"An in-depth study of the first African-American religious song, paving the way for gospel and all popular secular musical styles in America. Through the use of recordings, live performances, and sing-alongs, students will build a repertoire of songs. All participants will have a deep understanding of the complexities in slave-holding America that led to the development of this music. Slavery, Christianity, and a theology of liberation are the undelying text of all spirituals. The core element of Afrocentric music, this course is the most fundamental and comprehensive of the workshops, and a suggested prerequisite for all."
"As the post-slavery African-American began to institutionalize Christianity into seperate Protestant denominations, a unique blend of Anglo-Saxon hymnody and psalms blended with the classic spirituals of the past. The term "gospel" referred very pointedly to a style, or way of interpreting the existing songs. Blues influences and folk music from other traditions, are the backbone of what we now call "gospel." Yet gospel music, a hybrid, has many sounds and styles within itself. A broad -based study will include an overview of the formation of "the black church" in America, its role in facilitating the style, and the composers and artists that helped make gospel one of the most beloved forms of sacred music in the world today. With recordings, live performances, and sing-alongs."
"Unlocking the fear and mystery surrounding this music is what the course is all about. To do so, would be to answer the questions:"WHO, WHAT, WHEN, HOW," and most importantly, "WHY?" A most comprehensive class, students of the blues will have a full understanding that singing a sad song doesn't simply mean you've got the blues, yet, "the blues" makes so many feel good! Learn what the blues as a genre, is, and is not. Know the theory and the sentiment around it. Decode the lingo, and realize that most of what we've listened to in the twentieth century is the the blues "all dressed up." As a class participant, you will be armed with the knowledge to compose and perform your own blues lament. Pick your type: The music swelled from the lowest delta to the complex metropolis (stampeded by optimistic blacks in hope of better days?!)."
The New Orleans That Built Jazz
"Understanding the unique mix of people that constituted the place we call "The Big Easy" is just as important as the story of jazz itself. Cajuns, Creoles, Octaroons, and Quadroons--all are in the parade of much speculation and history of The Crescent City. Its intriguing mix of Catholicism and Voodoo; where angels and demons are believed to carry equal weight, loom large in the story of the organized, yet improvisational music we call jazz. Not a traditional beginning jazz study, we will concentrate on how the principles of the genre were extolled in the brothels, and over time, experienced a transcendant metamorphosis into "America's classical music" despite arising from a New Orleans that once fought to stay as un-American as possible! Students will listen to the earliest jazz styles in order to create a firm definition of the true jazz experience. With live recordings and panelists"
The Afro-Judaic Music Collaborative
"Yes, there is a symbiotic connection between two historically enslaved peoples, which I have named The Afro-Judaic Musical Collaborative. It began when the African slaves in America composed the most beloved spiritual GO DOWN, MOSES, and continued on with the Jewish immigrants who began the songwriting and publishing trade in New York and Hollywood. Gershwin, Arlen, and others empathized with the black experience in America, and TIN PAN ALLEY produced masterful compositions intended for black artistic performance. Why? Unlock the answers in this class. Gershwin's PORGY AND BESS will be listened to and we'll learn one of its most beloved songs. THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK, as it is dubbed, is a composite of songs overwhelmingly authored by Jewish-Americans, and was interpreted by vocal greats like ELLA FITZGERALD who recorded many "songbooks." We will sing GO DOWN, MOSES, and music from THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK that was written to capture the flavor of African-American folklore and singing."
Trains, Travel, and African Americans
"The 19th century Americans experienced The Industrial Revolution and train travel was one of the most important inventions of the day. Mobility in the form of mass transit emancipated the enslaved, whether metaphorically or physically. Enslaved Africans could not dictate their whereabouts, but the "iron horse" would nonetheless remain their rock and salvation--and there are scores of beautiful spirituals and passages referring to "trains." Of course, the ultimate ticketholder was a passenger on Harriet's "Underground" railroad! Let's "Follow the drinking gourd" northward to Canada! The blues, a music characteristically associated with roaming, dealt with themes of wanderlust and homelessness. The great migration brought forth songs glorifying the migrants' arrival in a metropolis. "Goin' to Chicago, Sorry, but I can't take you... " The agony of a people in restlesss transit for centuries will be examined as we listen to examples from various genres and discuss early 20th century hobo-ing. Live performances, recordings, sing-alongs."
The Cotton Club
"The COTTON CLUB was an elegant speakeasy run by mobsters during prohibition. It catered to the Cafe Society of whites who came uptown for the ultimate in entertainment. This "whites only" cabaret launched the careers of DUKE ELLINGTON, THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS, and LOUIS ARMSTRONG, among others. Tin Pan Alley's Harold Arlen was the primary composer of the exclusive score for the house entertainers. (Soon-to-be) ARMSTRONG'S wife, Lucille, broke the color line as the first "brown-skinned" dancer, and the inimitable Lena Horne was a chorus girl with big dreams. The golden age of Harlem will be re-examined and participants will listen to the music and the artists associated with this legendary venue. Still in existence (but not in its original location), the "new" Cotton Club, in itself decades old, will be visited on its "big band" night.
The Music of the Civil Rights Movement
"ECHOES OF OUR ANCESTORS has been founded on the premise that music is a sociological process and is indebted to justifying this philosophy. There is no other time in American/Afro-American history, save slavery, that music was such an integral part of revolution. As for the struggle to end segregation in the United States--we have melodic reminders of the challenge and the conquest. The Civil Rights Songbook is a composite of re-vamped spirituals, gospels, folk songs and compositions developed for the freedom rides that ensued. Rock and roll and pop sounds had lyrics of protest, too! Relive, or be introduced to the songs of "the movement." A documentary on the subject will be a part of the experience. Group sing-alongs, and memoirs from active participants in marches, sit-ins, or lobbying will be encouraged."
Master Class on Spirituals
"TAMI TYREE has spent over two years compiling, analyzing and adding spirituals to her repertoire. Her catalogue consists of more than 200 songs. In addition, she has uncovered startling, undocumented revelations! Come and hear her theories and the amazing linkage to secular songs. As a performance, the master class will include learning rare tunes and euphemisms directly associated with the slaves. The preliminary course in spirituals offered by Echoes of our Ancestors is a welcome prerequisite, but not mandatory. This class will emphasize polished performance of spirituals to culminate in a recital. Performance of all participants, however, is not mandatory."
THE AFRO-MECHANICS OF MUSIC
This course emphasizes demonstrative application of the principles of African-centered music theory:
Listening sessions will include styles of music from the African Diaspora, to include calypso, reggae, salsa, hip-hop and a sub-genre of jazz: be-bop. Classes will include guest artists/facilitators who are experts in these musical traditions.
Vocalizing as the primary exponent of these musical attributes will include the following skill sets:
- beat box
- cries, moans, hollers
PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!