Together Let Us Sweetly Live offers a rare look at the unique grassroots African American religious institutions called the Singing and Praying Bands. This folksong and ring shout tradition began in Chesapeake Bay country in the early nineteenth century, with a fusion of Methodist prayer meeting worship and African religious, danced song traditions. Although scholars have assumed ring shouts died out long ago, Jonathan C. David shows otherwise, ushering us inside tidewater communities of Maryland and Delaware where they continue to thrive.
A traditional band service represents a cultural commitment to mutual aid, called \u0022help,\u0022 operating as a system of social reciprocity, as a performance aesthetic, and as the foundation of community spirituality. The book's nine chapters tell the story of the Singing and Praying Bands at these services through oral histories, each told by a different member of a group. Seventy-eight photographs along with various song notations bring the spirit of the culture to life. The author's introduction provides the historical and ethnographic context needed to understand the bands and their tradition. An accompanying CD of original field recordings provides an opportunity to hear the service as if you were there.
A volume in the series Music in American Life
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 748 g
Dimensions: 254 x 178 x 23 mm
"This book is superb. It combines historical analysis, first-person narrative, musical transcription, and photography to form a landmark study of folk religion. With insight and respect it conveys a wonderful sense of humanity."
--Stephen Wade, editor and producer of A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings
"Remarkable. . . . A rich historical and ethnographic portrait of the tradition and the community."--Smithsonian Folkways Magazine
"This indispensable reference source and comprehensive treasury of information on a phenomenal heritage and culture includes an accompanying CD of a sample recording of a Singing and Praying Band."--Multicultural Review
"Jonathan David has put together a fine set of first-person accounts that together convey a detailed view of this distinctive cultural tradition."--European Journal of Communication"The stories taken together provide a panorama of history, showing the singing and praying band tradition from the insider's perspective, focusing on personal relationships, folk traditions, and the ties that bind the practitioners and the community."--Journal of Folklore Research
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