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Monday, August 22, 2005



Edward Boatner arranged gospel songs for real divas (I hate the way the word is applied these days) Jessye Norman and Barbara Hendricks. Hendricks, one of the greatest voices in opera, released a 1983/4 recording on EMI called Negro Spirituals, using Boatner's arrangement of
What A Beautiful City. I have the CD somewhere, unless my sister stole it. She recorded the spirituals after a trip to South Africa where she had been invited to celebrate the inauguration of Nelson Mandela. She said:

"I was reminded with deep emotion of the roots of my beloved Negro Spirituals, the first music that I heard or sang as a child... This music is an integral part of who I am and lives in me at all times, even as I sing Mozart, Debussy, Shostakovich or Puccini. The Negro Spiritual is the music of all past and present victims of human rights abuse and refugees everywhere; the universality of the emotion they express places them among the songs of humanity."

Here's a link to a bio of Hendricks.

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