December 28, 2016

These are African American songs of praise and jubilation

In February, the new release of ‘On My Journey Now’ by the gifted baritone Lester Lynch will be released. Lester Lynch personally chose and arranged the songs in this release, each with a particular accompaniment—piano, organ, acoustic guitar, violin, trumpet, harmonica, drum, and djembe (a West African goblet drum). From the rhythmic By An’ By and Ev’ry Time I Feel De Spirit, to the richly melodic Amazing Grace and Deep River, the 24 songs constantly astonish and delight for their range and depth and their unfailing power to move. Read his heartfelt personal notes below.

“I have dreamed of recording this album from the inception of my career.
To realize that dream at this particular moment in time, to record these songs of freedom – African American songs of praise and jubilation – while the violence against black men, women and children is escalating, echoes the spiritual tradition and revolutionary act of those who raised their voices in song against brutality and inequality.

Singing is, and has always been, a spiritual act for me. Hymns and spirituals were sung by slaves in America who dreamed of the freedom of the Promised Land. The land of which they sang was not only one of the after-life, but that earthly land of freedom to the north. America began as the dream of a land free from spiritual oppression. What is inequality and injustice if not an oppression and violence against the spirit?

Music speaks to and heals the human spirit. These songs have had a profound effect on American history. I sing them to honor those who struggled and died for freedom, and it is my hope that they will spark the light of freedom anew for every listener.”