They Bear Acquaintance published
Identifying the roots of African American spirituals and other religious folk music has intrigued academics, hymnologists and song leaders since this genre came to the public eye in 1867. The conversation on origins has waned and waxed for over eighty years, sometimes polemical, sometimes compromising. They Bear Acquaintance looks at this discussion through the output of various well-regarded researchers from the twentieth century. The effects of cultural distinctions, immigration patterns and class structure have all left their imprint on the anatomy of the music. No one living has ever heard a spiritual performed in an authentic setting, so misconceptions abound. Pre-dating the American Civil War and achieving global attention in the Civil Rights movement, the spirituals soften the edges of difficult situations, and speak gently, yet poignantly, to human struggles. The book also pinpoints new material from a wide range of sources in the twenty-first century that will preserve and affirm this music for many years to come.
Available for purchase here.
Nancy L. Graham is an independent researcher, musician and teacher. She gained both her PhD and Doctor of Sacred Music through the Graduate Theological Foundation and the Foundation House in Oxford UK, as well as a Master of Music from Westminster Choir College. She has served as a choral conductor, organist and lecturer throughout the Eastern United States and the UK. She currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee.