African American Gospel Music from Smithsonian Folkways

African American gospel music is a twentieth-century sacred music evolved from the African American repertoire and song style of the nineteenth century, which included spirituals, hymns, and shape-note singing. It is an urban music born of a people who began to move from the rural South to cities across the USA at the turn of the century. While gospel music has enjoyed much commercial success, the music starts in and remains tied to local churches and communities. Listen here to the uplifting sounds of gospel from field recordings in small churches, to legends such as the Fisk Jubilee Singers and Mahalia Jackson, and modern interpreters like Sweet Honey in the Rock.