Sunday, June 14, 2009
Looking Back to Go Forward: My Introduction to The Fisk Jubilee Singers
Durning Memorial Day Weekend, I had the pleasure of hearing my lil' cous' sing with his college choir at The Schomburg Research Center in Harlem. I have heard my cousin sing before and our entire family is well aware of his musical talents. I was excited, sure, but I had no idea what I was in for during this concert. He (a resident of North Carolina) was in the Big Apple for a bunch of shows and I was looking forward to seeing the kid on my turf (normally we're in N.C. when our fam gets together) and showing him around the big city. But, my baby cous' was actually the one who taught me something during his visit.
Said cousin just happens to attend Fisk University (the recently deceased John Hope Franklin was a grad) in Nashville, Tenn. and is part of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Now, in my opinion, ALL HBCU's have a rich history but I had no idea that Fisk was the owner of such an OUTSTANDING legacy. While this country was barely (just barely) out of slavery, Fisk students were over in Europe singing before royalty to raise funds for their school. That tradition continued and now the singers travel the world (still) to perform in front of all sorts of folks.
My cousin (yes, I'm bragging) has trekked all over the United States, Europe and even Africa exposing the young and old alike to beautiful traditional gospel music and Negro Spirituals. The acappella hymns these students belt out are nothing short of amazing and each song tells a story of resilence and tenacity. To hear these young voices carrying on this legacy...well, it's pretty darn impressive. The African-American stuggle is rarely celebrated. I am extremely proud of my lil' cousin and the other Jubilee Singers for reminding folks of how fly we truly are. You too can expereince their talent here and even purchase one of their cds.
Take a listen and tell me what you think. ;-)