The history of the spirituals is within itself filled with mystery and intrigue. Many people think the original sound and intention of the spirituals began and were originally sung in the European choir format. This is simply not true. Originally, the spirituals began with a moan and a groan by the enslaved Africans from wit1619-1865 in our country to find a rhythmic cadence to help themselves keep a steady pace in the fields as they worked. Besides, singing can uplift your spirit especially if that is your intention to do so. The spirituals, which seem simple in structure musically, are in fact quite complex in nature with many secret moving parts. In part because the slaves secretly communicated routes on the UGRR within the music for practical purposes. But more importantly these songs were sacred, not in the religious sense but on a personal human level as each slave singing these songs were revealing their souls to those around them, in a time in our history when the slaves were not allowed to have a voice. They took the liberty of feeling freedom in their souls through these songs, while their bodies remained in bondage. And in the religious sense these songs were meant to be the singers own conversation with God. These songs were meant to be sung communally, to uplift not only themselves but those who joined in the singing along with those who just heard the songs from afar. Regarding the spirituals being sung in a European choir format this only began after slavery ended which is a whole other story within itself. I address this issue in another video(Fisk Jubilee Singers) on my YouTube channel. But this video will explain how the spirituals began and some of the little known facts about the spirituals. Enjoy, and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

  1. Debbie D eniese DeLoach
    | Reply

    This is absolutely WONDERFUL that you would give clarity to the ‘singing slaves’ ways of old.

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