It has been 88 years since American poet – and a leader of the Harlem Renaissance – Langston Hughes wrote, “I dream a world where all will know sweet freedom’s way.” Today, while slavery has been deemed illegal in every country of the world, it still exists. In honour of Black History Month
, and to draw awareness to the ongoing fight to abolish modern slavery,The Nathaniel Dett Chorale
with special guest Jully Black
will present an evening of spirituals — songs of sorrow, faith, love and hope that sustained enslaved men and women of African heritage through hardship — in their second concert of the 2013-2014 season.Voices of the Diaspora … Way Over in Beulah Lan’
takes place on Wednesday, February 19, 2014
at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre
, 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto. Tickets are $35 (Regular), $30 (65+) and $20 (Student), and available by calling 416.408.0208
atThe Weston Family Box Office
273 Bloor Street West or online atwww.nathanieldettchorale.org.
“In selecting repertoire for this concert, I was inspired by a James Weldon Johnson poem which said, ‘The songs that for your listeners’ hungry hearts sufficed still live,”, saysBrainerd Blyden-Taylor, Founder, Artistic Director and conductor of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale. “We tend to think of slavery as a thing of the past, but today it is not just the experience in the collective conscious of African-Americans, but of many people of many races in many countries. While we celebrate the accomplishments of trailblazing leaders such as Barack Obama and the late Nelson Mandela, we must also be mindful that many still live under the shadow of oppression, facing overwhelming impediments to human and civil rights and liberties.”
“We are so pleased that Jully Black will be adding her voice to this concert,” continues Blyden-Taylor. “She has had an immense influence on the Canadian music landscape as an ambassador for the music that lives in the souls of many.”
“I’m honoured to perform with the extraordinary Nathaniel Dett Chorale,” says Jully Black, “This is the music of my childhood, as I grew up singing in church. I have always wanted to undertake a project of faith-based music, and the fact that this program also honours Black History month is just an added thrill for me.”
With Way Over in Beulah Lan’, The Nathaniel Dett Chorale takes the opportunity to recognize not only the history of people of the African diaspora, but also honour the accomplishments and endeavors of people of African heritage in North America, including members of the Harlem Renaissance, a 1920s movement that celebrated cultural expression of African-Americans. Way Over in Beulah Lan’ features several spirituals arranged by notable and prolific African-American composer/arrangers of the 20th Century, including Let Us Cheer the Weary Traveler, I’ll Never Turn Back by The Chorale’s own inspiration R. Nathaniel Dett. Other selections include Go Down Moses by Adolphus Hailstork, Cultural Laureate of the State of Virginia; Plenty Good Room, I Will Trust in the Lord by Undine Smith Moore, known as the “Dean of Black Women Composers”; Way Over in Beulah Lan’ by Stacey Gibbs, who is highly acclaimed for his expertise in bringing new vitality and excitement to spirituals; Great Day, Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel, Walk Together, Children by Moses Hogan, whose arrangements have become staples in the repertoires of high school, college, church, community and professional choirs worldwide; Ain-a That Good News by William Dawson, who developed the Tuskegee Institute Choir into an internationally renowned ensemble; Hold On, I Want Jesus To Walk With Me by Colin Lett; City Called Heaven, Fix Me, Jesus, This Little Light of Mine by Brandon Waddles; and Steal Away by Deirdre Robinson – all young up-and-coming composer/arrangers.
About JULLY BLACK
From opening for Kanye West to being hand-picked to perform for the Queen, Jully Black has perfected her explosive live performance that showcases her unique and powerful voice as well as her ability to engage audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Lauded as “Canada’s Queen of R&B” by fans and peers alike, she has won multiple Juno awards, penned songs for Nas and Destiny’s Child, and performed alongside Elton John, Etta James, Jay-Z, Sean Paul, and Alicia Keys. Her eagerly anticipated forthcoming album, “Made In Canada”, produced by Atlanta’s YoungPete Alexander, has been described as “The New Motown Sound” with songs that span the music genre spectrum, incorporating elements of soul, R&B and reggae.
About NATHANIEL DETT CHORALE
Magical and transformative. Toronto Sun Columnist, Errol Nazareth writes, “The Nathaniel Dett Chorale continues to blow minds with its exploration and presentation of various sounds and styles from the African Diaspora.”
The voices and community of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale carry audiences on a journey through the beauty and intricacies of Afrocentric music from around the world. One of Canada’s “national treasures”, The Chorale takes its name from the celebrated African-Canadian composer R. Nathaniel Dett who is highly regarded for the vocal works he composed based on African-American spirituals, as well as works for solo piano in a 19th century Romantic style. Now in its 15th season, The Chorale specializes in Afrocentric musical traditions ranging in style from classical, spiritual, and gospel to jazz, folk and blues. This 24-member ensemble features a diverse group of outstanding classically trained musicians who have shared the stage with internationally recognized artists such as Juno Award-winning jazz pianist Joe Sealy, opera star Kathleen Battle, and theToronto Symphony Orchestra. The Nathaniel Dett Chorale has also been invited to take part in concerts honouring Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, andMuhammad Ali, and had the distinct honour of performing at various ceremonies in Washington on the occasion of President Obama‘s historic inauguration.
The Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s highly anticipated third commercial recoding, Nguzo Saba, was released in 2012. The title track, Nguzo Saba Suite, was written by the late composer, pianist, and conductor, Glenn Edward Burleigh. Each of its seven movements represent principles celebrated during Kwanzaa, a seven-day festival in late December that celebrates African culture. Principles such as unity, purpose, creativity and faith inspire a year-round way of life. Nguzo Saba is a musical masterpiece that combines African musical elements with classical, jazz and gospel themes, giving listeners a new piece of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale magic to take home.