Mudcat Café message #1264667 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #65010   Message #1264667
Posted By: Jerry Rasmussen
05-Sep-04 - 09:22 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Kumbaya
Subject: RE: Kumbaya
Azizi: Glad to see you posting here. It is true that there are very few (if any) blacks who post on Mudcat. That says less about the interest of white folks in here in black music (because the interest is very high) than it does about the lack of interest of black folks in America in black folk music and blues. I'm kinda checkerboard on this. I have a black gospel quartet and sing in a black Men's Gospel Chorus in church but am white and of Danish descent. My wife is black, and so is half of my family, now.

A few weeks ago, I had a very exciting weekend when my wife's grandaughter and her fiance stayed with us. He is a young black minister from the south who is spiritually on fire, and has a great desire to learn more about music. When he told me that he loves blues, I started mentioning names like Mississippi John Hurt (because the young man is from Mississippi), Reverend Gary Davis and Leadbelly and he had heard of none of them. He had never heard of Robert Johnson, even though just about every white kid in America and England in the 60's and 70's was familiar with his name, if not his music, through performers like Eric Clapton. Now, I'm introducing him to his "roots." In the meantime, I'm trying to find more Scandinavian music to become more familiar with my family hostory's roots.

Songs like Kumbaya (when not played as background music over the speakers in the mall) are finding their way back into the black churches. There is a wonderful new hymnal, African American Heritage Hymnal published by GIA pulbications out of Chicago which has become a regularly used hymnal in the black church my wife and I attend. When the choirs and congregation sing Kumbaya, it takes on a different life.

Anyway, Azizi, why not become a member of Mudcat. We could use your thoughts and perspectives. I'm the only white male member of a church of over 1,500 black members and I feel right at home there. I think you'd find yourself right at home in here.

My gospel quartet will be singing at the NOMAD festival in New Haven in November, and I know we will once again be warmly greeted there.
The three other members of my quartet are black... two grew up in the south, and formed their musical tastes singing in black churches, listening to blues and jump tunes in juke joints, listening to stories from family members who were freed slaves, and listening every week to the Grand Ole Opry. They love bluegrass and old-time music, just as I love black gospel. The third member is from Kingston, Jamaica and has his own reggae band.

Music can transcend all artificial boundaries that man creates.

Jerry