:: Title :: Alan Lomax narration / Congregation humming (II)
:: Genre :: commentary, spiritual, spoken
:: Performers & Instruments ::
Baptist, Bennnette [vocal]
Cowan, Florence [vocal]
Cowan, Reverend Olsie [vocal]
Jacobs, Sister [vocal]
Joshua, Medford [vocal]
Joshua, Percival [vocal]
Lomax, Alan [vocal]
Matisse, Adris [vocal]
McSween, Mary [vocal]
Paul, Elena [vocal]
Smith, Emelda [vocal]
Smith, John D. [vocal]
:: Group Name :: Shouter Spiritual Baptists, Syne Village Spiritual Baptist Church congregation
:: Setting :: The home of Mrs. Louise St. Hill
:: Location :: Second Caledonia, Morvant (San Juan-Laventille), Trinidad (Trinidad and Tobago)
:: Language :: English
:: Culture :: Caribbean, Trinidad, Afro-Trinidadian
:: Session :: Morvant 5/62
:: Date :: 5/1/1962
:: Reference Information :: T1062.0, Track 2 (00:00:56)
:: Original Format :: Reel to Reel
:: Session Notes ::
1 - Alan Lomax lists the congregants/participants in the field log: "Rev. Olsie Cowan: Syne Village, Siparia (Penal Settlement) in charge; John D. Smith and Medford Joshua (Priests); Bennette Baptist (Sexton); Percival Joshua (Treasurer): Florence Cowan (Mother Superior); Mary McSween (Mother Healer): Adris Matisse (Mother Assistant): Emelda Smith (Mother Assistant); Elena Paul, Sister Jacob (Nurses)." [Source: Field Log]
2 - This session features both music and ritual performances by a congregation of Spiritual Baptists (or ?Shouters?) led by Reverend Olsie Cowan. Spiritual Baptists form a religious sect whose musical system integrates Roman Catholic rituals and a number of disparate vocal styles, such as Yoruba songs, American spirituals, and Anglican hymns. Musical performances are characterized by dense heterophony and parallel vocal harmonization. Instruments are traditionally not used in these performances, though spontaneous bell ringing occurs throughout. Associated with this tradition are a number of song styles and performance techniques, such as trumpets (rousing choruses with specific movements and musical characteristics), lining out, doption, and spiritual shouts. These are used to adapt (and transform) Sankey hymns or Anglican tunes into a rhythmically and harmonically complex performance practice. [Source: Editor]
3 - Alan Lomax: "Note: The recording was made at the home of Mrs. Louise St. Hill at a thanksgiving service called by her in order 'to bring peace' in her family. The group of shouters came from Syne Village and was led by Rev. Olsie Cowan, minister of the Baptist church there. During the service the Mother Healer (McSween) was watchman: she stood at the doorway and performed numerous rites and was several times 'in the power,' falling onto the floor on occasions. During 'doption' the singing was reduced to mere humming noises resembling grunting. This was accompanied with dancing, jigging, waving of hands, swaying and a variety of body movements." [Source: Field log]
:: Recording Notes ::
0 - Congregation humming in unison, octave unison, and parallel harmony. During performance Reverend Olsie Cowan is talking in the background while Alan Lomax describes the proceedings. [Source: Recording]
:: Collection :: Caribbean 1962

 

 

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