Saturday, May 07, 2005

Something You Probably Didn't Know About American Music

Does American jazz, blues, and gospel owe a debt to a long-forgotten tradition of Congregational line singing in Gaellic which came from Scotland?

That's what is being argued in a conference at Yale University, organized by Willie Ruff, music professor, jazz bassist, and former sideman to Dizzy Gillespie. If so, "the call-and-response" has European as well as African roots.

NPR's Morning Edition had a story by Juan Williams on the conference and the connection on Friday.

Willie Ruff's essay "The line connecting Gaelic psalm singing & American Music" is worth reading, as is Susan Mayfield in the Scotsman.

There is a site of Gaellic Psalm Singing.

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