Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Friday, June 17, 2005  

Brush up your Gaelic

Gospel music in America has been long considered a black American invention and African in origin, but the truth is that it is derived from Gaelic "line out" singing. Black musicologist professor Willie Ruff's research has come as lightning bolt to many.

From audio samples of Gaelic singing from the Western Isles of Scotland, you will hear pure gospel call and response and the prototype of work chants and the Blues. It is an amazing form of music, and I am thinking that it ought to be revived in our churches in some way.

It is like a different kind of Gregorian chant and very rich. There is little wonder why Africans easily adopted it. Its power to express glory, joy, suffering, and yearning is quite literally awesome.

I used to love black gospel music for its spirit, but I have found it to wear on me as becoming too stylized and formulaic. The spontanaeity of this Gaelic singing seems more natural to my ear. If you listen to these Gaelic singing samples, you can have no doubt about the origin of Gospel music, though. It is incredibly clear how close they are.

The only thing I can say from the three samples you can listen to is that it is difficult to tell one tune from another, and so repetition may cause it to pall after awhile, too. The problem may be in the common slow tempo and unfamiliar language.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 12:45 AM |