"Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," first involved wide public importance as soon as it was performed by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 1870s.

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With genius and also grace, African-Amerihave the right to slaves transformed bitter humale suffer into a beautiful art develop referred to as the "spiritual." One of the a lot of haunting African-Amerideserve to spirituals, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” was likely borne out of heart-wrenching tragedy: the forcible separation of parent from kid.

As Harriet Jacobs, an escaped slave, wrote: “On one of those sale days, I witnessed a mommy lead salso children to the auction block. She kbrand-new that some of them would certainly be taken from her; but they took all. The youngsters were marketed to a slave-trader, and also their mommy was bought by a guy in her own tvery own. Before night her youngsters were all much away. She begged the trader to tell her wbelow he intended to take them; this he refused to perform.”

—from The Standard Slave Narratives, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

"Sometimes I Feel Like a Mothermuch less Child," first involved wide public prestige once it was perdeveloped by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 1870s. Audiences heard it and also might not foracquire it. It has since been percreated and videotaped by numerous singers and instrumentalists, from many type of different genres.


The thousands of well-known spirituals, created by unknown poets and musicians, and passed dvery own by dental tradition, evoke a complete selection of emotion and circumstance: protest at bondage (“Go Down, Moses,”) escape to liberty (“Wade in the Water,”) hope for salvation and a life in heaven (Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,”) the wisdom of finding inner peace (“Tright here is a Balm in Gilead.”)

And spirituals prefer "Motherless Child" expush sorrow. The somber melody, the progressively processing, minor chords, convey a noble bleakness and also mourning.

Why is “Mothermuch less Child” so powerful? Perhaps bereason the music and also words acexpertise utter pain. And this truthful acknowledgment have the right to aid us transcend suffering.

Listen to derekwadsworth.com 90.1 on Saturday, January 19, from 6 AM to noon: for Saturday Classical Coffeehouse through Debra Lew Harder. The show will include some beautiful African-Amerideserve to spirituals in honor of the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“Sometimes I feel like a motherless son,

Sometimes I feel like a mothermuch less child,

Sometimes I feel like a mothermuch less child,

A long way from home.

True believer!

A lengthy method from home,

A lengthy means from residence.”


Arts DeskspiritualsMotherless ChildFisk Jubilee Singers

Debra Lew Harder
Debra Lew Harder is organize of Midday Classics and creator, producer and also hold of Saturday Morning Classical Coffeehome on derekwadsworth.com 90.1. With her lifelengthy suffer as a concert pianist and communicator, she brings a deep knowledge of music to the airwaves. And through doctoprices in both medication and music, Debra believes in the power of music to heal.
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