New Book: A New Perspective for the Use of Dialect in African American Spirituals

History, Context, and Linguistics

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A new book by Felcia Raphael Marie Barber with a foreword by Andrea J. Thomasa. New Perspective for the Use of Dialect in African American Spirituals: History, Context, and Linguistics investigates the use of the African American English (AAE) dialect in the musical genre of the spiritual. Perfect for conductors and performers alike, this book traces the history of the dialect, its use in early performance practice, and the sociolinguistic impact of the AAE dialect in the United States. Read more and purchase!

Florence Price posthumously honored by music teacher’s association that once denied her membership

Florence Price (1887-1953) – Little Rock-born composer, educator, pianist and subject of the film “The Caged Bird” – was denied membership in the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association sometime between 1917 and 1927, and because she was African American. A hundred years later, the national branch of that same organization is naming Price as a Foundation Fellow, as Angelita Faller’s release from UA Little Rock yesterday details.

“An excerpt from Price’s biography in the Encyclopedia of Arkansascontextualizes the denial within Price’s life and her subsequent departure from Arkansas. Read more

Listening B(l)ack: Paul Robeson After Roland Hayes

OLWAGE, GRANT. 2015. “Listening B(l)ack: Paul Robeson After Roland Hayes.” Journal Of Musicology 32, no. 4: 524-557.

Much of the interpretive scholarship on Paul Robeson has tended to focus on his art as it relates to politics, an imperative related no doubt as much to the social turn in the humanities as to the singer’s own activist credentials. This article shifts the focus to art matters with the goal of gaining additional perspective on Robeson’s early singing career in the 1920s by examining the contemporary practices of concert singing. The analysis focuses on three domains of practice pertaining to singing spirituals at concerts: the programming of spirituals in recital; arranging them for performance; and their vocal performance. I include a study of how Robeson’s concert practice is indebted to that of the tenor Roland Hayes, proposing that a close listening to Hayes’s singing sheds new light on the assessment of Robeson’s early concert career and representations of the singer as racial subject. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Intercultural Elements in the Organ Works of Fela Sowande

Sadoh, Godwin. 2017. “Intercultural Elements in the Organ Works of Fela Sowande.” Diapason 108, no. 3: 23-25.

The article profiles composer and performer Fela Sowande. He was raised in the Nigerian bicultural topography where the English cultural values and the Yoruba traditional culture co-existed. He arrived in the U.S. at the peak of civil rights activities, African American renaissance and Afro-centric idealism in the 1960s. The contribution of Sowande to the ideologies include how he borrowed African-American spirituals and integrated them into his music compositions.