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The Singing & Praying Bands of Maryland

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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.  

  CLICK https://vimeo.com/43111479">HERE FOR A VIDEO OF THE SINGING & PRAYING BANDS, FROM OUR PARTNER SHANE CARPENTER.

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.
 
CALENDAR NOTE:  The Singing & Praying Bands will share their music and prayer on Saturday June 13th at noon, at the Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival at the Creative Alliance.

Aaron creates and produces original radio programs for WYPR. His current project is the neighborhood documentary series, Out of the Blocks, which earned the 2018 national Edward R Murrow Award. His past work includes the long-running weekly cultural program, The Signal, and the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series, Tapestry of the Times. Aaron's stories have aired nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, PRI’s Studio 360, & The World.