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Completed Projects



Songs of Slavery and Emancipation

Throughout the history of slavery, enslaved people organized resistance, escape, and rebellion. Sustaining them in this struggle was their music, some examples of which are sung to this day. While the existence of slave songs, especially spirituals, is well known, their character is often misunderstood. Slave songs were not only lamentations of suffering or distractions from a life of misery. Some songs openly called for liberty and revolution, celebrating such heroes as Gabriel Prosser and Nat Turner, and, especially, celebrating the Haitian Revolution.


James Connolly Songs of Freedom

Following on the discovery of a songbook edited by James Connolly and published in New York in 1907, the songbook was republished and a selection of the songs it contained were arranged and recorded.


Working Class Heroes

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of a long-overlooked songbook, Hard Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People, a selection was made and recorded.  Additionally, research was done into the composers of these songs and a new book with their stories was published.

Songs of Slavery and Emancipation

The discovery of a song containing explicitly revolutionary lyrics, composed and performed by slaves in 1813,  led to further research. Were there more songs fitting this description? If there were, why hadn't we heard of them before? This eventually led to the discovery of numerous such songs. These were then recorded and filmed. A book telling the story of discovery, authenticating the findings, and further elucidated by a leading historian was also completed.

Future Projects


"My Country 'tis of Thee: Music and the State"

The relationship between music and the state has been the topic of controversy for at least 2500 years. The oft-quoted passage from Plato's Republic: "the musical modes are never changed without changes in the most basic of the City's laws" not only underscores the importance of music in general but warns of music's ability to affect how society is governed. The state must therefore employ music to serve its ends while at the same time guarding against the lawlessness and subversion music is capable of introducing. My Country 'tis of Thee will explore the role of music in the history of the United States. Contributions from historians and musicologists will exhume music that has been forgotten or deliberately buried while drawing comparison with what has been promoted as "American Music" by the academy, the music industry and journalism as well as by the US State department.  

"Behold, the Fall of Babylon"

The purpose of this project is to provide a history of the song "Babylon is Fallen" and to make audio recordings of outstanding versions. We plan to use a variety of musicians and ensembles, including gospel choirs and shape-note singing groups, as well as instrumentalists performing in the styles of different eras and regions. The repertoire will consist of variations of the original song along with completely different songs using the same title, "Babylon is Fallen". In addition we will include more recent songs that use the "Babylon" image in a manner clearly derived from the original but are new compositions, lyrically and musically.

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