When The Saints Go Marching In
One of the most common songs played during the distinctive New Orleans jazz funeral march is When the Saints Go Marching In. Originally sang as a church spiritual with imagery from the Book of Revelations, this song gained fame in the hands of Louis Armstrong. This episode features performances of When the Saints Go Marching In, Blessed Assurance, Down by the Riverside, and This Little Light of Mine by the Zion Harmonizers, Rebirth Brass Band, and Ken Whiteley and Friends.
Wade In The Water
Wade in the Water was literally lifted out of Exodus in the Old Testament and became an anthem for African-American slaves. It is said to contain instructions for fugitive slaves seeking freedom. Made popular by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the late 1800s, it is performed in this episode by the current Singers, along with an a cappella version by Sweet Honey in the Rock and a blues version by Dione Taylor.
Songs of Freedom
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is a "Song of the Century" as named by the Recording Industry Association of America. It is just one song from a rich, painful, and powerful tradition of music that emerged from slavery. This episode features songs such as Steal Away, Go Down Moses, Follow the Drinking Gourd, and Gospel Train performed by Eric and Leon Bibb, Dave Wall, Ken Whiteley, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.
Nearer My God To Thee
Said to be the last hymn performed by the band on the Titanic as it went down, Nearer My God to Thee has given comfort to millions around the world. Many hymns have found a place on our coasts and oceans, including O God Our Help in Ages Past, His Eye is on the Sparrow, and Eternal Father, Strong to Save. These songs and others are performed by the Bills, the University of Southampton Choral Scholars, and Ken Whiteley and Friends.
The British Invasion
England has produced many of the world's best-loved songs, including Rock of Ages, penned by Reverend Augustus Toplady during a fierce storm in the Mendip Hills. Other songs from Britain featured in this episode include How Great Thou Art, Jerusalem and Will the Circle Be Unbroken, with performances by the Menno Singers, Ken Whiteley, the University of Southampton Choral Scholars, Jacob Moon, and the Afiara String Quartet with Justin Bacchus.
Many composers have interpreted this musical masterpiece over the centuries. In this episode the Franz Schubert and J. S. Bach/Charles Gounod versions are explored, along with a beautiful rendition by African American composer R. Nathaniel Dett and a newly created arrangement by composer Omar Daniel for string quartet and soprano. Features performances by Bobby McFerrin, the Cecilia String Quartet with Monica Whicher, and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale.
Silent Night - The Songs of Christmas
Perhaps no spiritual music touches us more deeply than the music we hear at Christmas. Silent Night may be one of the most well-known: it was sung simultaneously in French, English, and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914, as it was one carol that soldiers on both sides knew. In this episode we hear it along with several other favorite seasonal songs performed by The Bills, The Sojourners, Tony McManus & Suzie Vinnick, and The Nathaniel Dett Chorale.
It is the world's most popular hymn, estimated to be performed over 10 million times annually. Its message of redemption and forgiveness touches the soul in a powerful way. In this episode Mahalia Jackson's influence is recognized, sixties icon Judy Collins discusses her role in its popularization, and the Blind Boys of Alabama perform a stirring yet unconventional rendition of this classic piece.
Abide With Me
Inspired by the story of Jesus rising from the tomb, Abide with Me was written by Henry Francis Lyte as he lay dying of tuberculosis - which may be why it is such a moving call for God's company. It has been recorded by a wide variety of artists and is sung prior to kickoff at every FA Cup Final. This episode features stunning performances by the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, the Priests, and the community of All Saints' Church in Brixham UK, the birthplace of the hymn.
About the series
- Good King WenceslasThe Bills
- Silent Night Joe Sealy
- Mary Had a BabyMelissa Davis with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale
- Away in a Manger/Sleep Little OneThe Sojourners
- It Came Upon the Midnight ClearDavid Wall
- Silent NightTony McManus and Suzie Vinnick
- Go Tell it on the MountainKen Whitely and Friends
- Joy to the WorldJackie Richardson with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale
Angels We Have Heard on High
- Gabriel's MessageThe Once
- Angels We Have Heard on HighAmory Levy with Camille Harrison and Nevon Sinclair
- O Come All Ye FaithfulJennifer Jade Kerr
- We Three KingsChris Andrews and Craig Young
- God Rest Ye Merry GentlemenAndrew Craig
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel/ What Child is This?Ali Matthews
- A Cradle In BethlehemThe Lower Lights
- In the Bleak MidwinterJacob Moon with Ali Matthews
- Bring A Torch, Jeanette, IsabellaThe Lower Lights
- Lo How A Rose E'er BloomingRebecca Campbell
- The Wexford CarolJacob Moon with Ali Matthews