Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Who Knew? June is Black Music Month! Meet Sister Gertrude Morgan

Sr. Gertrude and Her Artwork
Yes!, according to The Root.  So while I still have time, I will take this opportunity to highlight two women and one book.  The women: Sister Rosetta Tharpe, gospel singer, guitarist (I personally think Elvis, among others, ripped off her style) and Sister Gertrude Morgan, an extremely pious street preacher form New Orleans.  The book: The Fan Who Knew Too Much by Anthony Heilbut.  

Singing isn't exactly how one might describe what she did.  It was more of a chant.   A syncopated, rocking kind of chant. I'm the Bread that raised the dead, I am that bread, I am that bread, I am the bread, I am that bread... Glory! Glory! Holy! I don't listen to much gospel music anymore, too polished, too sanitized, too smug.  But I love this poverty stricken old lady who took in orphans and painted ecstatic pictures. Others loved her too.  Sr. Gertrude made an album in 1970, Let's Make A Record.

Sr. Gertrude sings for everyone
Then Hurricane Katrina came through and folks remembered the lady who tried to save New Orleans soul.  The dj King Britt made a re-mix of Le't Make a Record, taking it on tour to benefit the rebuilding of the city that Sr. Gertrude loved.

Sr. Gertrude's Artwork
It's hurricane season again, and the New Orleans is always on my mind, along with the people who love it and try to save it from perdition, toxic devastation or the mighty winds traveling from the west coast of Africa, gathering their strength, perhaps, from all those lost in the waters in that horrifying trade that brought our people, unwillingly, to these shores.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome comments on any topic covered in Urban Ecology. I may not respond immediately but I do read them all.