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Origins: Bright Morning Star

DigiTrad:
BRIGHT MORNING STARS


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Bright Morning Stars/Bright Morning Star (43)
Bright Morning Star - recordings? (27)
Lyr Req: Bright Morning Star Arising (3) (closed)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Bright Morning Stars


Burke 29 Jun 10 - 06:14 PM
Arkie 29 Jun 10 - 08:28 PM
Burke 30 Jun 10 - 05:42 PM
Burke 30 Jun 10 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,Joel Shimberg 29 Sep 10 - 09:49 AM
open mike 29 Sep 10 - 02:10 PM
Noreen 29 Sep 10 - 03:19 PM
Bill D 29 Sep 10 - 03:52 PM
open mike 29 Sep 10 - 04:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Sep 10 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Sep 10 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Sep 10 - 09:06 PM
beardedbruce 29 Sep 10 - 09:15 PM
Mark Clark 29 Sep 10 - 11:38 PM
GUEST,George's grand-daughter 02 Apr 11 - 03:37 AM
GUEST,George's grand-daughter 02 Apr 11 - 03:50 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 02 Apr 11 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,George's grand-daughter 02 Apr 11 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,HIS SON 02 Apr 11 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,joe hone 05 Apr 11 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,pete ellertsen 26 Sep 12 - 05:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Sep 12 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,Hip Swayers Duo 29 Oct 12 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,guest: Jeff Burns 16 Nov 13 - 07:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Dec 13 - 03:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Mar 14 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Mar 14 - 11:50 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Mar 14 - 01:59 PM
Speedwell 16 Mar 14 - 06:22 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Mar 14 - 11:52 AM
Phil Edwards 16 Mar 14 - 12:59 PM
GUEST 16 Mar 14 - 06:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 14 - 01:06 PM
GUEST 17 Mar 14 - 01:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 14 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Brett 09 Aug 14 - 12:37 PM
GUEST 09 Aug 14 - 04:46 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Aug 14 - 07:06 PM
GUEST,Jess 10 Jan 16 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Buddy 03 Feb 16 - 06:13 PM
GUEST 06 Dec 16 - 01:07 PM
GUEST 05 Oct 17 - 02:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Burke
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 06:14 PM

Bill, after I asked, I found what I wanted. I'd like to hear it but it does not seem to have been reissued in CD.

Cats, I'm also curious if you ever found a citation for that Shaker version. We have quite the expert on all things Shaker, especially music, working where I do & he had no knowledge of it. With a citation, our library is very likely to have the journal in question.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Arkie
Date: 29 Jun 10 - 08:28 PM

One thing that has intrigued me is that there seems to be some indication that Bright Morning Star has been sung in some Christmas traditions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Burke
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 05:42 PM

The short clip I heard of the field recording was the fastest version I have ever heard. I've listened to several recordings now & they seem to be slow and slower, much different from the recording & the way that Joe Hickerson sings it.

I think people think of it as Christmas because of the book it was published in. It might also be because the image is a little similar to the chorus of the Christmas song "Star in the East."

I went to the public library yesterday to find Ruth Crawford Seeger's book, American Folk Songs for Christmas, 1953, one source for the 1960's recordings.

From the introduction I learned that the collection was orientated toward & grew out of some school Christmas programs in the mid 1940's. Bright Morning Star is one of 9 introductory songs about stars and shepherds, only one of which is really a Christmas song. The are included because for the pageants, "They provide a frame for the Christmas picture, a path to and from the scene of the drama." p.8

As Johnross mentioned she credited it to Library of Congress "AAFS 1379 A1" The catalog is now digitized so I found that the source recording was done in 1937 of G.D.Vowell by Alan Lomax in Harlan, Kentucky. The title on the index card is "Bright Moving Star." There is at least one other recording in the archive with a title that includes "moving star"; I suspect bad handwriting and thoughtless transcription.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Burke
Date: 30 Jun 10 - 06:31 PM

I find I have 2 recordings with the same variants, that look to go back to the same source. One already mentioned is Ralph Stanley and Kathy Mattea on Clinch Mountain Country. Ralph heard it from John and Dave Morris.

The 2nd recording I have is Dwight Diller with Northampton Harmony/Cordelia's Dad on Diller's New Plowed Ground: West Virginia Mountain Music. Diller says "From George Tucker, Beaver, KY. Met him there in the early '70's while playing music with David and John Morris."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,Joel Shimberg
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 09:49 AM

Even Christians know that stars don't rise in the morning, with the exception of Venus (the morning star) for periods of time. Plato wrote a brief poem that centered on the fact that the morning star and the evening star are the same heavenly body.

The distinction between "morning stars are rising" (foolish and incorrect) and "morning star's a-rising" (clearly superior) has nothing to do with theology or 'poetic license', but with simple astronomical fact, known for thousands of years.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: open mike
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 02:10 PM

All this talk about the song has me wanting to hear it sung!

here is this sing as done by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PVGlWKXMLU&feature=related

the Wailin' Jennies do it here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fq6lCcAkpU&feature=related
(i just realized that there name is a play on Waylon Jennings)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Noreen
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 03:19 PM

Bill, any chance that you could wave your magic wand and put a recording of the 'simpler' tune here somehow? I'd love to hear it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 03:52 PM

I 'think' I might be able to record from an LP into the computer now, but have not done so...yet. After the Getaway, I will experiment.

My magic wand has all sorts of tricks once something has already been converted to MP3, but I have not been able to afford the hardware to do it easily.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: open mike
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 04:24 PM

Many stars are rising and setting all the time, as are the planets.
We just can't see them when the Big Star (the sun) is in the sky.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 05:14 PM

The song presumably would refer to the planets.

Beardedbruce posted the best composite of verses to Bright Morning Star's Arising in the thread Lyr. Req: Bright Morning Stars/Bright Morning S, 09 Apr. 08, 12:24 PM.

The song is traditional, no composer is listed with any of the versions. A possible Shaker origin is mentioned by a contributor, but no firm reference has been posted. A gospel origin seems more likely.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 05:52 PM

I have (or had) an album by a group of women called The Pennywhistlers. Their notes said that this is a song of The Native American Church. Makes sense to me!

I will send Joe a MIDI of the tune which the Pennywhistlers sang. It is very short, has a triplet in it, on the word 'day.' It's quite similar to the tune Gillian Welch sings (Open Mike's link, above.)

The beauty of a MIDI is that if you have music software, you can download and edit it to suit yourself.

Joel, old boy, before the sun comes up, stars rise on the eastern horizon in the morning. When the sun finally appears, it is so bright that we can't distinguish the rising stars any longer.

(I'm happy to say that I am retired now and no longer have to experience this firsthand.)


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Subject: ADD Version: Bright Morning Stars
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 09:06 PM

Here are the words from the Pennywhistlers, album. They do not seem particularly Christian.


BRIGHT MORNING STARS

Bright morning stars are rising (3x)
Day is a-breaking in my soul.

Oh, where are our dear fathers? (3x)
Day is a-breaking in my soul.

They are down in the valley praying (3x)
Day is a-breaking in my soul.

Oh, where are our dear mothers? (3x)
Day is a-breaking in my soul.

Some have gone to heaven shouting (3x)
Day is a-breaking in my soul.


Click to play


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: beardedbruce
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 09:15 PM

(repost of the lyrics)

Date: 02 Jun 04 - 07:49 AM

Here is what I have, from various sources. Everyone has the fathers and mothers: a few have the others. Only one source for the children- it may have been made up by that source. Any ideas?

Or should we start writing new verses?

                     8-{E


Trad. Lyrics
.................................
Bright morning stars are rising
Bright morning stars are rising
Bright morning stars are rising
Day is a-breaking in my soul

Oh, where are our dear mothers?(x3)
Day is a-breaking in my soul

They are down in the valley praying(x3)
Day is a-breaking in my soul

Oh where are our dear fathers? (x3)
Day is a-breaking in my soul

They have gone to heaven shouting(x3)
Day is a-breaking in my soul

Oh where are our dear sisters? (x3)
Day is a-breaking in my soul

They are out in the garden singing.(x3)
Day is a-breaking in my soul

Oh where are our dear brothers?(x3)
Day is a-breaking in my soul

They are at the wars and fighting.(x3)
Day is a-breaking in my soul

Oh where are our dear children? (x3)
Day is breaking in my soul.

They are by the stream a dancing. (x3)
Day is breaking in my soul.

Bright morning stars are rising.(x3)
Day is a-breaking in my soul


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Mark Clark
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 11:38 PM


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,George's grand-daughter
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 03:37 AM

I have no idea where papa'w got that song. I never got the pleasure of meeting my grandfather since he died in 1983. I think my oldest brother was 6 months old when he had passed. I have heard alot of stories and wish everyday that I could've meet him. God rest his soul.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,George's grand-daughter
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 03:50 AM

Check out George Tucker on Myspace. Bright morning stars are rising is on there. In it, he sings Days is abreaking in my soul, not there is abreakin in my soul.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 08:37 AM

George's Grand-daughter, how wonderful of you to post this! I couldn't find the George Tucker of Bright Morning Stars on Myspace- plenty of youn'uns, but not Papa'w. Could you provide a link?

As for those who question the Christianity of "Bright morning star", remember that early American hymnody often used poetical reference to Biblical quotes. Check it out: "I am the bright and morning star."

Many old hymns refer to our fathers and mothers, gone before, in various ways. This one sounds much more Appalachian than Native American. I say that with little scholarly backup, but my instinct speaks from 15 years of researching music from many, many different cultures, and singing and arranging songs for my chorus from various Native American, gospel, African American traditions, and many others. You get a sense of what sounds true within a cultural context. I'm not pretending to be an expert in any of these traditions, it's just instinct.

Speaking from that POV, "Bright Morning Stars" is one of the loveliest early American hymn-like songs ever!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,George's grand-daughter
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 12:41 PM

http://www.myspace.com/charlesgeorgetucker

His first name is actually Charles. He just went by his middle name though. I wasn't sayng he wrote it because papa'w song many songs of others. I was just saying that I didn't know where he had found it or hear it. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,HIS SON
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 03:00 PM

Iam George Tucker son he told us he learn the song from his mother and father at night when he was a young boy his version was his way he compose it


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,joe hone
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 07:30 PM

I'm actually looking for the lyrics to the "red herring" as it was described above, Watch the Stars. Does anybody have the lyrics and can you post them? Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,pete ellertsen
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 05:08 PM

I'm coming late to this thread ... till now I'd thought of "Bright Morning Stars" as an Appalachian carol, i.e. a ballad with a religious text closely related to the old folk hymns. It's not a shape-note song, since it doesn't appear in Christian Harmony, Sacred Harp, Harp of Columbia, etc., but its melody seems to come out of the same Anglo-Celtic oral tradition as some of the older shape-note repertory. After reading through all the posts, which strike me as being as authoritative as we're going to get unless somebody discovers new documentary evidence in the shape-note or Shaker traditions, I'd now classify it as a bluegrass gospel song that came out of southern Appalachian oral tradition.

Still, that's a pretty good pedigree!

Several posts questioned whether the text is Christian, but I think the imagery of the song is clearly grounded in scripture. Not only do we have the "bringt Morning Star" in Revelation, as several commenters noted, but to the time when "the morning stars sang together" in the book of Job. (Cf. the 16th-century Lutheran chorale "How Brightly Shines the Morning Star.") And the fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers imagery is common to a lot of American folk hymns.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Sep 12 - 08:34 PM

The spiritual "O Watch de Stars," mentioned early in this thread, posted in thread 147211.
O Watch de Stars


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,Hip Swayers Duo
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 08:57 PM

We are a musical duo that sing the Irish song Shay Fan Yan Ley which my partner learned when performing with the Revels Rep.   It has the same tune as Bright Morning Star and similar lyrics in the translation - "It is the ring of the day… it is the dawn in my soul"...perhaps this song was brought to Appalachia and became Bright Morning Star...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,guest: Jeff Burns
Date: 16 Nov 13 - 07:02 PM

An english translation of Shay Fan Yan Ley would be fantastic- my niece is thinking of using the music for her wedding and the irish verssion seems to have great possibiities.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Dec 13 - 03:38 PM

The version of "Bright Morning Stars" cited as the one recorded in 1957, from Norman Lee Vass, has not been found or posted. The Traditional Ballad Index lists these lines:

BRIGHT MORNING STARS
Blue Ridge Plateau

I hear the Savior calling (2x)
(For the) day is breaking in my soul
How I long to meet Him....
The golden bells are ringing...
I want to see my father...
I want to meet my Jesus...
Bright morning stars are rising....

Norman Lee Vass was a fiddler from the Blue Ridge Plateau. He played at Galax.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 05:05 PM

The version from Shellans, "Folk Songs of the Blue Ridge Mountains," has been posted in the thread Bright Morning Stars/Bright Morning Star, linked at top (related threads).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 11:50 AM

I don't know where I read it, but somewhere I read that this song comes from the Native American Church. That makes sense to me, both musically and poetically.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 01:59 PM

Hi, leeneia!
I think that possibility has been suggested before, but the experts suggest the Appalachians (and possibly Negro origin as second choice).

I have been looking for an early antecedent of this song, but so far, no gold.
I have re-found the spirituals collected in 1867 by Higginson, and posted a couple, but nothing helpful with regard to "Bright Morning Star(s)."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Speedwell
Date: 16 Mar 14 - 06:22 AM

I am no authority on the origin of songs but my thoughts are that the morning star is indeed the sun(it's a star after all)which suggests that there may be some pagan origin to the song.
I've also heard that it comes from the Appalachian mountains and was often sung at funerals.
Young Tradition did a brilliant version as previously mentioned which was recorded live at Cecil Sharp House, London at, I believe, their farewell gig.
In any case a wonderful and very moving song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Mar 14 - 11:52 AM

Psalm 63.1 (Song of David)

O God, my God, to thee do I watch at break of day
For thee my soul has thirsted,
for thee my flesh, O how many ways!

2 Peter 1:19
Continue to pay attention as you would to a light that shines in a dark place as you wait for day to come and the morning star to rise in your hearts..

"Christian paganism"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Mar 14 - 12:59 PM

The morning star is the morning star, i.e. a star that's consistently seen to rise in the morning, just before sunrise. We now think of it as the planet Venus. The connection between the rising of the morning star (heralding the dawn) and a sense of imminent contact with the divine is pretty straightforward, I think.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Mar 14 - 06:48 PM

What you're missing is the reference, Revelation 22:16, where Christ is the Bright Morning Star. That almost certainly makes it of the first half of the 20th Century.

Leeneia's right, there's a 1971 Library of Congress copyright credit to The Native American Church for it. This in turn puts an absolute earliest copyright of 1918 on it, which was the year the Church became incorporated, although its roots as a Church date back to the 1880s and as a religion to the Native nations.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Mar 14 - 01:06 PM

The credit to Native American Church is for 'Bright Morning Star" songs.

Can anyone post them?
Have they any relationship compositionally to the song considered here?

Most Indian groups have legends and a few have ceremonies relating to the morning star.
There is a tape "N. A. C. Chants, Bright Morning Star Chants, Phoenix Canyon Records (not heard).

The one heard by Walela on youtube is a missionary(?) effort (Christianized), and without documentation. I have no idea how authentic this group is.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 14 - 01:34 PM

For what it's worth, there's a WP meme on the NAC with links to different parts of the organisation. Given they're peyote-inspired Native American, I'd suspect they are rather more irregular than that. Your obvious first path is to get a copyright lawyer to explain the impact of that Library of Congress link.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Mar 14 - 01:52 PM

No interest in copyright; I wondered if anyone has/can transcribe the NAC tape. I can't find and CD made from the tape.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,Brett
Date: 09 Aug 14 - 12:37 PM

Just a visitor here, trying to find info on the origin of "Morning." As others have suggested, I'm pretty sure the song's originally connected to 2 Peter 1:19: "We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."

Considering the common theme of Appalachian Christians of a sweet longing for heaven, I think this fits right in there. The verse talks about holding onto the promises of Jesus until the "day" dawns--a common Old and New Testament image of heaven coming. Also a play on words with the "day of the Lord" coming.

Then "morning star" is the hope coming before the dawn, rising right before it as a preview. And ppl pointed out that Christ was called the morning star, and his love "shed light" (2 Corinthians!) into hearts.

So the fathers praying, the mothers gone to heaven a-shouting, or what the different versions say, are also focused on sorrow and longing for heaven.

I think that suggests its origin is among down-home Appalachian believers. I guess it's not clear what the original version was, or how Native Americans were involved in its different adaptations.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Aug 14 - 04:46 PM

Check the other threads - iirc it was run to earth to a particular context in the Native American Church about a year ago.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Aug 14 - 07:06 PM

There is no evidence that the song is related to any of the Native American songs or chants.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,Jess
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 08:35 AM

Bright morning star's a-rising,
Bright morning star's a-rising,
Bright morning star's a-rising,
Day is a breaking in my soul.

There is a certain amount of religious literacy to connect these dots but this song has strong Epiphany themes (the church season that follows Advent/Christmas). This is a church holiday that Shakers would not celebrate so I very much doubt their involvement.

I don't know enough about Moravian theology to say much more than this: Moravian influences on American Indians through Moravian missions in the Carolinas and elsewhere make the possible American Indian connection intriguing and believable. Moravians certainly celebrate Epiphany religiously.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST,Buddy
Date: 03 Feb 16 - 06:13 PM

A couple of things:

Be sure to see/hear the choral arrangement by Shawn Kirchner. The sheet music and an excellent choir are at:

http://sbmp.com/SR2.php?CatalogNumber=594

The other thing has to do with the indigenous connections that have been mentioned. My understanding is that some Christian indigenous people sang western Christian hymns extremely slowly -- so slow that you cannot imagine it. Profoundly slow and profoundly rich. I have had the privilege of participating in this style of singing and can easily imagine their singing Bright Morning Star.

Apparently, at one time, the missionaries in Canada disapproved of this slow singing because it was, well, indigenous. So the people developed a tradition of singing this way in non-church gatherings -- sort of like Sacred Harp gatherings -- where the main purpose is the singing. I am told that one can still find these gatherings in upper Minnesota and Ontario. I have looked for recordings, but so far I cannot find any.

On a personal note: one should not dismiss a genuine Christianity among indigenous people, any more than among people who came to America as slaves from Africa.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 16 - 01:07 PM

It's a native american song that was taken up widely in appalachia and has made its way into both folk and spiritual collections.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bright Morning Star
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 17 - 02:52 PM

I'm 78. When I was a child I had a song book with the tune "Up the mountain bright and early, when the mountain mist was curly. There's a tune the fiddlers played, early in the morning." It was a catchy tune and I played it a lot on the piano. Ever heard of it?


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