Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rejoice and Shout

REJOICE and SHOUT covers 200 years of musical history of African-American Christianity, featuring the legends of Gospel music. Culled from hundreds of hours of music, tracing the evolution of gospel music through its many styles the spirituals and early hymns, the four-part harmony-based quartets, the integration of blues and swing, the emergence of soul, and the blending of rap and hip-hop elements. It connects the history of African-American culture with gospel as it first impacted popular culture at large and captures so much of what is special about this music and African-American Christianity. Directed by Don McGlynn.

I love music and I love this documentary!! There are parts of the film that drag a little, and a few comments now & then that weren't quite accurate (for example, there was slavery west of the Mississippi River. For that matter, slavery existed in the North, too; It just wasn't as prevalent as it was in the South.) Commentary (I would have enjoyed hearing Smokey Robinson sing and not just talk) tied together the remarkable footage kept my interest...and left me wanting more.

This would work as a multi-part series that could include some of the musicians that were excluded and take it on even further. Some current artists were touched on briefly, and I would have loved to have seen even more of them. While I could go on about my vision of a multi-part documentary covering the very genesis to the most current gospel singers available, I felt that Rejoice and Shout did a terrific overview. Not everything or everyone was strictly "spiritual", but there were barriers for many of these musicians and it was also more truthful. From the opening of the film with a young girl (with the Selvey Family) singing "Amazing Grace" to the final notes in the closing credits, this is a film that will both educate you and lift you up as you listen to some of the best music around. Featured music by some of the following gifted musicians:
Andrae Crouch
The Blind Boys of Alabama
The Clara Ward Singers
Darrel Petties
The Dinwiddie Colored Quartet
The Dixie Hummingbirds
The Edwin Hawkins Singers
The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi
The Golden Gate Quartet
Mahalia Jackson
Reverend James Cleveland
The Selvey Family
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
The Staple Singers
The Swan Silvertones
Thomas Dorsey

I discovered this on Netflix, but I may have to get a copy of this one. I will definitely be watching it again.

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