90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Story Of Gospel

This show is a rebroadcast from June 7, 2011

A new documentary, “Rejoice and Shout,” explores gospel music from roots to right now. We’re listening.

Gospel music has come a long way since it became popular around 1900. Here, the Howard Gospel Choir performs in Stockholm. (US Embassy Sweden/Flikr)

Gospel music has come a long way since it became popular around 1900. Here, the Howard Gospel Choir performs in Stockholm. (US Embassy Sweden/Flikr)

You may think you know gospel music, and maybe you do. But it’s easy to get a tame, watered down version of the real deal.

A new documentary traces gospel back to plantation days and then into the heart of 20th century African American religion, culture and arts. Into its intersection with freedom, funk and ecstasy.

It’s called “Rejoice and Shout.” (Click here to see where and when the film is playing.)

And yes, it does.

This hour On Point: the roots and story of gospel music.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Joe Lauro, producer of the new documentary film “Rejoice and Shout.” He’s president of Historic Films, a stock footage archive.

Bil Carpenter, gospel music historian and author of “UncloudyDays: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia.”

Sylvia Kinard, minister and gospel artist.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Gregg Smith

    I suppose there are many ways to evoke emotion but IMO music is the best. Gospel music encapsulates the whole spectrum. It’s not the open voicings or the lyrics or the circular time of the backbeat, it’s swimming in the soup all of it makes. Gospel is healing. 

    I had the privilege to play with my dear friend Melissa on her 11th annual Christmas show in Boone, NC last week. Last year (I was not there) she was joined by a choir at a local Mennonite church. They had to have a special meeting to decide if it was acceptable to go into a bar but Melissa prevailed and they did. They were there again this year and started the show. It was Dec. 14, the night of the Newtowne tragedy. I didn’t hear about it until I was on the way to soundcheck. On two occasions in the last 30 years I have been on stage when people died in the room. I’ve played in a lot of tough situations but this was devastating. We began with a moment of silence (you could hear a pin drop) and then the choir sang. The feeling was amazing and the gospel music was driving it.

    I also got to play with them earlier this spring. Melissa was back in town after wintering in Arizona and invited me to play with her at  benefit. The cause was addiction to prescription drugs. The choir was at that gig too. They played and the room was joyous. Then a woman spoke. It was heart-wrenching. She told of her son’s struggle which started with a sprained ankle and ended with an overdose. She spoke for almost an hour. When she was done the room was completely silent and emotionally exhausted. That’s when Melissa and I went on. We had not seen each other in months so we went up cold and did Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love me”. Then Melissa called up the choir. Once again music healed the room. I am not a religious man but something happens that is spiritual and cannot be explained.

    I have not seen any video of the show last week but here’s one of Melissa with the choir last year. This is the same song they opened with after the moment of silence this year.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz9ofG5wA0c

    Here is the show last spring when she called up the choir and their band:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ6cXEZ42lA

    And here is just a jam with melissa, me and the choirs band. It’s nothing special but cool in the fact that it was spontaneous and improvised so it was a different element that what they were accustomed to. When Melissa takes off you better find something because the train is leaving the station.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bSInp_h4Z8

    Merry Christmas everyone!

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

President Obama is pushing hard to close a loophole that allows companies to move their operations overseas and pay lower taxes. We’ll look at what’s at stake.

Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and lessons for now.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 25, 2014
Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

There is nothing more American than a piece of pie. We taste and talk pies.

 
Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

More »
Comment
 
The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

More »
Comment
 
Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

More »
1 Comment