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Freedom Song: When Gospel Came to the Empire
Freedom Song – When Gospel Came to the Empire by Harvey Brough (music) and Justin Butcher (words).
In 1871 a group of singers from Nashville, Tennessee, took to the road to raise money for their university. But this was no ordinary student choir. The Fisk Jubilee Singers were freed slaves. Their mission was not only to build the first black University after emancipation but to fight for the right of all African Americans to be educated.
Facing down racial abuse and physical hardship, they introduced the world to plantation spirituals, “songs of sorrow” never before heard in public. They toured the USA and Europe, where, incredibly, they serenaded Queen Victoria and performed in concert halls and cathedrals across Britain. They sang in Hackney and went on to thrill audiences around the world.
They remain beacons of the civil rights movement 150 years on. In Freedom Song, two local community choirs are joined by a professional band and soloists on a musical journey which celebrates the power of music to overcome oppression and bring people from all backgrounds together.