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The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music

 
mercury2
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08/06/2006 10:24 PM

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The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
I was going through some old saved articles and ran across this one, which I thought was so very interesting when it came out a few years ago. I don't know if the link at the end is still good. Thought someone else here might be interested in the unusual subject matter.

Also I thought I heard that the researcher took a black gospel singing group on a tour of churches in the Hebrides and that everyone was amazed how the congregations could sing along in just the same style. Anyone know anything about that?

Article follows:

The Independent
Gospel truth: Hebrides invented church spirituals
By Paul Kelbie, Scotland Correspondent
20 September 2003
..
A study into the roots of gospel music by an American professor has lead
the accomplished musician, who has played with Duke Ellington and Dizzy
Gillespie, to conclude that the "good news" music sung in black American
churches originated from Scotland, not Africa.
Professor Willie Ruff, of Yale University, said the roots of the music
derived from evangelical spirituals and blues and jazz, had more to do
with the crofters of the Outer Hebrides than slaves on US plantations.
..
For years the accepted wisdom has been that gospel music was born during
the period of slavery in the Deep South. But Professor Ruff conceded
that his findings have startled a number of elders in black churches.
..
"They have always assumed that this form of worship came from Africa,"
Professor Ruff, an Afro-American professor of music, said. "Black
Americans have lived under a misconception. Our cultural roots are more
Afro-Gaelic than Afro-American. Just look at the Harlem telephone book,
it's more like Edinburgh or the book for the North Uists.
..
"There is a notion that when African slaves arrived in America they came
down the gangplanks of slave ships singing gospel music - that's just
not true. What I'm talking about here pre-dates all other congregational
singing by blacks in America."
..
Traditional psalm singing, or "precenting the line" as it is correctly
known, in which the psalms are called out and the congregation sings a
response, was the earliest form of congregational singing adopted by
Africans in America. Even today, psalm singing and gospel music are the
backbone of black churchgoers in the US, with CD sales alone worth half
a billion dollars last year.
..
But Professor Ruff, 71, a Baptist from Alabama, said: "I, like everyone
else, assumed it was unique to black congregations in the United States,
having grown out of slavery, but I began to wonder if it was performed
by white congregations in the same way," he said.
He began researching at the Sterling library at Yale, one of the world's
greatest collections of books and papers, where he found records of how
Highlanders settled in North Carolina in the 1700s.
..
"Scottish emigrants from the Highlands, and the Gaelic speaking Hebrides
especially, arrived in parts of North Carolina in huge numbers and for
many years during the slavery period black Africans, owned by Scottish
emigrants, spoke only the Gaelic language. I found, in a North Carolina
newspaper dated about 1740, an advertisement offering a generous reward
for the capture and return of a runaway African slave who is described
as being easy to identify because he only speaks Gaelic. There is no
doubt the great influx of Scots Presbyterians into the Carolinas
introduced the African slaves to Christianity and their way of worship,"
he said.
..
But it wasn't until Professor Ruff travelled to Scotland that he became
convinced of the similarities after hearing psalm singing in Gaelic. "I
was struck by the similarity, the pathos, the emotion, the cries of
suffering and the deep, deep belief in a brighter, promising hereafter.
..
"It makes sense that as we got our names from the slave masters, we
carried the slave owners blood, their religion and their customs, that
we should have adopted and adapted their music. There are more
descendants of Highland Scots living in America than there are in the
Highlands - and a great many of them are black.
..
"I have been to Africa many times in search of my cultural identity, but
it was in the Highlands that I found the cultural roots of black
America."
..
Jamie Reid-Baxter, a history research fellow at Glasgow University and a
psalm expert, said: "The Scottish slave-owners would definitely have
brought that style of singing with them and the slaves would have heard
it. Both these forms of music are a way of expressing religious
ecstasy."
..
[link to news.independent.co.uk]
Anonymous Coward
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08/06/2006 11:22 PM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
That's fascinating. Thanks.
Sunny1
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08/06/2006 11:35 PM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
In 2000 there was a movie called Songcatcher, based on a true story. It seems that the so called mountain music sung in the Appalachians is also Scottish.

[link to www.imdb.com]

Plot Summary for
Songcatcher (2000)
After being denied a promotion at the university where she teaches, Doctor Lily Penleric, a brilliant musicologist, impulsively visits her sister, who runs a struggling rural school in Appalachia. There she stumbles upon the discovery of her life - a treasure trove of ancient Scots-Irish ballads, songs that have been handed down from generation to generation, preserved intact by the seclusion of the mountains. With the goal of securing her promotion, Lily ventures into the most isolated areas of the mountains to collect the songs and finds herself increasingly enchanted - not only by the rugged purity of the music, but also by the raw courage and endurance of the local people as they carve out meaningful lives against the harshest conditions. It is not, however, until she meets Tom - a handsome, hardened war veteran and talented musician - that she's forced to examine her motivations. Is the "Songcatcher," as Tom insists, no better than the men who exploit the people and extort their land?
VIVA LAS PLAGAS
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08/06/2006 11:37 PM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
Turn about is fair play I guess, Elvis earned his money from negro spirituals!

:elvis:
mercury2 (OP)
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08/07/2006 12:01 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
here's another article, similar to the first one, but with a little more depth and detail:

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Scotland on Sunday
Back issue: Sunday, 31st August 2003 Change DateLatest Issue
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Scotland on Sunday Sun 31 Aug 2003
Black music from Scotland? It could be the gospel truth
BEN McCONVILLE

THE church elder’s reaction was one of utter disbelief. Shaking his head emphatically, he couldn’t take in what the distinguished professor from Yale University was telling him.

"No," insisted Jim McRae, an elder of the small congregation of Clearwater in Florida. "This way of worshipping comes from our slave past. It grew out of the slave experience, when we came from Africa."

But Willie Ruff, an Afro-American professor of music at Yale, was adamant - he had traced the origins of gospel music to Scotland.

The distinctive psalm singing had not been brought to America’s Deep South by African slaves but by Scottish émigrés who worked as their masters and overseers, according to his painstaking research.

Ruff, 71, a renowned jazz musician who played with Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie, is convinced the Florida congregation’s method of praise - called ‘presenting the line’, in which the psalms are called out and the congregation sings a response - came from the Hebrides.

Ruff explained: "They had always assumed that this form of worship had come from Africa, and why not?

"I said to him I had found evidence that it was Scottish people who brought this to the New World, but he just would not believe it. I asked him what his name was. He said McRae, and I just replied: ‘There you go’."

Psalm singing and gospel music are the backbone of the black Church in the United States, with gospel music CD sales alone worth half a billion dollars last year. Ruff’s research has massive cultural implications for Afro-Americans and alters the history of American culture.

He said: "We as black Americans have lived under a misconception. Our cultural roots are more Afro-Gaelic than Afro-American. Just look at the Harlem phone book, it’s more like the book for North Uist.

"We got our names from the slave masters, we got our religion from the slave masters and we got our blood from the slave masters.

"None of the black people in the United States are pure African. My own great great grandparents were slaves in Alabama. My grandmother’s maiden name was Robertson.

"I have been to Africa many times in search of my cultural identity, but it was in the Highlands that I found the cultural roots of black America.

"I hope to inform the perception of Afro-Americans, and what a gift that is, to give people something to go on.

One of the great tragedies of the Afro-American experience is that few can trace their families beyond the bill of sale. After that it’s vague: the name of a ship and never the port of embarkation. The watery highway that those ships took leave no trace."

Ruff added: "There are probably more descendents of the Highlands in the United States than there are in Scotland. There are a huge amount of Afro-Americans with light skin or red hair like Malcolm X. What were his origins?

"Storytelling and music are some of the best ways to document the true integration and movement of people, because the music can’t lie."

Ruff’s journey of discovery started as a child in his home Baptist church in Alabama, when he would listen to elders present the line, which predates, and was an influence on, gospel music.

"I remember this captured my imagination as a small child. The elders, some born into slavery, say the lines in unison. They were dirge-like, impassioned melodies. They were illiterate and poor, they had nothing, but they had that passion in their singing. I, like everyone else, assumed it was unique to black congregations in the United States, having grown out of slavery."

But last year, during a casual visit to the Presbyterian church in Cumberland, Alabama, Ruff stumbled on a predominantly black congregation that sang the same way as the Baptist congregation of his childhood.

"Not only were they singing the same psalms, they were singing in the same deeply profound way, with the same passion which cries out. The tears began to flow."

They believed the method of worship came from Africa, but Ruff started to ask whether white Presbyterian congregations sang in the same way.

The academic began researching at the Sterling Library at Yale, one of the world’s greatest collections of books and papers. He found records detailing how Highlanders had settled in North Carolina in the 1700s. I found evidence of slaves in North Carolina who could speak only Gaelic. I also heard the story of how a group of Hebrideans, on landing at Cape Fear, heard a Gaelic voice in the dialect of their village. When they rounded the corner they saw a black man speaking the language and assumed they too would turn that colour because of the sun. When I made these connections, I thought: ‘That’s it, I’m going to the Hebrides."

A chance meeting with James Craig, a piper with the Royal Scots, put Ruff in touch with congregations in Lewis and Donald Morrison, a leader of singing.

"When I finally met Donald, we sat down and I played him music. It was like a wonderful blind test. First I played him some psalms by white congregations, and then by a black one. He then leapt to his feet and shouted: ‘That’s us!’

"When I heard Donald and his congregation sing in Stornoway I was in no doubt there was a connection."

Yesterday, Jamie Reid-Baxter, a history research fellow at Glasgow University and a psalm expert, said: "This sounds extremely plausible because of the link to the Scottish slave-owners, who would definitely have brought that style of singing with them.

"The slaves would have heard the Scots singing like that, and both these forms of music are a way of expressing religious ecstasy. It’s an intriguing idea."

Warwick Edwards, a reader in the music department of Glasgow University, added: "Psalm singing from the Western Isles is certainly known in America. Whether you can link that up with gospel music is another matter. It’s new to me.

"One should never underestimate the longevity of these deep-down traditions. They cross oceans and people should be encouraged to investigate this further."

Ruff’s research on the integration of Highland culture into black America expands conventional wisdom on Scotland’s legacy in the southern states of America.

Although the Enlightenment, especially Francis Hutcheson’s A System of Moral Philosophy, inspired the abolitionists in both Britain and America, Scotland’s darker role in the slave trade is also well known. Scots were influential in founding the Ku Klux Klan, including the traditional Scottish symbol of the burning cross and the KKK’s oath ceremony, which originated from a Highland custom.

Ruff said: "There will be Scots who are uncomfortable with the relationship and the involvement in the slave trade. But the Scots are like anyone, and there were many who were abolitionists and who set up schools for black children after emancipation."

While Ruff’s claim has been welcomed in Scotland, it has been met with a far less favourable response in his native country.

Bobby Jones, producer of the weekly Gospel Explosion television programme which reaches more than four million viewers in the United States, is not swayed by Ruff’s argument. "Gospel music is black music," he insists.

Ruff’s next mission is to return to Scotland to document and record the congregations of Lewis.

"I’ll be there later this year and hope to record them there and also make recordings of American congregations. In another 100 years I doubt this form of worship will still be around. It’s sad to say that on both sides of the Atlantic this is dying out.

"In the Hebrides there are few young people in the churches and this is also the case in the States. In a sense, I aim to preserve a legacy."

The lasting legacy of Ruff’s research is an anthropological revelation which forces the re-evaluation of the history of two peoples. Now Afro-Americans, frustrated in their search for antecedence in their African line, might turn to their Scottish roots. As Ruff said: "Why did they leave this to a musician? This is the job of an anthropologist."

This article: [link to scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com]
mercury2  (OP)

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08/07/2006 12:10 AM

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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
Another similar article with some additional material: (I logged in so I can edit it if I need to, sorry about all the extraneous material on the above post, I thought I got it all)

Sunday Herald - 28 March 2004
After Elvis … the Scottish roots of soul and gospel
By Torcuil Crichton

LIKE every epiphany the truth came down to Willie Ruff when he was looking the other way. The 72-year-old jazzman turned up at a church in his native Alabama hoping for one of their fine catfish dinners after the sermon when he came across the first clue that black gospel music has its roots in the Gaelic psalms of presbyterian Scotland.

He is now convinced the Gaelic style of precenting psalms – in which a lead singer recites a line for the congregation to repeat – was taken to the US by Scots emigrees and adapted into the call and response techniques used by gospel and soul singers such as Aretha Franklin and Al Green.

“The singing I heard in that church is what my people took from the Gaelic cultural traditions they collided with at the time of slavery,’’ said Ruff. ‘‘It has flavoured everything else that came out of the artistic soul of American blacks. This is the real roots stuff here.”

His discovery is yet more evidence of the cultural debt America owes Scotland, coming just days after claims that Elvis Presley’s family roots can be traced to Peterhead.

Ruff certainly has the musical pedigree to suggest he knows what he’s talking about. He has been a jazz player for 50 years, performing with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Miles Davies. He is also a professor of music at Yale University.

He made his discovery by accident. “Word had spread around our neighbourhood that the best catfish dinner was sold every third Sunday at this black Congregational church in my native Alabama so I went along to pick up some dinner. I was early so I listened to the sermon while the dinner was being cooked,” said Ruff.

“All of a sudden there sprang up this lined-out hymn singing I’d grown up with as a Baptist. I asked: “How is it these black Presbyterians have stolen our baptist hymns?”. They said: “Are you crazy? Everybody from the time of slavery had this style of singing.”

After some research Ruff discovered that the form of psalm singing did not survive among US Presbyterians or in England. “People said if I wanted to hear white Presby terians sing this way I‘d have to go to Scotland and the Presbyterians in the Free Church. It was rumoured they sang this way in their native Gaelic.”

After a chance meeting with a Hebridean piper, Ruff headed to Lewis, where he felt his music had come home. ‘‘This is the root of black musical expression in the US,” he said.

“All during the time that I played with Dizzy Gillespie he insisted we go to Scotland,” said Ruff. “Gillespie, with his profoundly Scottish name, said his great-grandparents talked about people in the Cape Fear region who spoke only Gaelic. Here was a place where black West Africans with their own language arrived in America and the first language they encountered was Gaelic.”

Black Americans, he says, are delighted with his thesis even though it could have implications for the Afro-American view of American culture.

“This was not written into American history. We have connections wider than this little world but sometimes we have no idea about the people whose names and blood we share,” said Ruff.

“What is fabulously exciting is that black people who hear this story are called Cameron, Fraser, MacLean, Mitchell, and Armstrong. The same names as the passenger lists in the Carolina state archives of the Highlanders who came from the Hebrides into our world.’’

Since seeing the light in the southern states of America Ruff has crossed the Atlantic to the Hebrides twice in his quest to make connections between Presbyterian Gaels and black America’s musical inheritance.

He was invited to the recording of a 12-track CD of Gaelic psalm singing by a group of Congregationalists from the island of Lewis.

As the form of worship becomes rarer, interest in Gaelic psalm singing is growing quickly. A representative congregation of Lewis singers has just returned from Paris where their singing was the sensation of the annual Festival de’ Imaginaire at the Maison des Cultures du Monde – the Institute of World Cultures.

Ruff was impressed by what he heard. “I witnessed a two-day marathon recording of psalm singing,” he said. “I was there but I was also back in Alabama. The only difference was the Gaelic language.’’

Ruff will be at the Celtic Film Festival in Dundee on Thursday to talk about the links between the Gaelic psalms and black southern gospel.


Copyright © 2004 smg sunday newspapers
Anonymous Coward
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08/07/2006 12:12 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
In 2000 there was a movie called Songcatcher, based on a true story. It seems that the so called mountain music sung in the Appalachians is also Scottish.

[link to www.imdb.com]

Plot Summary for
Songcatcher (2000)
After being denied a promotion at the university where she teaches, Doctor Lily Penleric, a brilliant musicologist, impulsively visits her sister, who runs a struggling rural school in Appalachia. There she stumbles upon the discovery of her life - a treasure trove of ancient Scots-Irish ballads, songs that have been handed down from generation to generation, preserved intact by the seclusion of the mountains. With the goal of securing her promotion, Lily ventures into the most isolated areas of the mountains to collect the songs and finds herself increasingly enchanted - not only by the rugged purity of the music, but also by the raw courage and endurance of the local people as they carve out meaningful lives against the harshest conditions. It is not, however, until she meets Tom - a handsome, hardened war veteran and talented musician - that she's forced to examine her motivations. Is the "Songcatcher," as Tom insists, no better than the men who exploit the people and extort their land?
 Quoting: Sunny1 127697



That was a pretty good movie. I saw it a few years ago. My ancestors were Irish/Scottish so the story was something special to me.
mercury2  (OP)

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08/07/2006 12:19 AM

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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
Okay, I went and searched on "black bagpiper" and turns out a famous black jazz musician who played the bagpipes, just died, here is his very recent obituary. The odd thing is, I met a guy once, at the Black Forest bar in Minneapolis, who said he played jazz bagpipes, he was an older black fellow, at the time I think I thought he was maybe having fun with me, pulling my leg. I remember the conversation though.

Here's the obituary:

August 02, 2006
Rufus Harley, Jazz Bagpiper

Rufus Harley Last night WRTI-FM's Bob Perkins announced the death of a Philly original. Rufus Harley is credited as the first jazz musician to pick the Scottish bagpipes as his instrument.

You might have heard his distinctive drone on CDs by The Roots (Do You Want More?!!!??!) and Laurie Anderson (Big Science). If you ever saw a picture of him, it would stick. He cut a distinctive swath.

So did his music.

I talked to his son, Messiah Patton, the trumpeter, this morning. He said his father had prostate cancer, but never let on to anyone that he was hurting.

"He was a soldier," the son said. "I have no other way to explain it. He never let his sickness stop him from playing, and from making people happy. He was always concerned about the people."

Messiah said he drove his father to Germantown Hospital Monday evening - a few hours after his last show. Doctors transferred him to Einstein, his son said, when it was apparent he was so sick.

"All he was talking about was, 'Messiah, come and get me. I have a gig to get to in Baltimore.' He tried to sit up and his heart stopped." Funeral arrangements are pending, his son said.

Joel Dorn, the jazz producer, was a Philly DJ at WHAT between 1961 and 1967. By phone today, he recalled one day when Rufus Harley called, hoping to get his attention:

"He said he was a local musician who played jazz on the bagpipes, he made a record, and would I listen to it. I said, 'Sure.' He came by the radio station with a acetate, a little metal record you could 10 or 12 plays out of, and he played me "The Bagpipe Blues." I loved it. ... It swung."

Dorn recorded an album with Harley, which included that track, for Atlantic Records. It sold so well, Dorn says, that label founder Nesuhi Ertegun called the part-time producer to New York and offered him a full-time job. Dorn wound up producing four albums for Harley at Atlantic.

"There are a couple of things about Rufus," Dorn said. "First of all, he was a good musician -- a good tenor player, a good flute player, a good composer. More than anything, he was a sweet guy. He didn't have any bad bones. He was totally committed to his work on the bagpipes and he took a lot of heat for it. For every Sonny Rollins or Sonny Stitt who recorded with him, there were always those snotty jazz critics who looked down on anything left of center."

Shaun Mullen at Kiko's House wrote this last night about Harley, who was 70:

Jazz bagpipes would seem to be an acquired taste, but I fell into Harley's funky style immediately and he became a lifelong favorite whom I caught several times at Ortleib's Brewhaus in Philadelphia.

A 2001 profile in the City Paper described what moved the Germantown resident to pick up the pipes:

In November 1963, the winter of America’s discontent, a young Philadelphia musician named Rufus Harley watched John F. Kennedy’s funeral on television. While a nation mourned, the sound of the bagpipes from the funeral procession sent Harley’s spirits soaring.

He attempted to replicate the sound on his sax; unsatisfied, he scoured the area for a set of bagpipes. He called around to every music store in the region, but couldn’t score them. It wasn’t until he made his first-ever trip to New York City that he found his pipes. In a small pawnshop he spent $120, that month’s entire mortgage money, and altered the course of jazz forever.

He was born in North Carolina in 1936, of African-American and Cherokee heritage. He moved to Philadelphia as a small boy. In high school he played up several wind instruments. You haven't lived until you've heard Harley's cover of the Byrds' "Eight Miles High." An evocative description of his work can be found here. H. Songhai recalls a memorable gig with Harley here.

Once asked how to play the jazz bagpipes, Harley answered:

You play off the air that's in there.

"He was a relentless player and a studier," Bob Perkins said today by phone. "He would go anywhere and play anywhere. He traveled overseas extensively. He's take his own version of the Liberty Bell to see different people in different countries. I guess he should have lived there. Maybe they would have appreciated him more."

I called Messiah back this afternoon - to see about mentioning survivors and what arrangements had been made. No one answered. Instead, I got bagpipes - glorious bagpipes, swelling to life - then a hale voice, announcing, "You have reached Rufus Harley, the International Ambassador and Messenger of Freedom." He plays on.

Posted by Daniel Rubin at 09:39 AM in Music
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mercury2  (OP)

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08/07/2006 12:21 AM

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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
Link to above obituary for Rufus Harley
[link to blogs.philly.com]
Anonymous Coward
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08/07/2006 12:40 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
not surprising at all....

"Jumping the Broom" is an African-American tradition believed to originate during slavery. The ceremony was based on ancient African traditions and was created to signify the new union that would not be legally recognized. "Jumping the Broom" signifies the sweeping away of past troubles and welcomes the new responsibilities of marriage.

Surprisingly, "Jumping the Broom" is also a Celtic tradition. When a priest was not available, a couple would tie their hands together and jump over a broom in a "Hand-Fasting" ceremony. The broom was a symbol of fertility. Some speculations claim that the African-American slaves began "Jumping the Broom" at the suggestion of their masters, who were of Celtic descent.
Anonymous Coward
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08/07/2006 12:45 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
THE NIGS ARE BAD LUCK. THEY CAN THINK OF NOTHING ORIGINAL. STAY AWAY FROM BLACKS. THEY ARE CURSED.

shitstream

THEY ARE THE COLOR OF SH*T AFTER ALL.
Anonymous Coward
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08/07/2006 12:56 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
Another similarity,

snip:
The operation of cutting and raising scars is known as scarification or cicatrisation.

Scarification is common in Africa....
[link to artworld.uea.ac.uk]

--------------------------------------
snip:
The blue face paint, likely "ink" from woad, was worn by several Celtic and Brittanic tribes.

Julius Caesar in his "The Gallic Wars" said, "Omnes vero se Britanni vitro inficiunt, quod caeruleum efficit colorem." which is commonly translated as "all the Brittani, indeed, dye themselves with woad, which produces a dark blue coloring."

There is some debate to this and also debate to the naming of the Pict tribes which in Latin means "painted men". There is no question however, that many Brittanic tribes were tattooed or painted in some way. Julius Caesar also states in describing tribes from around where the Picts were, that they had, "designs carved into their faces by iron." So its possible that woad was not used and the markings on the bodies of the Britanni was actually ritual scarring of some sort.
[link to www.unrv.com]
mercury2  (OP)

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08/07/2006 12:58 AM

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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
Here's another obituary, a sweet one, for Rufus Harley, the pioneering black jazz bagpipe player. The pictures I found of him show him in full Highland regalia, cool to see. He sounds like he was a very interesting and unusual man with ideas about freedom that most here would agree with, perhaps.

Article follows:






Posted on Fri, Aug. 04, 2006


All who knew him dug this bagpiping jazz pioneer

By AL HUNTER JR.
[email protected] 215-854-5855

Rufus Harley was a black man who wore a kilt and played the bagpipes.

Not exactly the first image that comes to mind when thinking about a jazz musician.

Even without the kilt or bagpipes, Rufus Harley, who died this week at age 70, was different. He was sweet, had an abiding love for Philadelphia, America and the Constitution.

But a conversation with Harley? Well, it could be a challenge. His ideas about brotherhood often were expressed through his linguistic magic; he would turn words and phrases inside out, slice them up, rearrange them, then wave his philosophical wand over them.

Suddenly, "we & me & us" became U.S. And to write meant to "right" the story - or something like that.

"He was mystical, spiritual, eccentric," said Joel Dorn, the former disc jockey at WHAT (1340-AM) who signed Harley to his first record deal in the 1960s and now oversees Hyena Records in New York. They stayed in touch regularly over the years.

"I've been doing this stuff for 45 years," Dorn said. "I've seen good cats, bad cats, talented cats, untalented. [Harley] had a charm. In the worst of times he had a smile on his face."

Harley was considered a superb musician. "I got some of my stuff from Rufus, like the drone on the bagpipes" said Khan Jamal, a Philadelphia-based vibraphonist. "I created my own drone on the vibes and played melodies on top of it."

Bob Perkins, radio-personality for WRTI (90.1-FM) recalled he played Harley's bagpipe music while a DJ in Detroit. But Perkins really enjoyed hearing Harley play the soprano and tenor saxophones, and flute.

"As a musician, I loved the cat's playing. As a man, I loved him even more," Perkins said. "I don't think he had a vicious bone in his body."

But there was that communication thing. "Sometimes, I didn't always understand him," Perkins said. "But I stood there and gave him my time because I dug the cat."

When it came to music, Harley connected, especially early in his career. In the '60s he played with some of the best: Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Herbie Mann.

He was the first to play jazz on the bagpipes. He learned history of the instrument and conquered it. He played "Chim Chim Cheree" and "Amazing Grace" and "Melancholy Baby" and "A Love Supreme" on it. He appeared on the old television game shows "What's My Line" and "To Tell the Truth" with it.

A jazz bagpipe player was a novelty. The bagpipes helped Harley earn his bread and butter. But with its limited range and drone, the bagpipes could sound a tad overbearing in heavy doses. And some critics refused to take Harley seriously. "It wasn't an easy path for him, playing bagpipes," Dorn said.

Still, Harley worked. He appeared at special events in Philadelphia, such as NAACP affairs, funerals, parades, and memorial services.

And they loved him overseas, said saxophonist Byard Lancaster, who has played with Harley since 1961. Lancaster in recent years had taken Harley and guitarist Monnette Sudler to France with him.

Harley took seriously his role, self-appointed and otherwise, of ambassador.

"The message that he left was that we must push the liberty, the freedom and the attitude of the Founding Fathers," Lancaster said. That attitude was "brotherly love," he said.

Harley was "the chief ambassador of Philadelphia during Mayor Wilson Goode's reign," Lancaster said. Harley would always carry miniature Liberty Bells and hand them out to just about anyone he came in contact with.

After Goode left office, "Rufus bought close to 900 bells, paid for them out of his own pocket," Lancaster said.

The bells, copies of the Constitution, miniature American flags. All were used by Harley to spread love and peace around the world.

And so did the bagpipes.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Sharon Baptist Church, 3955 Conshohocken Ave.



© 2006 Philadelphia Daily News and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
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Anonymous Coward
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08/07/2006 01:02 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
"As a musician, I loved the cat's playing. As a man, I loved him even more," Perkins said. "I don't think he had a vicious bone in his body."
-----------------------
what a wonderful way to be remembered.
book
cherokeemaiden7
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08/07/2006 02:00 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
B.B. King still number ONE....
malu

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08/10/2006 06:39 PM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
nice post mercury! life is so interesting isn't it

nice to see something other than gloom and doom, i am on full
"By way of deception, thou shalt do war."

Israel's Mossad

"The truth shall set you free."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Motto
Hmmmmmmm
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09/02/2006 11:46 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
Been doing alot of research as a musician and this is an indispensible understanding
and link to the real past.

The Blacks were qualified exponents evidently otherwise we might not have even had the continuity of the tradition.

Thanks.
Anonymous Coward
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09/02/2006 01:14 PM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
don't watch, just listen

[link to www.youtube.com]

5a
whoopty_woop

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11/14/2020 07:44 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
Been doing alot of research as a musician and this is an indispensible understanding
and link to the real past.

The Blacks were qualified exponents evidently otherwise we might not have even had the continuity of the tradition.

Thanks.
 Quoting: Hmmmmmmm 109687






That premise seems correct.

Damn near every Southern Protestant black or white person can sing along to Gaelic psalm-singing without knowing Gaelic because the incantation melody is the same as the way its sung in the Southern Baptist and Southern Pentecostal traditions.


Gaelic psalm singing is the root of gospel singing which is the root of jazz singing which is the root of blues singing which is the root of rock and roll and rhythm and blues singing styles.

Just as Irish jig fiddle and African pluck banjo is the root of Ragtime which is the root of jazz playing which is the roots of swing and blues music which is the roots of pop/rnb which is the root of hillbilly country and rock n roll.

All roads lead back to Scots-Irish.

I am told the Amish and Muscogee native americans sing in the Gaelic style as well.

Last Edited by whoopty_woop on 11/14/2020 08:10 AM
Daniel Higdon

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11/14/2020 08:11 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music
bump

Very interesting.
CK Dexter Haven

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11/14/2020 08:12 AM
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Re: The Scottish Roots of Black Gospel Music

[link to youtu.be (secure)]

dance





GLP