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The Color of SoundRace, Religion, and Music in Brazil$
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John Burdick

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814709221

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814709221.001.0001

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A Voice So Full of Pain and Power

A Voice So Full of Pain and Power

Black Gospel and Blackness

(p.131) 4 A Voice So Full of Pain and Power
The Color of Sound

John Burdick

NYU Press

This chapter shows how three main features of the melody- and voice-centric scene of black gospel contribute to the formation of a strong, self-aware, and politically committed negro identity. One feature is that the place which occupies the imaginations of black gospel artists is that of the North American black church. The second feature is that, because black gospel artists ardently desire to be accepted and embraced by their churches, they expend copious amounts of energy on mastering the details of North American black musical history, thereby teaching them that their musical scene has long been at the forefront of the struggle for racial equality. Finally, the extreme physical demands of black gospel singing place front and center the racialized, essentialized black voice. The outcome of these three features is that for black gospel artists, black identity is a strong, sinewy priority.

Keywords:   negro identity, North American black church, black gospel, musical history, racial equality, black voice, black identity

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