Shout Because You're Free: The African American Ring Shout Tradition in Coastal Georgia

Shout Because You're Free: The African American Ring Shout Tradition in Coastal Georgia

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Shout Because You're Free: The African American Ring Shout Tradition in Coastal Georgia by Art Rosenbaum

The ring shout is the oldest known African American performance tradition surviving on the North American continent. Performed for the purpose of religious worship, this fusion of dance, song, and percussion survives today in the Bolton Community of McIntosh County, Georgia. Incorporating oral history, first-person accounts, musical transcriptions, photographs, and drawings, Shout Because You're Free documents a group of performers known as the McIntosh County Shouters.

Derived from African practices, the ring shout combines call-and-response singing, the percussion of a stick or broom on a wood floor, and hand-clapping and foot-tapping. First described in depth by outside observers on the sea islands of South Carolina and Georgia during the Civil War, the ring shout was presumed to have died out in active practice until 1980, when the shouters in the Bolton community first came to the public's attention.

Shout Because You're Free is the result of sixteen years of research and fieldwork by Art and Margo Rosenbaum, authors of Folk Visions and Voices. The book includes descriptions of present-day community shouts, a chapter on the history of the shout's African origins, the recollections of early outside observers, and later folklorists' comments. In addition, the tunes and texts of twenty-five shout songs performed by the McIntosh County Shouters are transcribed by ethnomusicologist Johann S. Buis.Shout Because You're Free is a fascinating look at a unique living tradition that demonstrates ties to Africa, slavery, and Emancipation while interweaving these influences with worship and oneness with the spirit.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820346113
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 10/01/2013
Edition description: First Edition, Reissue
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 823,596
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

ART ROSENBAUM is a painter, draftsman, muralist, folk musician, and a professor of art at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction: "We Never Did Let It Go By" 1

1 "Kneebone in the Wilderness": The History of the Shout in America 17

2 "One Family of People": The Shouters of Bolden 53

3 Lawrence McKiver, Boss Songster 85

4 The Shout Songs 105

Jubilee 107

Blow, Gabriel 110

Move for Your Dyin' Savior 113

I Want to Die Like Weepin' Mary 114

Wade the Water to My Knees 116

Army Cross Over 118

Happy Angel 120

Move, Daniel 121

Drive Ol' Joe 124

I Come to Tell You 126

Kneebone Bend 127

Pharaoh's Host Got Lost 130

Hold the Baby 132

Religion, So Sweet 134

Time Drawin' Nigh (I See the Sign) 137

Read ?em, John 239

In This Field We Mus' Die 142

Eve and Adam 144

Went to the Burial (Sinner Rock So) 146

John on the Island, I Hear Him Groan 150

Walk through the Valley in the Field 152

Ezekiel Saw That Little Stone 153

Lay Down, Body 155

Watch That Star 158

Farewell Last Day Goin' 162

Transcriber's Note 164

Historical Essay. The Ring Shout: Revisiting the Islamic and African Issues of a Christian "Holy Dance" 167

Notes 173

Bibliography 183

Index 189

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