Singing for hope and freedom was fundamental for Black African-American slaves. It gave them the resilience they needed through the darkness and was the path to emancipation.
I was in a singing workshop on Sunday with Dr Kathy Bullock, a music professor, Gospel leader, singer, performer and teacher of music from the black traditions. Over the day, we explore the early spiritual music, the songs of slavery, Gospel and African rhythms.
She is a descendant of slavery; her great-grandfather was born a slave, so the history is very close.
It has been her mission for over 30 years to bring this music and the stories it contains out to the world. Full of passion and energy, she can hold a room with 100 people or more, teach them a piece in 4-part harmony and have them singing within minutes.
Singing for Hope
It was sad, reflective and uplifting as we sang the songs written by people experiencing and living the injustice and pain of slavery and ongoing repression. These songs are about singing for hope, but it is so much more than that. It was about creating a shared vision of a better life and making it an affirmation.
Singing together is a powerful experience, and living close to the Findhorn Foundation, I consider myself privileged to live in a community where singing together in harmonies is normal and world-renowned teachers and presenters come to share their wisdom and experience with us.
The day was about the power of shared music as a means of communication, an expression of faith and resilience. This conversation is my reflection on the day and on the power of singing together. On reflection, I can see that music could be one of the tools to transcend our differences.
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