'Jubilee Singers could not have a more fitting name. Jubilee means rejoice, a word that truly embodies the essence of [their] concert.'
- The Newtonite
'The story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers is ironic. White Christians aimed to give black Americans Christian civilization, but they received a dose of slave spirituality that shaped Anglo-American Christianity for the better.'
– Christianity Today
The Fisk Jubilee Singers are vocal artists and students at Fisk University in Nashville, who sing and travel worldwide. The original Jubilee Singers introduced "slave songs" to the world in 1871 and were instrumental in preserving the unique American musical tradition known today as Negro spirituals. The David Crockett Madrigal Singers will join the Jubilee Singers on a couple pieces, as well as singing spirituals under the direction of Jubilee Singers' director Dr. Paul T. Kwami. Meanwhile the group will be rehearsing with their director Kelly Sams.
The Jubilee Singers broke racial barriers in the U.S. and abroad in the late 19th century and entertained kings and queens in Europe. At the same time, they raised money to support their beloved school through difficult times. In 1999, the Fisk Jubilee Singers and their a cappella (unaccompanied) style of singing were featured in Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory, a PBS award-winning television documentary series, produced by WGBH/Boston. In 2008, the Fisk Jubilee Singers were selected as a recipient of the 2008 National Medal of Arts, the nation's highest honor for artists and patrons of the arts. The Fisk Jubilee Singers continue the tradition of singing the Negro spiritual around the world. This allows the ensemble to share this rich culture globally while preserving this unique music. In 2002 the Library of Congress honored their 1909 recording of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" by adding it in the United States National Recording Registry, and in 2008, they were awarded a National Medal of Arts. For more about the Fisk Jubilee Singers, visit their website.
About The Director
Jubilee Singers' director Dr. Paul T. Kwami is a native of Ghana. He studied music at Ghana's National Academy of Music and taught there until immigrating to the U.S. in 1983 as a student at Fisk University, where he promptly joined the Jubilee Singers. After graduating from Fisk in 1985, he continued to study music at Western Michigan University. In 1994 he was solicited to serve as part-time director of the Jubilee Singers. Shortly thereafter, Kwami was promoted to full-time faculty member in the music department and musical director of the Singers. He is the first African to direct the ensemble, and the first to hold the Curb-Beaman Chair position. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the American Conservatory of Music.
Jubilee Singers Video:
Their Story - Living Legacy
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (1909)
God Bless the Child, Shania Twain with Fisk Jubilee Singers
Tickets ~ $15 general, $10 senior 60+, $5 student w/ID
APST, BGSD, BLUE, EVNS, HIST, HUMT, MALS, MUSC, RTVF, UHON, WMST, ETSU 1000