Showing posts with label gospel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gospel. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gospel CD mixes

The cover of my Gospel Music double disc mix with artist help from Elisabeth Rene
Back in December of 2010, I spent some time in the eco-village of Lynchdoche near Capetown, South Africa. I volunteered there, hanging out with the kids, pretending I knew something about gardening, and having a blast spending time in a country I had always wanted to visit.

I was in love with the music, fascinated by the history and curious to know the state of a country that was only 16 years (at the time) out of Apartheid.

One of the amazing things I got to do was visit Joya Homes, an "unofficial" orphanage, about an hour away. This orphanage is not supported by the government financially. Instead they have become a Section 21 Non-Profit Organisation, accepting donations.

Lydia Tom had a few kids of her own, but she started to take in other kids that needed help. When I was there, I believe there were about 18 children living with her. They relied on what others gave them. Some of these children where found in trash cans, some of them on doorsteps. Some of them are HIV positive. They were well behaved and sweet as can be.

I gave one of the teenaged boys my shoes and entertained the idea (just for a second) of taking one of the babies home with me, until reason set in. When I got back to California later and celebrated my 31st birthday I asked my friends to donate money that we could send to them. I hope they were able to buy something they needed and/or enjoyed.

In one of the last Joya Home newsletters, there was a request for money to buy Gospel Music CDs and DVDs. I sent an email asking if I could make them some CD mixes of American and South African Gospel music. They answer was yes, so I did. I had a blast making these.

The cover of my Mahalia Jackson CD mix
Because I wrote my Masters Report about American gospel music, I have collected quite a bit from the 60s and 70s, Mahaliah, Sam Cooke, the Dixieland Hummingbirds and more. And of course because I love to collage, I made some covers that I am REALLY proud of, and got to hang with my amazing friend Elisabeth Rene who provided help with lettering and decoration.

I hope the kids like them. Selected song lists found below. As usual, let me know if you'd like me to make you a copy.

The cover for the Soweto Gospel Choir's 2005 Voices from Heaven

Make a Joyful Sound – A Gospel Mix CD 1
1. Come and Go To That Land - Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers
2. Amazing Grace - Blind Boys of Alabama
3. Touch Me, Lord Jesus - Angelic Gospel Singers
4. Let's Talk About Jesus - Bells of Joy
5. When the Saints Go Marchin' - In Blind Willie Davis
6. Let Me Lean On You - Brooklyn All-Stars
7. I Won't Be Back - Caravans 
8. Bedside of a Neighbor - Dixie Hummingbirds
9. Swing Down, Chariot Golden - Gate Quartet
10. He's Got the Whole World in His Hands - Mavis Staples
11. Nothing Can Change Me (Since I've Found the Lord) - Pilgrim Travelers
12. Highway to Heaven - Professor Alex Bradford
13. Peace In the Valley - R.H. Harris
14. God Is a Battle Axe - Sallie Martin Singers
15. Rock Me - Sister Rosetta Tharpe
16. Feel Like My Time Ain't Long - Soul Stirrers w/ R.H. Harris
17. Dry Bones - Stars of Faith 
18. Working On a Building - Swan Silvertones
19. This Heart of Mine - Two Gospel Keys
20. Lift Him Up, That's All - Washington Phillips
21. Blind Barnabus - The Golden Gate Quartet
22. Down By The Riverside - Sister Rosetta Tharpe 
23. Oh Happy Day - Edwin Hawkins 
24. We Shall Overcome - SNCC Freedom Singers w/ Pete Seeger

Make a Joyful Sound – A Gospel Mix CD 2
1. Last Mile of the Way - Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers
2. Sit Down Servant - The Staple Singers
3. I'm Sealed - Dorothy Love Coates & The Original Gospel Harmonettes
4. What a Friend We Have in Jesus - Aretha Franklin
5. He's Worthy
6. Every Day Will Be Sunday (By And By) - Dorothy Love Coates                                                            and The Original Gospel Harmonettes
7. Swing Down, Sweet Chariot - Spirit of Memphis
8. Wade in the Water - The Staple Singers
9. Steal Away - The Harmonizing Four
10. Let's Go To the Programs - Dixie Hummingbirds
11. Will the Circle Be Unbroken - The Staple Singers
12. I'm Willing - Albertina Walker/Caravans/I. Andrews
13. Move Upstairs - Bessie Griffin & W.H. Brewster
14. Hallelujah - Farifield Four
15. Go Tell It on the Mountain - Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir
16. Christ Is All - The Soul Stirrers
17. You'd Better Get A Move On - Louise McCord
18. Shadrack - Pure Gospel Chorus 19. By and By (part 1) - The Soul Stirrers & R.H. Harris
20. God's Unchanging Hand - Church in Como, Mississippi
21. Samson and Delilah - The Staple Singers
22. Do Your Thing - Marion Gaines Singers

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gospel Brunch in Austin, Texas - my Masters Report


The Shields of Faith perform at Gospel Brunch - Stubbs in Austin, Texas

In 2006, I wrote a 100 page book in partial fulfillment of my Master's Degree in Ethnomusicology (the anthropology of music) about Gospel Brunch in Austin, Texas. It's called "If Church was like this, I'd go Every Sunday". For the last five years, it's been sitting in the University of Texas at Austin's library on a CD (they didn't even make me print it).

About a month ago, I was finally inspired to actually print the thing out. I made two copies: one for me and one for the Austin Public Library. On my visit to Austin, I saw the record, it's officially in the system!

I've also posted it for download if you were so inclined.


My Masters report on official record at the Austin Public Library

Why Gospel Brunch? Every House of Blues across the country has an brunch buffet and gospel show every Sunday morning. And other than a couple other venues (like the Cotton Club in New York) the House of Blues is about it... except in Austin, where there are three every weekend.

Maria's Taco Express Hippie Gospel Church in South Austin

The research for this paper was really fun, every Sunday morning I would head down to one of three spots: Stubb's, Threadgill's (the South Austin location) or Maria's Taco Xpress (the old location). This little Jewish girl would settle into some good food, booze (sometimes) and music about Jesus.

The three venues couldn't be more different. As you can see from the photos, Maria's is full of wonderful dancing hippies and the bands are mostly non-religious bands singing Bob Dylan tunes, traditionals and spiritually themed original songs. Stubb's is more likely to hire Evangelical bands coming from the Salvation Army. Threadgill's was somewhere in the middle. It was fun to compare and contrast the venues.

The Shields of Faith perform at Gospel Brunch at Stubb's

One chapter is about the City of Austin, and why it has grown to be a cultural and liberal oasis in one of the most conservative states in the country. I even got to mention Janis Joplin's brief stint in Austin before she headed to San Francisco.


I wrote a chapter on the history of African American scared music outside of the church. One of the more interesting examples I discussed was how Northern abolitionists used African American spirituals for humanitarian purposes pre-civil war. From the Tuskegee University Choir to Ray Charles changing gospel tunes into secular ones, there is a pattern of African American sacred music being used outside sacred spaces for various purposes. Pairing the music with a brunch buffet on a Sunday morning is no exception.


LZ Love performs at Maria's Taco Xpress

One of the wonderful things about being an ethnomusicologist is talking to people. Through hours of interviews I found out why Austinites would come to these venues on Sunday mornings to listen to religious and sacred music, instead of being at church.


The youngest member of the Shields of Faith

I was curious as to why Evangelical musicians would leave the church and perform in secular venues for beer drinking heathens (my words!) and why non-Christains like myself are so drawn to this music.

One of the more interesting moments of my research was when an 80-year-old reverend told me in an indirect way, that as a non-believer, I was going to hell. But, and I really do say this in most sincere way, he meant it in the nicest way possible (as someone who I saw being genuinely concerned for my soul). It was at that point that the hour long interview ended and we went to a fish fry. It was a relief.


Rose, my favorite Hippie Church dancer at Maria's Taco Xpress.

Just last Sunday, I headed down to Threadgill's for Gospel Brunch. I'm glad to see Gospel Brunch at all three venues is still going strong, and six years later, many of the same bands are still in rotation. The food is good and the music is great. What else could you want on a Sunday morning?

Anyway, if you are at all interested in check out my report, you can download the pdf here, or get a hard copy from the Austin Public Library.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Maunal, Dwayne & Brian: the kids of Lynchdoche Eco-village

Manual at an end-of-the-year Christmas party for a program where kids learn to recycle (he has the best smile)

These videos are super special to me. I arrived in Cape Town from London early on a Sunday morning and headed directly to the Sustainability Institute and Lynchdoche Village, located east of Cape Town in wine country on the way to Stellenbosch.

The sun was out, it was warm and windy, and it was gorgeous country. I didn't really know what to expect from this place, and since it was Sunday, school wasn't in session and it was really REALLY quiet. During the week, these pictures would be filled up with people.

looking north: The crèche on the right (where kids play during the week) and some homes.

south

Then I heard some music. So I followed it (as I do) and found these guys: Manual, Dwayne and Brian (and Brian's little sister) playing music. Brian lives in the village, I'm not sure where Manual and Dwayne live, but it would be in the general area in small homes. All three go to school at the government run school located in the Sustainability Institute.

Brian's mother Makka runs the guesthouse where I rented a room. She just finished paying off her house (behind them) and was one of the first eco-village residents a little over 10 years ago. (Her tiny two-story home has a solar panel.) Brian is 11 and the oldest out of this bunch.



I love the extension chords leading out of Brian's house. Manual played that plastic trashcan lid like a pro. Brian's guitar was hardly tuned, but he would bar the frets to get a reasonable harmonic sound out of it. I later found out that he had taken guitar lessons, so this kid knows how to play chords and he's actually very musically talented. So he's chosen to play this particular instrument without much tuning. I found that really interesting.

I'm not sure what the first song is, but I imagine that it's a South African gospel tune. This second one definitely is. Gospel is really popular in the rural parts of Cape Town. Brian taught me how to play this second tune "I've got a Feeling" on his guitar. I also went and pulled out my ukulele which he tinkered around with.

Please ignore the fact that I interrupted them at the end, so I could give Dwayne the chance to play if he wanted to. Only now do I realize that Brian says "He can't play!" haha... oops.

This was really sweet though, and a wonderful way to welcome me to this continent/country/city.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My friend Sarah is an intern at NPR - She wrote this fun gospel music work out mix article

Stephen J. Boitano/Stringer/Getty Images

My friend Sarah from the University of Michigan music school is an intern at NPR and she gets to write blogs for the site here and there (like this one about the darker side/hard rock of classical music). The NPR website has had this fun "work out playlist" column going for a little while and this is her contribution: Your Body Is A Temple: A Gospel Workout Mix. I'm very happy t brag that she got some inspiration from my blog and its playlist over there on the right.

Sarah is a violist and grad student at the University of Maryland.

Read her article and listen to the gospel playlist here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Being critic when you don't like a show, how to review?

If you read this blog in any sort of regular way, you've probably noticed that I gush, a lot, about the different types of music that move me. As a blogger I can write about whatever I want, even with Examiner.com. I scope out the music world and see what's worth sharing with you. I look at the calendar see what looks interesting to me.

Because I'm not being assigned stories by an editor, I usually choose to write about things I already like. Makes sense right? I'm not doing this for a ton of cash (long way off there) so of course I'm going to write about things I will be able to say nice things about. Even if there are elements I don't like, I can usually stress the parts that were good over everything else. Some have called this "sugarcoating," fine, I can live with that.

But what happens when I really can't think of anything nice to say, and I really don't recommend that people go spend their money on it. It's certainly my responsibility to say it, even if I feel bad about it. If I never wrote anything bad ever, why would anyone trust my opinions? I end up feeling bad because the artists usually give me free tickets which even after a year of writing I'm getting used to, but then I feel guilty for saying bad things. Well, this is when being a critic and journalist (a term I'm still getting used to when referring to myself) is all about. So, I say "bring it." I can take it. It's good for me!

So, I just saw this musical called Mahalia: a Gospel Musical over the weekend. It was, well, very disappointing. I mean, I LOVE gospel music. I wrote a freaking 100 page master's report on the topic. I've seen incredible musicals like Crowns and A Color Purple that blew my brain right out of my head (ew).

I would figure that if you cast a singer to portray one of the greatest voices, you would find someone who can really sing. Considering that Oakland has a large African American community, you figure it wouldn't be that hard. How many female gospel singers live a stones throw away from San Francisco?

Anyway, the singing was what I decided to focus on in my review. Other reviewers tore down the acting, the directing and the blocking (yes, it was bad, folks). But I would be very interested to see what you think of my review, even not seeing the show (don't please, save your money). Was I TOO nice? Did I say anything below the belt?

Read my review here

Thanks for reading by the way, I am so lucky to have such awesome fans.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, always with good music

Every year we Americans have a three day weekend, perfectly timed three weeks into a new year that is probably already beating us up. This is a day to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, a man who gave his life for freedoms many of us enjoy now in the 21st Century.

Do not be mistaken: this day is also a reminder of how far we still have to go. It doesn't matter your color or creed, we are still all affected by those who have freedoms and those who do not.

If you are in the mood to celebrate this day, there are dozens of events going on around the Bay Area. Most of them will include music, lots of music. Gospel, jazz, R&B, rock and roll. Anything having to do with MLK usually gets me emotional, gospel music does as well. So I'd better get ready for some waterworks.

CLICK HERE FOR A SCHEDULE OF EVENTS IN THE BAY AREA

If you are not in the Bay Area, just do a google search for Martin Luther King and your area and you'll find something. Or check this website.

THE WHITE HOUSE IS CALLING THIS MLK DAY, A DAY OF SERVICE. CLICK HERE FOR IDEAS ON HOW TO GET INVOLVED (there are events listed here associated with helping Haiti)

Mahalia Jackson "We Shall Overcome" - This song was a staple of the civil rights movement, Mahalia worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My favorite Gospel recording: "Sit Down Servant" by the Staple Singers

I was singing this song to Serena at GrassRoutes Travel last night and figured I'd post this video here since it is probably my favorite gospel recording.

The first minute or so of a young Mavis Staples gives me chills everytime; the way her voice groans and cries and FEELS. This nice Jewish Girl loves her some jesus music sometimes :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Joshua Nelson and Kosher Gospel: Concert Review

If you are not a religious person, but feel drawn to African American gospel music, raise your hand. (I know this is the internet, but do it anyway. Unless you are in public, then spare yourself.)

If you are not Christian and are still drawn to gospel music, raise your hand.

If you are not Christian and are drawn to gospel music but get a little (or very) uncomfortable with the lyrics, raise your hand. 

Still have your hand raised? Thought so. Okay, you can put it down now.

I LOVE African American gospel music. I have been drawn to it for as long as I can remember. I even wrote a one-hundred page master's report on it in graduate school.

I am an agnostic Jew, and I love music written with the love of Jesus Christ in mind. What's up with that?  

People have described the concept in many ways, but it usually gets back to something like: it's not the words that matter, it's the conviction, the emotion and the excitement of the music behind the words. And most of the people that sing gospel, can really SING.

I learned about Joshua Nelson years ago when a friend who knew that I was researching gospel music sent me a newspaper clipping.  The Grammy-nominated singer grew up as a Black Orthodox Jew in South Orange, New Jersey. His grandmother introduced him to Mahalia Jackson and he fell in love. Nelson wanted to be a gospel singer, but he couldn't realistically sing about Jesus now, could he?

"All I can do is be who I am," said Nelson at the sold-out opening night of the Jewish Music Festival at the First Congregational Church in Oakland, California. Really all Nelson has done is replaced hebrew lyrics over the gospel style of singing, accompaniment and harmony.  Similar, and yet very different, to what Ray Charles did with gospel music and secular lyrics years before.

To me personally, it's theoretically the perfect blend.  It actually it sounded a little cheesy to me at first, but then I experienced it in person this evening, and I got it.  Let me explain:

The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir took the stage first. The choir is a professional group that is unaffiliated with any church and has singers of all backgrounds and creeds.   They started off with a handful of gorgeously arranged spirituals like "Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit" and "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel." 

"Good start," I thought, "stick to the old testament and songs that tell about the glory of god. The Jewish people can get that, definitely."

Then came a more contemporary style gospel. I heard the word "Christ" once and at that moment wondered what every person in the sanctuary was thinking, I mean, we were in a church, but as part of the Jewish Music Festival.  I kinda thought my brain would explode for a second there, too many layers to think about.

The audience was into it, heads were bobbing. Things were going well.  Terrance Kelly, conductor of the Interfaith Choir, gave the audience a gospel 101 lesson, "don't wait for the song to end to clap!" People laughed.

But then after the intermission, Nelson and his band took the stage, and people couldn't stay in their seats. They went nuts. The difference was like night and day.  

In addition to singing Jewish traditionals like "Hineh Ma Tov" and "Mi Chamocha" he referred to and sang the songs of Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Louie Armstrong and Harry Belafonte. He riffed off of Benny Goodman's (a fellow member of the tribe) "Sing Sing Sing" and Ray Charles' "Hit the Road" Jack. Music that was familiar to everyone in the room.

I spoke to an older couple on my way out who said that that was some of the best music they had heard in a long time. 

As a Jew, I get it: this guy is literally speaking my language. He's singing words that I recognize. And words that I, even as an agnostic, am emotionally attached to.  And it's to the music that I know and love.  I don't have to distance myself from the music just because I can't relate to the words.

Oh, and Nelson can sing too...



Here's another one of the tune Adon Olam with his backup singers.

This picture from 2004 cracks me up.  You know if Oprah says someone is the "next big thing," it's gonna be true. 


I will be attending most of this weeks Jewish Music Festival's shows, so please check back for bloggings.  It's going to be fun!

Here's a the schedule. Tickets are available for all shows:

Young People's Symphony Orchestra: Special guest cellist Bonnie Hampton sits in with California's oldest youth orchestra in a concert that is part of "Bloch Party - A Celebration of the Life and Music of Ernest Bloch." 2 p.m. today. $15-$20. Castro Valley Center for the Arts, 19501 Redwood Road, Castro Valley. (510) 889-8961.

Andy Statman Trio: A master of blurring genres, this clarinet and mandolin virtuoso shuffles through bluegrass, American roots, and avant-garde jazz with klezmer and Hasidic nigunim. 8 and 10 p.m. Monday. $20. Yoshi's, 1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco, (415) 655-5600.

Flory Jagoda and Friends: Born 84 years ago into a singing family in the Sephardic community of Sarajevo, this Jewish singer and composer is one of the primary ambassadors for Ladino culture. This program finds her sharing stories and songs. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. $16-$20. Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley.

Di Goldene Pave: The Toronto-based Yiddish singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Lenka Lichtenberg duets with clarinetist Kinneret Sageet. 1 p.m. Thursday. $12-$16. Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. Also 6 p.m. Thursday. Free. San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco.

Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird: Mixing klezmer and politics with elements of punk and folk on its new album, "Partisans and Parasites," this Berlin cabaret group will be joined by beatboxer Yuri Lane. 8 p.m. Thursday. $12-$14. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St. Also, 8 p.m. April 2 (without Lane). $12-14. Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

The Sisters of Sheynville and Gaucho: The all-female Canadian folk vocal group headlines with its three- and four-part harmonies in the style of the Barry Sisters. Gaucho plays seductive gypsy swing with a detectable Django Reinhardt influence. 8 p.m. Saturday. $18-$28. Jewish Community Center San Francisco, 3200 California St., San Francisco.

Elana Jagoda, Yuri Lane and guests: A program directed at children as part of family music day, featuring folk-rocker Elana Jagoda, beatboxer Yuri Lane, workshops and performances by other festival artists. 11 a.m. Next Sunday. $7-$20. Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley.

Finale Dance Party with Brass Menazeri: The festival closes out with a lively set by a horn-driven Bay Area soul and Klez-Balkan outfit. 4 p.m. next Sunday. $10-$25. Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Stop Shopping Gospel Choir: What will YOU give?


This is awesome.  Time to get on my soapbox.

Among the billions of political email lists that I'm on is Brave New Films: the folks who brought us John McCain's Youtube just became a Nightmare and more. I saw this today: Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping and the soon to be released documentary "What would Jesus Buy".

It's pretty obvious were I'm going to go with this.

Mindless gift giving has always baffled me.  Other than trying to be loving and thankful for wonderful people in my life every day of the year, I often show my love by giving gifts at random times of the year because I find something that I think that person would really like.  Sometimes I can wait long enough and keep it for a birthday or the holidays.  I really don't understand giving things to people just to give them.  Especially if they're going to sit in the closet unused.  How wasteful.

How do we save ourselves from what Reverend Billy calls the "Shopocalypse"?

Black Friday and Holiday shopping seems to have reached a new peak of horridness when three people lost their lives this year.  And with the economy taking a turn for the worst, it seems like the perfect time to re-evaltuate how Americans show love and thanks for our friends and family. 

The Church of Stop Shopping.  The mission is pretty obvious.  Consumerism is running our lives and ruining our happiness. Put the heart and local soul back into our communities.  Have you seen the Story of Stuff? (It's great!) Our lives are driven by the stuff we own, and it's killing us, it's killing the planet and we're now savagely also killing each other.

Here's what Reverend Billy has to say:



This is what the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir had to say about holiday gift giving this year:


What will you give your friends and family this year? Please leave a comment and share with alwaysmoretohear what you will do.

I will, surprisingly (!) be giving the gift of music. And dear readers of alwaysmoretohear, I will make you a CD mix, if you want one. Give any special requests if you have them.  Just let me know.

I will also be giving out a bunch of hugs.  

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Missed African Music Shows: The Soweto Gospel Choir and Cesaria Evora


While I'm so happy to be in Australia this week visiting family and friends, I am sorry to report that I am missing two beautiful shows.

Singer Cesaria Evora from Cape Verde will be performing at the Zellerbach Auditorium in Berkeley, California on October 9th and 10th as part of the Cal Performances Season. Go HERE for details. I've never seen her before, but I've heard that she's amazing live.

Evora sings mouna which can be described as a soulful genre unique to the archipelago (off the West Coast of Africa) that fuses Latin jazz and Afro beats with traces of Portuguese fado and Brazilian modinha (ballads).

Here's her myspace page, and a youtube video of my favorite song, "Sodade." Love the cigarette!

I will also be missing the Soweto Gospel Choir performing in Palo Alto, California on October 7th at the Memorial Church as part of the Stanford Lively Arts series. This group fuses two of my favorite "genres" of music, gospel and african music and understandably, each time I've seen this group ( once at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest in 2003 and once in San Antonio in 2007), I've ended up a soggy, weepy mess on the floor with goosebumps: This nice jewish girl loves her gospel music!

They get a little cheesey for my taste sometimes when they sing in English and include synth keyboards, but they also break out into dance on some numbers. I prefer the a capella numbers.

Here's the Soweto Gospel Choir's website. Notice that they will be continuing their 2008 tour into the Midwest, East Coast, Canada, back to Southern California and then it looks like Europe too (maybe there are two choirs touring at the same time?). Check out their touring schedule if you're interested.

Here's a youtube video that gives you a pretty good idea of what they sound and look like.

I've added a couple songs on my playlist over to the right, take a listen!