Monday, March 30, 2015

Dominique-René de Lerma: Launch of the Spirituals Database

Randye Jones

Dominique-René de Lerma forwards this release from Randye Jones:

Today marks the official launch of The Spirituals Database.  Thanks to all for sharing your comments and suggestions.  Please forward this announcement as far and wide as you wish.

The Spirituals Database is currently a searchable database of nearly 1600 tracks from recordings of Spirituals settings for the solo voice.  Launched in March, 2015, it is part of The Art of the Negro Spiritual and carries on that project’s efforts to discover and share information about this music’s potential role in developing a singer’s repertoire.

The  project’s goal is the eventual publication of a discography of Spiritual art songs.

The primary–but far from exclusive–audience is the voice student and coach/teacher who is looking for these recorded resources.  All too often, recordings may be the first exposure a vocalist has to the Spiritual.  That person, likely unfamiliar with the genre and with the singers who have recorded these art songs, can use these recordings as a resource in the study of how Spirituals can be performed in a concert setting.

Even the more experienced performer of this repertoire will have reason to seek out information about the wide range of recordings–including a number of rare or out-of-print long-playing (33 1/3 rpm) and 78 rpm albums, audio cassettes and 45 rpm discs–represented here. 

More information is available on The Spirituals Database, located at

Soprano and researcher Randye Jones, the database's creator, holds her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Florida State University, Tallahassee. She is currently a doctoral student in Vocal Literature at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Jones has gained recognition for her research of and published writings on African American vocalists and composers and as a performer and lecturer through her project, The Art of the Negro Spiritual.

She regularly presents lecture-recitals and concerts at events such as the Research, Education, Activism and Performance National Conference on Spirituals, African American Art Song Alliance Conference and the Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium VIII in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Jones brings over 20 years of library experience, including her current position as the media room supervisor for the library at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, to the task of creating The Spiritual Database’s content.

Please direct inquiries and comments to Randye Jones at 

Dominique-René de Lerma

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