Saturday, February 21, 2015

MELODEON Premieres "From the Depth of the Spirit: A Tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers" by Paul Kwami 8 PM Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, Church of the Epiphany, NYC

Fisk Jubilee Singers recorded in 1909:

Cover of Ethiopia saluting the colors, by Harry Thacker Burleigh, c1915. Performing Arts Reading Room, Library of Congress.

Dr. Paul T. Kwami, Director
Fisk Jubilee Singers

Marti Newland

 Artis Wodehouse writes:

are one of the United States most valuable music institutions. Formed at Fisk University, an all-African American college created at the end of the Civil War, the Fisk Jubilee Singers grew out of that institution and began singing African American Spirituals in choral arrangements for white audiences.  Previously spirituals were sung mainly only within the African American community.  

To honor the Fisk Jubilee Singers, MELODEON has commissioned its current director, Dr. Paul T. Kwami to write a new piece for soprano Marti Newland and keyboardist Artis Wodehouse (on an 1887 Mason & Hamlin Liszt model reed organ) based upon the rich musical heritage of the group.

Dr. Kwami's piece, "From the Depth of the Spirit: A Tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers" will be premiered by MELODEON on Friday evening at 8 o'clock, February 27th, 2015, at Church of the Epiphany, 74th St. and York Ave., New York City.
In the above group photo ca. 1870s of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, members are posed around an American reed organ, then a widely available instrument.

Comment by email:
Bill - wonderful!  BTW, we're also doing several Burleigh songs of the highest quality: Ethiopia Saluting the Colors, Grey Wolf, One Year 1914-1915, Lovely Dark and Lonely, Just a-Wearyin' for You, Tide, Way 'O the World, Mammy's Little Baby.

These are outstanding creations, and maybe the high point on the program.

Artis Wodehouse

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