's.Meanwhile some of my other sources say it comes from a blend of black spirituals and European church music (though they never really give any specifics on the last part).Interestingly enough, the only European type church music I have heard that bares strong similarities to barbershop is a part harmony music from Mennonites (who have some of there strong roots in Germany--right next door to Austria, though there founder is from Holland).So this gives some credibility to some kind of Austrian and European religious connection to barbershop and the black Gospel quartet that followed.And it's alleged roots in black spirituals are clearly supported by the long black tradition of singing spirituals in barbershop harmony (going back to the 1800's), and the black religious groups of the genre who became known as "jubilee quartets".The use of the term "jubilee quartet" is said to have began in or around 1905 with the Fisk University Jubilee Quartet of Nashville Tennesse, who focused on the singing of spirituals.

Around the beginning of the 1920's a new type of black religious quartet sound was beginning to emerge, which was still called "jubilee quartet" but was given a syncopated jazzy feel and sometimes a clear nod to the blues.This began with a Virginia group by the name of "The Norfolk Jubillee Quartet" who recorded from 1921 to 1940, though they also did secular music under the name "The Norfolk Jazz Quartet.(They initialy put the emphasis on secular material).They would become the most important and most influential of the pre-war black religious quartets.Soon other religious quartets in the 20's and 30's such as the Fairfield Four and Golden Gate Quartet began to perform and record under their influence (some of them also shaped by the Mill's Brother's, a mostly secular group that mixed up jazz and barbershop).And at some point these jazzed up quartets also began to flavor there music with the new gospel sounds of the black church, like that of Thomas Dorsey or the rhythmic feel of rural black preachers.Meanwhile you have an od ball group of the 30's called "the Heavenly Gospel Singers" who appear to have no jazz influence, mixing the older style of "jubilee quartet' with a slow type of hymn music from southern black churches (black gospel hymns I would assume).But on this last group I'm going purely by what I have read.Most did not escape the jazz influence.Quite often all of these newer kind of "jubilee quartets" of the 20's and 30's are considered "black gospel quartet", even though in some cases it may be just a combination of barbershop with jazz (with no connection to the first two types of black gospel I mentioned).Music labels can be funny or even confusing at times!

Gradually the older "jubilee quartet" style of the 20's and 30's (super heavy emphasis on barbershop) faded into popularity to a new breed of quartets.These quartets put less emphasis on the barbershop type harmonies, and drew more on the new black gospel sounds then they did before (especialy that of the Pentecostal kind).They also added musical instruments such as piano, bass, electric guitar and drums, and experimented with new appproaches.

Alot of these kind of black gospel quartets were also known as "hard gospel" for there use of edgy, harsh, sometimes brutaly rough singing that echos some of the more extreme singing of the black Pentecostal church.But this was blended and contrasted with smooth harmonies and often had gentler moments on the lead vocals.One of the most popular examples of "hard gospel" is the Soul Stirrers (when R.H. Harris led the group.

continued...This is taking me to long!


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: blind will
Date: 26 Jul 06 - 02:35 AM

Continuing on black gospel quartets...

One of my favourites of black gospel is a very unique black gospel quartet known as The Staple Singers (though they would eventualy go secular and change their style).Beginning to record in the 1950's it was a family quartet that had shared lead vocals by "Pop" Roebuck Staples and his daughter Mavis.Their sound was led by Pop's electric guitar and often rocking on the drums, drawing on Mississipi blues guitar and country and westernPop's lead vocals have more of a country twang, while Mavis has a lively, often edgey soulful voice that is reminiscent of both the Pentecostal church and soul singers like Aretha Franklin (though I prefer Mavis).Meanwhile the vocal harmony parts echo both the barbershop roots of gospel quartet, and country and western harmony.At times I seem to detect a subtle tinge of bluegrass harmony.If I'm hearing right this would connect the early Staple Singers harmony to both Sacred Harp singing and the Appalachian style of Lining out that is sung by the Primitive Baptists (with it's Celtic tinge).Because this type of southern church singing had a huge impact on bluegrass singing.

Well that's basically my look at the roots of black gospel.From the three types of black gospel I mentioned, things have evolved to where they are today.The emphasis these days is the kind of gospel that evolved from the likes of Dorsey and others similar to his kind.Of course many today are taking inspiration from current sounds of the time and adding it to the gospel style.But this was no different then what Dorsy did in his day.

Hopefully what I have written helps to answer the question of this thread.Or atleast give some clues.


PS.I'll admit my last post got kind of bogged down in the details.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: blind will
Date: 26 Jul 06 - 08:32 PM

Ps. On my 26 Jul O6-01:50 am post, 2nd last paragrah, I forgot to write that "These groups are known as "progressive quartets" and were popular from the 40's to 60's".By including this statement it will cause the last paragragh on that post to make more sense.I also messed up on my following post by putting two sentences together witout a period.(It was getting late).

I have some other comments (not as long) which will point even more directly to the Gaelic question of this thread, while tying it in to the history I shared.Plus some more music samples--comparing rural black spiritual singing to Lining Out of white Appalachian singers, and looking at how this might relate to black gospel today.But I'll do that another day and wait for others to give more of their 2 cents.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar 05
From: blind will
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 03:31 AM

No one has responded yet, but I hope this folowing post will stir some more interest:

The idea that Black Gospel has roots in Gaelic Psalm singing (just one variation of the British lined out style), is similar to an idea I began to have several years ago.My idea was that blues music had some connection to the British lined out genre, though I assumed lining out originated in England and had no Celtic connections.My reason for this conclusion was in trying to find the European roots of the blues.I had read that blues was a blend of African and Northwestern European/British roots (eg. It's use of 3 or 4 stanzas set to simple meters).But I wanted specifics.I wanted to know what specific type of NW European/British music was a root to the blues.And I knew logically that if blues was actually a blend of African and NW European, then there should be both African And NW European white music that has similarities to it.

My clue to the NW European roots of the blues was the church, knowing that blues was closely related to the sacred black spiritual and hearing what I considered to be an early primitive stage of blues from the black church.It seemed as if the blues originated as one of the ways of singing black spirituals and chants in the black church.So I looked for some type of white church music to be a NW European root to the blues, something that could have effected black spirituals of the bluesy kind.When I read about a genre of white/British church music that had call and response patterns and singing preachers who had their congregation respond to them, I believed I found the answer: the British lined out song.This was strengthened by my knowledge that blacks had their own version of this white lined out music, sharing some common characteristics.With this belief that British lining out and blues were connected, I decided that the NW European origins of lining out had to be England and not the Celtic lands of Britian (since I heard no Celtic in the blues).

It wouldn't be till years later that I actualy heard lining out, by searching sound clips of it on the internet.My first exposure to it was that of the Appalachian Primitive Baptists and it excited my ears, because I finally got to hear a white Euro-style church music that sounded similar to both the blues and the bluesy type of black spirituals (not to mention a clear descendent to bluegrass singing and a notisable Celtic tinge).It helped to confirm my belief in the connection, though my belief in no Celtic roots were changed.Later I discovered Gaelic Psalm singing and was led to believe that lining out originated as a Celtic music and not non-Celtic English music like I originaly thought.What I heard with Gaelic Psalm singing also excited me.It had some common structures to that of the Appalachian Primitive Baptists and some blues like qualities.But it lacked the strong bluegrass like quality and seemed to have a much thicker Celtic sound, with a presenter who sounded like a Scottish man trying to imitate an Arab-Islamic chant of the mosque.Having read a controversial view on Arab/Islamic roots of blues, I wondered if any of the Arab like similarities in blues were actualy connected to Gaelic Psalm singing.Then finally in my internet travels I came across this thread and discovered lining out actualy did originate in England after all, changing me partialy back to my former position.

The ultimate test to my musical theory would be hearing the black American version of lining out and in all my internet search for soundclips I have only found one single sample.And that sample sounded very little like the blues, though it did share some of the same strucure as other types of lining out.This put doubts in my mind about my idea of a blues/lining out connection, though there might be other examples of black lining out that come closer to the bluesy style.Nethertheless when I compare the white lining out I've heard (especially that of the white Primitive Baptists) to bluesy black spirituals and chants, there is still an interesting similarity.And this is of course relevent to this thread, since black spirituals are an important root to all all modern black gospel, and blues an influence on so much of it.

Hear are a couple of web pages (that I tried to make into links) where you can hear lining out of white Appalachian Primitive Baptists and compare it to black sprituals and bluesy black church songs (atleast one of the tracks by a black Primitive Baptist church):

http://www.folkways.si.edu/search/AlbumDetails.aspx?ID=2653
(for Appalachian lining out of white Primitive Baptists)

And:

http://www.folkways.si.edu/search/AlbumDetails.aspx?ID=831#
(for black spirituals and bluesy black church songs)

When comparing songs of both pages, especialy compare the bluesy white lining out song clalled "I Am a Pilgrim Of Sorrow" with the unison bluesy track of the Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church called "Prayer Meeting" (which is a black chanting music).Also take note of Dock Reed singing a black spiritual called "Jesus Goin'To Make Up My Dyin'Bed" which sounds like straight up a cappella blues (atleast to my ears).Some of the tracks though I would describe more as a half formed blues/pre-blues style.

Now if by chance my idea is wrong that white lining out is related to the blues/bluesy kind of black spiritual, then I believe there is only one more option: the revival/camp meeting song.Most of the musical exposure that the slaves had to the white religious world (prior to the trend toward black spirituals) was of two different genres: the slow solemn lining out with their irregular structure and the revival/camp meeting songs which blacks and whites sang together (and in their own gatherings).The revival/camp meeting style began initialy by taking hymn lyrics of people like John Wesley and Isaac Watts and setting it to popular melodies of the day:British/Anglo-American folk songs (quite often ballads).These melodies would be sung by racialy mixed crowds of blacks and whites, resulting in African sounds blending in and probably giving it's repeated texts and added choruses.Interestingly some people like Alan Lomax seem to believe that blues originated as a combination of British ballad and African, the same kind of combination that existed in so many revival/camp meeting songs.And in these same songs the "flated 7th scale" that is associated with blues was common.

So I conclude that the bluesy spiritual/chanting of the black church has it's white connections in either lining out (with Celtic/English overtones, possibly of Gaelic Psalm variety) or the camp meeting songs with their British folk/ballad elements (probably owing something to both English and Celtic).It's possible that it could have taken something from both church songs, and perhaps something of the earlier lined out style rubbed off on the revival/camp music.One way or another I believe these kind of English/Celtic white church sounds blended with a heavy dose of African to create the bluesy and "Swing Low Chariot" types of black spiritual song.From there these black spirituals would blend with types of music that are strongly impacted by mainland/central Europe (such as Austria and Germany) resulting in the first black religious quartet singing and the black American hymn style.The next stage in the stylistic development of black American gospel music is to add sounds from popular culture like "secular blues", ragtime and jazz (which both owe something to European marches and jigs), and sounds from the Pentecostal church--especialy the African styled ring shouts.This is a summary of the foundations of modern black gospel, in which even more spices keep being added to the mix: sounds from secular soul/r&b, reggae, rock, and even rap at times.So that's a quick summary of the 2Oth/21rst Century sounds we call black gospel today.

So is black gospel as we know it today Gaelic or Gaelic rooted?

Not exclusively, that's for shure.It may or may not have any connection to Gaelic psalm singing.It does however have roots in British music (the English and Celtic peoples I believe), but that is only one piece to the puzzle which must be put together with pieces from Africa and mainland/central Europe.


PS. there is an error I notised from another post of mine, but will correct it later.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: TinDor
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 09:56 AM

Hi, everbody, I just found this great site and wanted to respond to this post.

Just to answer the question, I wouldn't call "Black Gosepl" music Gaelic/European. When people bring up "Gospel" music they're usually talking about or refering to a certain type of vocal/musical style and rhythmic feeling. Based on that, I would say Black Gospel music is musically "African". What would call European would just be hese early hymns the slaves learned and of the course the religion the slaves were introduced to. The musical style/qualities of "Black Gospel-Negro Spirtuals" can clearly be found in African music. IMO, the African-American guy Ruff, is doing a little with his claims of origin.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: TinDor
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:40 AM

Gospel - The Early Beginnings

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DklnNHLoORk&feature=related

^^ Various clips from a docu on Black Gospel music above. Listen to/from 3:53-5:10 to see the difference between European "Lining Out" and what is described as "African raising the hymn".

Blind Will posted:

"The ultimate test to my musical theory would be hearing the black American version of lining out and in all my internet search for soundclips I have only found one single sample.And that sample sounded very little like the blues, though it did share some of the same strucure as other types of lining out.This put doubts in my mind about my idea of a blues/lining out connection, though there might be other examples of black lining out that come closer to the bluesy style"

Here goes a great comparison..

Scottish roots in AfroAmerican music?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQJeM1X8lDw&

^^A comparsion of Gaelic/Watts "Lining Out" vs AfroAmerican doing the same style of "Lining Out"

as you can see in the nest example, that Watts lining out style doesn't sound anything like the West/Central AFrican derived call and response style in AfroAmerican spirutauls below..

Difference between Call & Response (African style) and Lining Out (gaelic-watts)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si9H1D1xhNI&feature=related

On the Blues style, it's almost pseudo Arabised Islamic in sound. Not too similar to the Gaelic sound at all

Muslim roots in AfroAmerican music?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns8ZsAFWiVk&feature=related

""Levee Camp Holler" is no ordinary song. It's the product of ex-slaves who worked moving earth all day in post-Civil War America. It has lyrics that, like the call to prayer, speak about a glorious God. But it's the song's melody and note changes that closely resemble one of Islam's best-known refrains. Like the call to prayer, "Levee Camp Holler" emphasizes words that seem to quiver and shake in the reciter's vocal chords. Dramatic changes in musical scales punctuate both "Levee Camp Holler" and the adhan. A nasal intonation is evident in both.

Upward of 30 percent of the African slaves in the United States were Muslim, and an untold number of them spoke and wrote Arabic, historians say now.

Coincidence or not, this traditional AfroAmerican folk music possesses features that are found in Islamic African music and hardly at all in other styles.

Grehart Kubik, a musicologist who specializes in African rain-forest music, concludes: "Many traits that have been considered unusual, strange and difficult to interpret by earlier blues researchers can now be better understood as a thoroughly processed and transformed Arabic-Islamic stylistic component. What makes the blues different from African American music in the Caribbean and in South America is, after all, its Arabic-Islamic stylistic ingredients."


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:56 AM

TimDor, welcome to Mudcat!

Thanks for your interesting and informative comments, and for including links to YouTube videos.

I look forward to reading more of your posts.

See ya around the 'Cat.

Share! Learn! Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: TinDor
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 12:10 PM

Thanks Azizi!

More on African dervived qualities that can be found in Black Gospel/Negro spirtuals

Africans in the New World certainly brought their own traditions with them, although they were often prevented from overtly practicing those traditions. But far from being lost, these traditions surfaced nevertheless, often blended with elements acceptable to whites, such as religious ceremonies or seemingly patriotic fife and drum ensembles. Most of those enslaved came originally from West Africa, and there were a number of different tribes in this region. (8) However, the music of these different tribes does share some common components. Samuel A. Floyd, Jr. describes these components

          as the characterizing and foundational elements of African-American music: calls, cries and hollers; call-and-response devices; additive rhythms and polyrhythms; heterophony, pendular thirds, blue notes, bent notes and elisions; hums, moans, grunts, vocables and other rhythmic-oral declamations, interjections and punctuations; off-beat melodic phrasings and parallel intervals and chords; constant repetition of rhythmic and melodic figures and phrases (from which riffs and vamps would be derived); timbral distortions of various kinds; musical individuality within collectivity; game rivalry; hand-clapping, foot-patting and approximations thereof; apart playing; and the metronomic pulse that underlies all African-American music


"Slave Songs of the United States" By William Francis Allen, 1830-1889

description of the vocal technique(s)the slaves used when singing these spirituals...

       As stated in Slaves Songs In The United States,

"The best that we can do, however, with paper and types, or even with voices, will convey but a faint shadow of the original. The voices of the colored people have a peculiar quality that nothing can imitate; and the intonation and delicate variations of even one singer cannot be reproduced on paper. And I despair of conveying any notion of the effect of a number singing together."

"And what makes it all the harder to unravel a thread of melody out of this strange network is that, like birds, they seem not infrequently to strike sounds that cannot be precisely represented by the gamut, and abound in "slides" from one note to another, and turns and cadences not in articulated notes." "It is difficult to express the entire character of these Negro ballads by mere musical notes and signs. The odd turns made in the throat, and the curious rhythmic effect produced by single voices chiming in at different irregular intervals, seem almost as impossible to place on the score as the singing of birds or the tones of an Aeolian Harp."


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 03:31 PM

" . . . I wouldn't call "Black Gospel" music Gaelic/European. When people bring up "Gospel" music they're usually talking about or refering to a certain type of vocal/musical style and rhythmic feeling. Based on that, I would say Black Gospel music is musically "African" . . . ."

Black Gospel music is neither European nor African, it's American, with antecedents from both African and European music. No one in Ghana ever sang 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'.
"Coincidence or not, this traditional AfroAmerican folk music possesses features that are found in Islamic African music and hardly at all in other styles."

Which features?

'Grehart Kubik, a musicologist who specializes in African rain-forest music, concludes: "Many traits that have been considered unusual, strange and difficult to interpret by earlier blues researchers can now be better understood as a thoroughly processed and transformed Arabic-Islamic stylistic component. What makes the blues different from African American music in the Caribbean and in South America is, after all, its Arabic-Islamic stylistic ingredients."'

If the blues contains features specific to Arabic-Islamic music, why wouldn't these same elements manifest themselves in Caribbean or South American music? Were there no African Muslims in these regions?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 04:16 PM

TinDor,

I hope that you accept my apology for typing your name wrong.

That was accidental, but you'll find that we Mudcatters love play on words. As it is, I'm restraining myself from making any reference to any other kind of door.

:o}

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: TinDor
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 04:36 PM

Michael Morris wrote:

"Black Gospel music is neither European nor African, it's American, with antecedents from both African and European music. No one in Ghana ever sang 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"

Michael Morris, my point is that it's musical qualities are African derived. Basically, if you were to remove or ignore it's religious subject matter, musically/rhytmically/vocally/tonally, it would be no different from the African music Im talking about.

Micahel Morris wrote:

"Coincidence or not, this traditional AfroAmerican folk music possesses features that are found in Islamic African music and hardly at all in other styles."

Which features?

Michael Morris, I gave some of these features above...

However, the music of these different tribes does share some common components. Samuel A. Floyd, Jr. describes these components

as the characterizing and foundational elements of African-American music: calls, cries and hollers; call-and-response devices; additive rhythms and polyrhythms; heterophony, pendular thirds, blue notes, bent notes and elisions; hums, moans, grunts, vocables and other rhythmic-oral declamations, interjections and punctuations; off-beat melodic phrasings and parallel intervals and chords; constant repetition of rhythmic and melodic figures and phrases (from which riffs and vamps would be derived); timbral distortions of various kinds; musical individuality within collectivity; game rivalry; hand-clapping, foot-patting and approximations thereof; apart playing; and the metronomic pulse that underlies all African-American music

"Slave Songs of the United States" By William Francis Allen, 1830-1889

description of the vocal technique(s)the slaves used when singing these spirituals...

As stated in Slaves Songs In The United States,

"The best that we can do, however, with paper and types, or even with voices, will convey but a faint shadow of the original. The voices of the colored people have a peculiar quality that nothing can imitate; and the intonation and delicate variations of even one singer cannot be reproduced on paper. And I despair of conveying any notion of the effect of a number singing together."

"And what makes it all the harder to unravel a thread of melody out of this strange network is that, like birds, they seem not infrequently to strike sounds that cannot be precisely represented by the gamut, and abound in "slides" from one note to another, and turns and cadences not in articulated notes." "It is difficult to express the entire character of these Negro ballads by mere musical notes and signs. The odd turns made in the throat, and the curious rhythmic effect produced by single voices chiming in at different irregular intervals, seem almost as impossible to place on the score as the singing of birds or the tones of an Aeolian Harp."

Michael Morris wrote:

"If the blues contains features specific to Arabic-Islamic music, why wouldn't these same elements manifest themselves in Caribbean or South American music? Were there no African Muslims in these regions?

Michael Morris, itis said that the United States had more Muslim/Senegambian-Sahelian slaves than anyone outside of Brazil. The other factor is that hand drumming culture was banned in the United Sates whereas in Brazil, it was the main AFrican music.

Some interesting info:

"Senegambian peoples, many of whom were Muslims, were some of the first enslaved Africans brought to America. Many of these Senegambians were familiar with rice cultivation and as European settlers experimented with rice in the 17th century, these Senegambians passed on their knowledge, thus shaping the development of rice cultivation in America. Thereafter, planters in South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana preferred enslaved Africans from Senegambia because of their experience in rice cultivation. This would explain in part why Americans imported a relatively large proportion of Senegambians. In French Louisiana, a captain was instructed "to try to purchase several blacks who know how to cultivate rice."

Distinct characteristics of AfromericanA Blues music that are found in Senegambian/Sahel music that aren't found in Carribean/West Indian or Afro-Latino music. "The absence of polyrhythm and asymmetric time-lines and the presence of emphasis instead of off-beats in blues and early jazz are also characteristic of Sahel music. On the other hand, the music of the rain forest and the Congo with its heavy emphasis on drumming is characterized by polyrhythms and asymmetric time-lines and its influence is reflected in the black music of the Caribbean and South America.[52] Arguments that the drum was prohibited in the U.S. and that enslaved Africans lived in closer proximity to whites are not persuasive because drums are not the only means to express polyrhythms and the cultural impulse for polyrhythm would not have been totally stifled by the influence of white culture. A more plausible answer is the influence of Sahel culture in the development of African American music"

"Like the blues, Sahel music typically uses pentatonic scales that allows inflections and shadings of notes (the blues notes) as well as the use of a central tone reference, often a drone stroke which renders it "out of turn" around which the melody revolves.[54] The blues tonality is not found in rain forest and Congo music or in Latin American music"

"In 1968 he [the Mali musician Ali Farka Toure] heard a recording of John Lee Hooker and was entranced. Initially he thought Hooker was playing music derived from Mali. Several Malian song forms?including musical traditions of the Bambara, Songhay and Fulani ethnic groups?rely on minor pentatonics (five note) scales which are similar to the blues scales"

"The blues and jazz style of bending notes, melisma (ornamental phrasing of several notes in one syllable which is typical of the Muslim call to prayer), slurs, and raspy voices are all characteristics of music in the Sahel zone. These aspects of Sahel music are undoubtedly a direct influence of Arab/Islamic music. Billy Holiday was master of this style"

As sung by her [Billy Holiday] a note may (in the words of Glen Coutler) begin 'slightly under pitch, absolutely without vibrato, and gradually be forced up to dead center from where the vibrato shakes free, or it may trail off mournfully; or at final cadences, the note is a whole step above the written one and must be pressed slowly down to where it belongs.' Coincidence or not, all these features are found in Islamic African music and hardly at all in other styles

Contributions of Enslaved African Muslims

Another interesting link...

Africans in America

The largest number of Africans in the lowlands (34 percent) came from Bantu-speaking regions of west-central Africa. Twenty percent were transported from Senegambia, while the Gold Coast and Sierra Leone each accounted for about 15 percent of the total number. Others came from the Bight of Biafra and the Windward Coast.

The enslaved population of Virginia/Maryland was composed mostly of Africans from the Bight of Biafra, some 39 percent. Senegambia accounted for 21 percent of the Africans in this region. Another 17 percent were of Bantu origin, and 10 percent were originally from the Gold Coast.

Therefore, nearly 90 percent of the Africans in these two major regions came from only four zones in Africa. Most came from the west-central area of Angola and Congo where languages - Kikongo, Kimbundu and culture (often referred to as Bantu) were closely related. Many more ended up in the tidewater than in the lowlands, but they comprised nearly a third of all migrants in both sectors.

Origins of Enslaved Africans Shipped to North AmericaThe Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-Rom Origins of Enslaved Africans Shipped to North America from The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-Rom by David Eltis, Stephen Behrendt, David Richardson and Herbert Klein

"The Senegambians were much more prominent in North America than in South America and the Caribbean. Senegambia was strongly influenced by Islam, to a greater degree than any other coastal region where enslaved Africans originated. More Muslims were enslaved in North America - except for Brazil - than anywhere else in the New World. Their presence was especially pronounced in Louisiana, to which many Manding people - almost all males - had been transported. This state also had a large presence of non-Muslim Bambara from Mali."

The Muslim Community , Chapter 3 from Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas by Sylviane A. Diouf

"I did a talk a few years ago at Harvard where I played those two things, and the room absolutely exploded in clapping, because [the connection] was obvious," says Diouf, an author and scholar who is also a researcher at New York's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. "People were saying, 'Wow. That's really audible. It's really there.'" It's really there thanks to all the Muslim slaves from West Africa who were taken by force to the United States for three centuries, from the 1600's to the mid-1800's. Upward of 30 percent of the African slaves in the United States were Muslim, and an untold number of them spoke and wrote Arabic, historians say now. Despite being pressured by slave owners to adopt Christianity and give up their old ways, many of these slaves continued to practice their religion and customs, or otherwise melded traditions from Africa into their new environment in the antebellum South. Forced to do menial, backbreaking work on plantations, for example, they still managed, throughout their days, to voice a belief in God and the revelation of the Qur'an. These slaves' practices eventually evolved?decades and decades later, parallel with different singing traditions from Africa?into the shouts and hollers that begat blues music, Diouf and other historians believe."

"Another way that Muslim slaves had an indirect influence on blues music is the instruments they played. Drumming, which was common among slaves from the Congo and other non-Muslim regions of Africa, was banned by white slave owners, who felt threatened by its ability to let slaves communicate with each other and by the way it inspired large gatherings of slaves.

Stringed instruments, however?favored by slaves from Muslim regions of Africa, where there's a long tradition of musical storytelling?were generally allowed because slave owners considered them akin to European instruments such as the violin. So slaves who managed to cobble togethera banjo or other instrument?the American banjo originated with African slaves?could play more widely in public. This solo-oriented slave music featured elements of an Arabic?Muslim song style that had been imprinted by centuries of Islam's presence in West Africa, says Gerhard Kubik, a professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Mainz in Germany. Kubik has written the most comprehensive book on Africa's connection to blues music, Africa and the Blues (1999, University Press of Mississippi)."

Saudi Aramco World : Muslim Roots, U.S. Blues

Kubik believes that many of today's blues singers unconsciously echo these Arabic?Muslim patterns in their music. Using academic language to describe this habit, Kubik writes in Africa and the Blues that "the vocal style of many blues singers using melisma, wavy intonation, and so forth is a heritage of that large region of West Africa that had been in contact with the Arabic?Islamic world of the Maghreb since the seventh and eighth centuries." (Melisma is the use of many notes in one syllable; wavy intonation refers to a series of notes that veer from major to minor scale and back again, something that's common in both blues music and in the Muslim call to prayer as well as recitation of the Qur'an. The Maghreb is the Arab?Muslim region of North Africa."

Some African examples

ETRAN FINATAWA live @ Sines, july 07, pt 3

mauritanie-music

vs

Some AfroAmerican Blues/Gospel stylings

Blind Willie Johnson - Dark was the night...

Otis Rush: I`Cant Quit You Baby ---> a modern modern approach to this vocal technique


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: TinDor
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 04:55 PM

Another interesting video...

A comparison between the talking drum culture(s) of South West Africa and the more string/wind instrus of Upper West Africa and how it realtes to the Blues


African Origins of the Blues


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:07 PM

Here's an excerpt of the Wikipedia article on Ali Farka Toure:

Ali Ibrahim "Farka" Touré (October 31, 1939 ? March 7, 2006) was a Malian singer and guitarist, and one of the African continent's most internationally renowned musicians. His music is widely regarded as representing a point of intersection of traditional Malian music and its North American cousin, the blues. The belief that the latter is historically derived from the former is reflected in Martin Scorsese's often quoted characterization of Touré's tradition as constituting "the DNA of the blues". Touré was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time"...

As the first African bluesman to achieve widespread popularity on his home continent, Touré was often known as "the African John Lee Hooker". Musically, the many superpositions of guitars and rhythms in his music were similar to John Lee Hooker's hypnotic blues style. He usually sang in one of several African languages, mostly Songhay, Fulfulde, Tamasheq or Bambara as on his breakthrough album, Ali Farka Touré, which established his reputation in the world music community...

In 2002 he appeared with Black American blues and reggae performer Corey Harris, on an album called Mississippi to Mali (Rounder Records). Toure and Harris also appeared together in Martin Scorcese's 2003 documentary film Feel Like Going Home, which traced the roots of blues back to its genesis in West Africa. The film was narrated by Harris and features Ali's performances on guitar and njarka."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Farka_Tour%C3%A9


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Azizi
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 05:13 PM

Here's a link to a video of Ali Farka Toure with Corey Harris.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5Nem-PNHLY

This video has text which translates Ali Farka's comments about the relationship between African and African American [blues] music.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Goose Gander
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 06:59 PM

TinDor -

Your arguments are ahistorical and essentialist. Musically and lyrically, Black Gospel is a hybrid form. Just as is all North American vernacular music. Many of the features noted by Floyd (cited by you above) are not specific to African-American music, and they certainly are not specifically Afro-Islamic. And if Brazil received more African Muslims than the American South (which one of your sources indicates), wouldn't one expect to find an even stronger Afro-Islamic influence in Brazilian music?. Blues did not even coalesce as a musical form until around the turn of the century, at least, and plenty of 'white' musicians were playing bluesy material by the 1920s. Like gospel, it's an American form, with Old World antecedents from Africa and Europe.

Arguments such as yours place nearly all the emphasis upon origin and practically nothing upon evolution. Just as some have claimed a 'Celtic' or 'Anglo-Saxon' origin for Appalachian folk music, you claim a purely African origin for blues and gospel without studying or even considering the varied influences that worked upon these forms for centuries in North America. Folk, blues, country, gospel, jazz, ragtime, etc. developed in specific places where Old World populations mixed in the New World, primarily the American South.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Goose Gander
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 07:09 PM

For a discussion of American music that considers the possibly of common roots for 'white' and 'black' music on this continent, see Origin of the Popular Style by Peter van der Merwe (Oxford University Press, 1992).


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: TinDor
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 07:40 PM

Michael Morris wrote
And if Brazil received more African Muslims than the American South (which one of your sources indicates), wouldn't one expect to find an even stronger Afro-Islamic influence in Brazilian music?

Micahel Morris, Brazil didn't have more African muslim slaves than America (upwards of 30% for the USA they say!) in proportion to their total amount of slaves. The reason the African Muslim element didn't show up in Brazilian music is because the dominant Bantu-Angolan-South West African drumming cultures drowned it out because they weren't supressed like in the United Sates.

Michael Morris wrote
Blues did not even coalesce as a musical form until around the turn of the century, at least, and plenty of 'white' musicians were playing bluesy material by the 1920s.

Michael Morris, Blues charactersitics and vocal form/techniques already existed before it was documented as a "form".


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Goose Gander
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 08:12 PM

I'm not going to argue that there are no African influences in blues and gospel - clearly there are - but in branding these uniquely American forms as African, you are frankly missing the point. Culture is not static. You listen to gospel and believe it sounds African; Ruff listens to the same music and believes it sounds Gaelic - two sides of the same coin, and both represent a limited and incomplete analysis. Call and response, pentatonic scales, flatted thirds and sevenths, sliding, melisma, etc. are not specifically African, certainly not specifically Afro-Islamic.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Goose Gander
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 08:29 PM

Arguments such as yours and Ruff's remind me of the fable of the blind men and the elephant.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Janie
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 09:06 PM

I'm always intrigued by the connectness of things, and the connectedness ( or matrix) between nature and nurture. Nurture includes culture.   

In the FWIW department, I have recently stumbled upon the science of biomusicology. It seems reasonable to me to understand the roots of all human experience of music (both production and effect), to be biologically enabled and culturally influenced.

If I understand you correctly, Michael, your position is that there are numerous cultural influences that can be found in American music, but that it is incorrect to ascribe the roots of American music as belonging to any particular culture or ethnic group, i.e. that it is apparent that there are Afrocentric and Eurocentric influences in American music, including gospel music, but it would be incorrect to say that either holds a claim to be being "the root" of American music forms.

Do I understand you correctly?


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: TinDor
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 09:36 PM

Michael Morris wrote:

I'm not going to argue that there are no African influences in blues and gospel - clearly there are - but in branding these uniquely American forms as African, you are frankly missing the point. Culture is not static. You listen to gospel and believe it sounds African; Ruff listens to the same music and believes it sounds Gaelic - two sides of the same coin, and both represent a limited and incomplete analysis.

Michael Morris, Blues and Gospel are "American" but it's pretty clear and obvious that musically/vocally and the over "feel" are much close to the African examples I gave than anything I've heard so far from Europe.


Michael Morris wrote:

Call and response, pentatonic scales, flatted thirds and sevenths, sliding, melisma, etc. are not specifically African, certainly not specifically Afro-Islamic

Nope, but you won't find anything as close to American Blues with these traits such as Senegambian-Sahelian-Upper West African music. Even traditional North East African music from North Sudan-Ethiopia-Somalia has a similar feel. I havan't heard any Anglo-Celtic European music as close to the Blues as those I just mentioned. Im talking both vocally and musically speaking. For example

Nubian Oud Jam


Description about Nubian/North Sudanese music


What they say bout Ethiopian music..


"At Friday's event, Gershon lectured on Ethiopian music with demonstrations by Atanaw, Dagnew, Shenkute, and Lebron. Ethiopian music, Gershon explained, is based on four five-note scales (pentatonic). Tezeta is a scale associated with "nostalgia and longing, the equivalent of blues or soul." Anchihoy is employed mainly in wedding songs, and as a jazz musician Gershon said he finds this scale congenial because of its inherent dissonance.

The song the group played to illustrate the scale bati had a propulsive, danceable beat. Shenkute snapped her fingers to it before reaching for the mike and beginning her vocal, which seemed to dive porpoiselike in and out of the instrumental accompaniment, sinking at times almost to inaudibility, then surging upward to a full-throated wail. The fourth scale, ambassel, also fits comfortably with modern jazz harmonies, Gershon said.
"

Ethiojazz' sets feet to tapping

A more technical description of Ethion music and how it's similar to Blues


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: blind will
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 09:30 PM

Tindor,

I just saw the things you wrote last week during a google search.(To bad I didn't see this earlier).Are you still lurking around?

Back in January this year you quoted from my tedious awful post, in which I questioned my own belief in a blues/lining out connection.At that time I had only heard one brief sample of black American lining out, which seemed pretty unbluesy.But that was four years ago.Since that time I have heard a good number of other Afro-American lining out or "Dr.Watts" (all of which have had a bluesy quality).I have also discovered new information by different authors who discuss the blues/Dr.Watts connection.So I'm more convinced than ever that there is a link between these two genres.Furthermore I have a much fuller picture of the Dr.Watts/lined out hymn tradition and can now hear it's connection to black gospel, the sorrow songs and the sacred moans (the genre I earlier refered to as "blues chant").

According to Jeff Todd Titon in his book "Downhome Blues Lyrics: An Anthology From the Post-World War 2 Era:

"The blues became that new music, although many of it's elements were borrowed from older types of black folk song.The blues scale for instance, was used in work songs and religious music, especialy the chanted prayers, sermons, and long-meter hymns" (Long meter refers to a very common type of Dr.Watts hymn singing).

William T. Dargon in his book "Lining Out the Word" discusses the Dr.Watts hymn tradition in great detail, explaining both it's stylistic unity and stylistic diversity.There is infact different syles of Dr.Watts/African-American lining out.Probably the most common type of "Dr.Watts" is the slower kind that seems to lack an obvious regular rhythm, also known as "long meter hymns" or other names such as "moaning hymns" (not to be confused with the prayer/sermon "moans" which are extremly close in style).But there are other examples of Dr.Watts that have a definite rhythmic pulse with clapping, stomping and even shouting.The author cites the ring shout as being an influence on this second type of Dr.Watts, and points to the influence of shapenote singing on another variation of the form.

Dargon compares the slow moaning style of Dr.Watts to the slow African dirge singing found in West and Central Africa, noting the stylistic similarities between the two.He suggests that this form of Dr.Watts is a hybrid of the slow African dirges with the slow British lined out hymn.To quote William T. Dargon:

"Two dirge-singing traditions, one from Central Africa and other from West Africa, offer graphic precedents for this kind of slow speechlike intonation that predominates in African American lining out.A musical corollary in the Bantu language that Holloway and Vass have identified is suggested by style similarities between a recorded example of dirge singing among the Ngeende, a subgroup of the Kuba in northwestern Zaire, and the moaning style of black lining out common in the Mississippi delta and East Texas.Both offer plaints in slow-to-moderate tempos with intricate melodies that are sung in meticulous unison, and variant pitch and moaning sounds are prevalent.While few reliable conclusions can follow from one pair of examples, this similarity does suggest that African linguistic and musical influences have interacted with European ones to produce a striking patchwork of black lining-out styles.Although the Ghanaian dirges recorded and transcribed by Kofi Agawu sound much less "African American" than the Ngeende, both forms are identical to that of lining out: a leader speak-sings a call in free rhythms and the group responds in a more metrical rhythm upon definite pitches...Taken together, these examples from West and Central Africa suggest how widespread the practice of dirge singing may have been in the areas from which slaves were imported to North America."

Another interesting bit of information William T. Dargon gives in his book, is the influence of Dr.Watts hymn singing on field hollers.Based on a quote of Son House who refers to field hollers as "old long meter songs" he sais:

"Bluesman Son House pointed to field hollers as a source to blues, and noted that hollers came from the practice of long meter hymn singing (House 1965).This kind of approach to spoken song can also be heard, for example, in the work of early bluesman Charlie Patton.Such singing which stems from elaborate speech rhythms, is freely articulated through formulaic melismas, alternately pulling against and flowing with the regular pulse of the bluesman's guitar.

Concerning the "moans" or what I initially called "blues chant" (obviously related to Dr.Watts hymns) he sais:

"A structural point of transfer may also have figured in the process, whereby the three-line structure of the moans (eg.,Wade in the Water,Vol.2,no.16) became the three-line formula of blues lyrics.The a-a-a form occurs in moans as well as blues, and the movement from this to the more common a-a-b blues lyric might have occured as a signifying variation upon the older structure."

However another book author David Evans points to the black ballad tradition (with it's use of 12 bars and AAB form) as the basis for the blues pattern.In his overall excellent book "Big Road Blues" he gives a very convincing case for the black ballad's impact on the blues genre.But I strongly disagree when he dismisses any important African American religious roots to the blues.


PS. Well that's almost all I have to say on this long meter post (pun intended!), but I have a second post coming shortly that will respond to some of your other comments.For now I will share this article segment from William H. Tallmage, which discusses Dr.Watts hymn singing in relation to gospel, blues, and a slow style of work song (though I don't agree that lining out originated in Scotland):

DR Watts Article By William H Tallmage


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: blind will
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 09:44 PM

I'll try to make that link again and see if it works this time:

William H Tallmage Article

If the link still doesn't work (I guess I'm unable to make links on mudcat), you can find it at this url...http://www.jstor.org/pss/924323


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: blind will
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 11:13 PM

TinDor,

Responding to more of your comments...

"Based on that, I would say Black Gospel is musically "African"

Like Michael Morris said it's not African or European, but rooted in a blend of those two traditions.Just take the music of Afro-American gospel pioneer Charles A. Tindley (who was a big influence on the so called father of gospel Thomas Dorsey).Where did he get his brand of gospel from? He got his style by combining the black spiritual form with the white gospel hymn (which is a musical descendant of both camp meeting songs, the parlor songs of Stephen Foster, Italian operatic melodies, British ballads and Afro-American forms).Another perfect example is the black gospel quartet.It again has ties to the black spiritual (and thus to African roots) but it also has roots that stretch back to the close harmony singing of German speaking Europeans.(The German/Austrian roots of the close harmony quartet tradition is well documented in Gage Averill's most excellent book "Four Parts, No Waiting).A third example is Mahalia Jackson's rendition of "Joy To the World".It has some very distictive Afro-American traits while also having a very notisable classical flavour, the tune itself taken directly from the classical hymn canon (partialy based on Handel's Messiah).Alot of this is repeating what I've said earlier, so I risk being to monotonous.

"IMO, the African-American guy Ruff, is doing little with his claims of origin."

I'd have to agree with you 100 % on this point! The lined out hymn tradition is a very important root to Afro-American gospel, but Willie Ruff should consider the liner notes of my Gaelic Psalms cd: "Precenting, or the practice of putting out the line and responding, is not exclusive to Gaelic language, or Gaelic Presbyterian church tradition; it was first used in English with most of the original tunes coming from Europe, England and the scottish Lowlands" (Quotation taken from the cd "Salm: Volume 1 Gaelic Psalms from the Hebrides of Scotland).

"A comparison of Gaelic/Watts "Lining Out vs AfroAmerican doing the same style of "Lining Out"

Both the Gaelic and Afro-American examples are of the lined out tradition and so they share some things in common.But they are hardly doing the same style of "Lining Out" having distinctively different styles.The Afro-American "Dr.Watts" genre owes about as much to African music as it does the British lined out tradition.One of the differences with Dr.Watts is it's heavy use of overlapping vocal parts (something common to West African music but not very prominent in Gaelic Psalm singing) and the use of African derived vocal effects such as moaning.

"Difference between Call & Response (African style) and Lining Out (gaelic-watts)"

First of all, there is no Gaelic or Dr Watts lining out in the video link you supplied with this comment.It compares white American lining out from Kentucky with an upbeat black spiritual from the Sea Islands.If it were to compare a Dr. watts hymn from the sea Islands to a black spiritual from the same region, there might be alot more similarity.But in any case, the video gives a false distinction between lining out and call and response.Both examples have a call and response pattern, just in a different way and in a very different style.If a person calls and people respond with the same exact line, it's still a call and respond pattern.and even if a song lacks a call and response pattern, it may still have other traits commen to African music and have African roots.

"On the Blues style, it's almost pseudo Arabised Islamic in sound.Not to similar to the Gaelic sound at all."

It's interesting that you say that.When I first heard the Gaelic Psalm singing it reminded me of a Moslem mosque (the way the leader sings).Some people have compared it to the Christian Coptic Chant (which sounds very similar to Islamic music).

As far as the blues tradition having ties to Arab/Islamic music, I think there is an actual connection (atleast some blues stylings).I've notised that alot of different black African singers have some of that Arabic/Islamic vocal quality to their singing style.Considering the history of Islam in Africa, I don't think this is a coincidence.I can also hear some very obvious Arab/Islamic similarities in some Spanish music, which clearly owes to the Arab roots in Spanish culture.I think it's pretty safe to say that Spanish styles such as "flamenco" have Arab roots, which in return spilled over into the blues genre (Early bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson had elements of flamenco in his guitar style, from Spanish-Mexican guitar players he heard).

It should be kept in mind that not all blues vocal stylings have an obvious Islamic similarity in vocal style.And not all field holler renditions of "Levee Camp Holler" are sung in that exact manner in the video you shared.Furthermore some of the same qualitys in Islamic singing can also be found in the lined out hymn tradition.For instance the use of melisma (ornamental phrasing of several notes in one syllable) is common throught the different lined out styles--from the Gaelic Psalm singing, Afro-American Dr.watts, to the lined out singing of Native Americans and Amish Americans.Also the use of "bent notes" in the Muslim call to prayer is certainly common in the Dr.Watts tradition, a style that has been documented from the 1750's.

Personally I believe the American field holler is a hybrid musical style, having roots in both Dr.Watts hymn singing and the West African work song tradition.There also appears to be a measure of Islamic flavoured African in the field holler/blues tradition (as far as my ears are concerned), but this should be kept in balance and not over emphasised to the point of ignoring other influences.

I will continue another day with one more response to your comments, plus some videos of Dr.Watts singing! I have a two week vacation coming up on the weekend, so hopefully I will get to it before that.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: blind will
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 10:14 PM

Continuing my response to TinDor,

"Some AfroAmerican Blues/Gospel Stylings"

Blind Willie Johnson Dark Was The Night

You might be interested to know that "Dark Was The Night-Cold Was The Ground" comes right out of the Dr.Watts/hymn lining tradition.This is an example of a blues recording that directly imitates the slow moaning style of Dr.Watts.

According to the cd liner notes of The Complete Blind Willie Johnson box set: "This old hymn was so widely known that there was no need to finish the title on the record label, but the whole shattering mood of the performance comes from its full title, " Dark Was The Night And Cold Was The Ground On Which Our Lord Was Laid." Angeline Johnson also sang it for me, and as it was sung in that part of Texas it was a slow, solemn responsive psalm, in which the preacher intoned the first phrase, very slowly, and the congregation responded with the same meassured solemnity.What Willie did in the studio was to create this mood, this haunted response to Christ's crucifixion.The melody came achingly through in the slide on the guitar strings, and he followed its phrases with a wordless, half hummed meditation on the meaning of the song."

To get an idea of what "Dark Was The Night" sounds like in it's earlier lined out hymn form, listen closely to the 7th track of the following link.It is a duet rendition of this Dr.Watts hymn and shares a similar melody to the Blind Willie Johnson track:

Dark Was The Night Track 7

Here's some more Dr.Watts hymn singing for you...6 full length examples.I have included both multi-voiced/congregational versions (the way it is most typically sung) and solo versions.But the 3rd one isn't pure Dr.Watts.It's a direct combination of bluesy Dr.Watts with modern gospel style, giving a rendition of "A Charge To Keep I Have" (a very common song in Dr.Watts repertoire).The first and second are also renditions of the same song in the pure traditional way:

A Charge To Keep I Have Solo Version

A Charge To Keep I Have By Congregation

A Charge To Keep I Have By Gospel Group

Elder Robert Moore Sings A Dr Watts Hymn

The Old One Hundreds

A Article On Dr Watts Singing With Full Song Sample

That might be alot of Afro-American Lined Out Hymns To hear and see at once, but I think it will help to give you a fuller picture of the genre (though it is by no means the complete picture).The first solo Dr.Watts video is comparable to field hollers.

I saw one video on You Tube that had a traditional Dr.Watts with clapping.If I can re-locate that video, I'll try to post that in the future.


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Subject: RE: Gospel music is Gaelic? UK TV 21 Mar
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Oct 13 - 05:44 PM

NPR, as part of a continuing series on sacred music, had a report this morning on the living (though fading) tradition of "lining out" among Old Regular Baptists in the American South: Before Churches Had Songbooks, There Was 'Lined-Out' Gospel.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Mudcat time: 21 February 2:43 AM EST

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