“The continuing legacy of those historic songs helped bind us together, gave us courage and helped us march together during the Civil Rights Movement. I believe as you do that this is historical and cultural information which should be preserved. Since it is not, you are performing an essential public service and for this you should be commended. Your talents have brought exposure and life to America’s first true art form. It is our social responsibility to preserve the culture that our forefathers died for. Know that you are an important educational resource. Keep up the good work.”
— Dr Dorothy I. Height (1912 - 2010)
Chair & President Emerita
National Council of Negro Women, Inc

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS & MUSIC CONCERT DESCRIPTIONS

Calvin Earl
Calvin Earl performance at NYC Public School in the Bronx, NY

 HISTORY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN SPIRITUALS - As a storyteller, in my one-man show I tell the stories of our slave ancestors embedding their oral history into the spirituals for safekeeping. I sing their secret and sacred songs. I shed light on the secret coding hidden within the songs to help runaway slaves find safe routes on the Underground Railroad. We will also explore the vibrational sound waves within the music. The spirituals rhythmic sound, like ancient mantras were used as a form of concentration to put you on a path away from the pain and suffering you are experiencing on your human journey to reconnect with the love and security within your soul. A spiritual is more than music it is a personal experience and journey for every person listening or singing it.

Knowing the history of these songs is an essential part of our understanding who we are evolving into as Americans. I also talk and sing about how in our history these humble songs were transformed into freedom songs during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. The spirituals are also the foundation and inspiration for multiple  American musical art forms including Blues, Jazz, R & B, Rock and Roll, Gospel and Hip Hop. This interactive program also includes communal singing and making time for discussing any questions you might have. Ask about our Artist In Residence programing!

 

SONGS ON OUR ROAD TO FREEDOM  - Is an interactive communal singing program designed for all ages.This program is a WE THE PEOPLE story in song. Experience America’s music from Spirituals, Freedom Songs, Jazz, Blues, Folk, Country, Protest Songs, Songs of Hope, and Songs of Love. FREEDOM has always been a powerful thought for Americans, and music brings that thought of freedom to life.

Communal singing has always been an intricate part of our multi cultural roots as Americans. Whether we 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 and strengthen our purpose and strengthened our community spirit. It still does today. This program is about coming together and singing together to continue building a strong community that is inclusive of all of us.

Thomas Jefferson proposed in written word a purpose and direction for our nations creed. Music created by humble unnamed slaves, and well known songwriters helped us feel that purpose with passion and dedication to ensure our nations creed belongs to all of us. Come join Calvin Earl as he leads us in inspiring songs in our American History!

 

2006 Calvin Earl performance / lecture at the Congressional Democratic Caucus, in Washington DC.

MOVING BEYOND THE LABELS THAT DIVIDE US  - Is a program using storytelling and music to better understand ourselves as Americans. Today, when you look at me, some of you can only see a label, you can’t see me. No matter what culture you come from, you first see me as a black man. You judge me by the color of my skin, not the content of my character. Most of the world sees black and brown skin as inferior. You will only know who I am if we go beyond the labels. My mission in life is to inspire all of us to move beyond the labels that divide us. Labels restrict our ability to be who we were born to be.

Who are we? American victims or heroes? Is there really a difference between a Slave and a Settler? We are all human beings navigating our journey through life with the circumstances we have been born into. Where we go from there if we are lucky enough to make it into adulthood is up to us to determine. It is always our choice and our responsibility to choose our path in life. We all make mistakes. Mistakes don’t have to determine our outcome.

To understand that man made labels do not define us, it is important to look at our history for answers. I talk about the oral history of our enslaved ancestors, because I have found answers to why I think like I do, and why the dehumanizing labels society has placed upon many of us have generationally bound us to stay on that same damaging course. We can’t change history, but what we can do is listen, acknowledge, atone, forgive and be free to be who we were born to be. Free to use our God given gifts without fear, and live our lives with inner peace and joy.

For me, that began when I learned more about those who came before me and whose shoulders I stand on today. I proudly honor our ancestors and preserve their music and oral history. The very fact that the true essence of a human spirit and the dignity of one’s soul is revealed in the first utterance of a spiritual, speaks volumes about the character and phenomenal beauty, strength and integrity of our African American ancestors who created a music like no other in the world. I want you to see your ancestors for their accomplishments and contributions not just their circumstances but how they rose above it all. That way you can yourself as you really are, a child of God. See yourself as beautiful. See yourself as worthy. See yourself as valuable. It’s the labels that are valueless. YOU ARE VALUABLE.

This program reminds us to march on, sing on, and be eternally grateful for the grace and beauty of our ancestors. We are because they were.

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.

Book Calvin Earl Today!

 

 

Calvin Earl