History Of The African American Spirituals Series:

Calvin EarlThis 4 part series includes the programs listed below. Each program is 90 minutes including time for Q & A at the end of each show. These programs are best scheduled in the order listed below. Each program can be booked separately and do not have to be a part of the series. These programs are appropriate for  University Students & Adult programing.  For educational programing for students grades 3 -12  The History of the Spirituals part 1 & 2 are modified to be age appropriate for students.

HISTORY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN SPIRITUALS  Part 1 - This is a musical program about the African American Spirituals journey from the cotton fields of the Old South to becoming recognized as an American National Treasure in 2007. You will experience the legendary story of how the enslaved Africans in America created an original music that enabled them to secretly communicate routes on the UGRR, teach their young, record their history and heal their pain. The true essence of any African American spiritual is the secret inner most desire of a slave trying to tell his or her story. The spirituals became the vessel in which the slave could express their feelings yet remain invisible from detection during a time the enslaved Africans were not allowed to have a voice. With the enslaved family structure always in imminent peril of being torn apart without warning, the spirituals provided a semblance of structure and a support system no one could take from them. The spirituals gave them hope & courage to believe in the concept of freedom for themselves. The fact is, the slaves created the spirituals not to be great music. The slaves created the spirituals to change their lives. Knowing the history of these songs is an essential part of understanding who we are evolving into as Americans. You will gain a better understanding of the meaning & methods used to create America’s first musical art form, examine their social use of the music during slavery and how their original music inspired and became the foundation of multiple popular American music genre’s including the spirituals being transformed into Freedom songs during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s & 1960’s. This program is 90 minutes which includes time for Q & A.
SPIRITUALS, FREEDOM SONGS & CIVIL RIGHTS - Part 2 - Calvin explains and sings about how in our history the spirituals were transformed into freedom songs during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The spirituals & freedom songs both describe and transcend the American experience and are widely recognized as part of our American culture. As America became a new nation, and again during the Civil Rights Movement these songs represented the human spirit. They are portraits of courage, reflected in blood, sweat and tears in all that was intended for a fledgling nation whose motto is “the land of the free”. The spirituals document the joyful moments of our success. The awful loneliness of our failure. The gaping distance between the American dream and the American reality. These songs encompass the gut wrenching universal cry for freedom all humanity seeks. Pure. Raw. Unfiltered. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr stated: “An important part of the mass meetings were the freedom songs. In a sense the freedom songs are the soul of the movement. They are more than just incantations of clever phrases designed to invigorate a campaign; they are as old as the history of the Negro in America. They are adaptations of the song the slaves sang— the sorrow songs, the shouts for joy, the battle hymns and the anthems of our movement. We sing the freedom songs today for the same reason the slaves sang them, because we too are in bondage and the songs add hope to our determination that ‘We shall overcome, black and white together, We shall overcome someday’. These songs bind us together, give us courage together, help us march together.” These interactive programs include the opportunity for communal singing. This program is 90 minutes which includes time for Q & A.


Part 3: SONGS ON THE ROAD TO FREEDOM is a 'We The People' story in song. Experience a wide variety of America’s music  beginning with the African American Spirituals, Freedom Songs of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s & 1960’s and much more. Communal singing has always been an intricate part of our multi cultural roots as Americans. Whether our ancestors arrived as willing immigrants or as immigrants by force, no matter what country we came from originally, music helped ground us and helped us feel connected to our new homeland. Our newly created music, spoke of our lives in the new world and helped calm fears, put our babies to sleep, brought enjoyment sung around a campfire and comfort in times of sorrow. Singing together brought us together, strengthened our purpose and strengthened our community spirit. It still does today. This program is about coming together and singing together from the American songbook to continue building a strong community that is inclusive of all of us. The Founding Fathers proposed in written word a purpose and direction for our nation. Music created by humble unnamed slaves, and well known songwriters in multiple genres of music helped us feel that purpose with passion and dedication to ensure our nations principles belongs to all of us. Come join Calvin Earl as he leads us in inspiring songs in our American History!




Calvin Earl at James Madison's Montpelier Estate


Part 4: ACOUSTIC SOUL is a music concert. No lecture, just music to enjoy. Making this concert  quintessentially the soulful sound of America’s music from the 1800's through the 1970's that influenced and forever changed the world music scene. With his acoustic guitar & soothing vocals he brings to life the simple beauty of America’s greatest songs. Choosing from the music genres of Blues, Jazz, Standards, Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Country, Folk, Spirituals, Show Tunes and even a little Rock & Roll he brings to life the songwriters vision for the song. No digital enhancement, no gimmicks, no flashing lights, just a beautiful song enhanced with the elements of peace and love. Join Calvin for an evening of relaxing & fun music of days gone by, energized with a little bit of soul.

THE ACOUSTIC SOUL MUSIC CONCERT: can also be adapted, designed and personalized for private events, parties, corporate events, cultivating community, conferences, garden parties, dance parties, masquerade balls, and more......

If you would like to book a performance for your public or private event or a TV or radio show appearance, please contact my booking staff by filling out the form below. Don't forget to ask about our Artist In Residence programing. These shows are also perfect for your Black History Month programing and celebrations.

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Calvin Earl