Viewing: African-American history - View all posts

#39 - The Everlasting Gospel Revelation - Sister Gertrude Morgan 

Welcome to episode 39, "The Everlasting Gospel Revelation," featuring preacher, painter, and musician, Sister Gertrude Morgan (1900-1980). Raised in a poor Baptist family in Alabama, a series of divine revelations lead Sister Morgan to paint, sing, and preach in the…

#38 - The Black Hawk Chant - Mothers Leafy Anderson and Catherine Seals 

Welcome to episode #38, "The Black Hawk Chant," featuring Mother Leafy Anderson (1887-1927) and Mother Catherine Seals (1874-1930). Coming from Chicago to New Orleans, Anderson founded her own church, which fused spiritualism, Catholicism, and jazz into her services, while seeking…

#37 - Singing for the Orishas - Merceditas Valdes 

Welcome to episode 37, "Singing for the Orishas," featuring Afro-Cuban Santería/Lucumí singer, Merceditas Valdes (1922-1996). Raised in a musical household alongisde Yoruba and Cuban traditions, Valdez took to Afro-Cuban Lucumí music and religious practice as a teenager in Havana. Working…

#23 - Music of the Gods (Hip Hop & the Five Percent Nation) 

Welcome to episode 23, Music of the Gods. Rather than focus on a single artist, this episode explores the role of the Five Percent movement in the origins and development of American hip hop. Founded in 1967 by Clarence 13X…

#22 - The South Side Shaman - Kelan Phil Cohran 

Welcome to Episode 22, The South Side Shaman, featuring trumpeter, harpist, composer, teacher, community activist, and astronomer Kelan Philip Cohran (1927-2017). Early on, Cohran joined the cosmic discipline of Sun Ra’s Arkestra for two years. Next he worked with Malcolm…

#21 - A Wandering Monk - Julius Eastman 

Welcome to episode 21, A Wandering Monk, featuring the brilliantly black, queer, composer, dancer, conductor, pianist, and grammy-nominated singer—Julius Eastman (1940-1990). His music often employed his unique “organic method” of composition, while some works, anticipating post-minimalism, fused avant-garde and…

Secret Sound - 20 - The Obeah Man (Tony McKay/Exuma) 

Welcome to Episode 20, The Obeah Man, featuring Bahamian born singer/songwriter, painter, and Obeah practitioner, Tony McKay (1942-1997). Coming to Greenwich Village in the 1960s, McKay took on the identity of Exuma, the Obeah Man. His mystical wardrobe, lyrics, paintings…

Secret Sound - 19 - The Religion of Dreams (Rahsaan Roland Kirk) 

Welcome to Episode 19, “The Religion of Dreams,” featuring Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1935-1937). Blind from the age of 2, Kirk became a maverick figure in the jazz world, notably for his ability to play three reed instruments at the same…

Secret Sound - 17 - The Galaxy of Turiya (Alice Coltrane) 

Episode 17, the Galaxy of Turiya, focuses on jazz icon, harp pioneer and multi-instrumentalist, and spiritual teacher, Alice Coltrane, aka Turiyasangitananda (1937-2007). Born in Detroit and raised singing in the African-American baptist church, she went on to radicalize jazz music…

Secret Sound - 16 - The Emancipation Car (Joshua McCarter Simpson) 

Welcome to Episode 16, which focuses on 19th century abolitionist, song-poet, pastor, and herb doctor, Joshua McCarter Simpson (1821-1877). Simpson was born free but an indentured servant until the age of 21, after which he taught himself to read and…