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The Legacy of the Singing and Praying Bands
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Two centuries ago, in the tidewater regions of Maryland, traditional African worship practices merged with the beckoning Christianity of the Methodist Church. Born of that cultural intersection was a new hybrid of spiritual and musical devotion, a movement that came to be known as The Singing and Praying Bands.
We dedicate this episode to the story of the Singing and Praying Bands – how they began, what they mean to their surviving members, and whether or not they’ll still be around a decade or two into the future.
Producer Aaron Henkin is joined by folklorist Cliff Murphy, and they share field recordings of the Singing and Praying Bands and interviews with band captain Reverend Jerry Colbert, longtime band member Mary Allen, and cultural historian Jonathan C. David.
This episode of The Signal is produced in collaboration with Maryland Traditions.