If you haven't seen this film, now's your chance! If you don't live in Georgia... sorry... contact Matt at his website. (There is a chance, though, that if enough people watch on the 13th, the film will be shown NATIONWIDE!) I've also included info about a free public screening this Thursday and Friday in midtown Atlanta.
GPB Documentary Uncovers America’s Oldest Music Form
Georgia-produced “Awake, My Soul” Airs Monday, Nov. 13
ATLANTA, November, 2006 – The Georgia-produced feature documentary, “Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp,” debuts Nov. 13 at 10 p.m. on Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB). The first in-depth look at the history, music, and traditions of Sacred Harp singing, “Awake, My Soul” explores the oldest surviving American music, popularized in recent hit films such as “Cold Mountain” and “Gangs of New York.”
Sacred Harp singing is a form of Shape-note a cappella music rooted in the rural Deep South which is more than 200 years old. The documentary offers a glimpse into the lives of modern shape-note singers, who still sing from The Sacred Harp, a 160-year-old hymnal first published in Georgia in 1844, which preserves some of the oldest songs in America.
“As we researched Sacred Harp singing over the last seven years for this project, we have seen a renewed interest in this musical tradition, even in the academic community which has historically rejected it,” said Matt Hinton, film director and religion professor at Morehouse College. “Several universities, including Yale, Princeton and Emory, have already ordered copies of the documentary. It is remarkable to me that this is the first time someone has made a film about this centuries-old music.”
Created in Atlanta by Sacred Harp singers Matt and Erica Hinton, “Awake, My Soul” captures both the history and the vitality of this intense and haunting music that is utterly unlike any other genre. In keeping with the centuries-long tradition, Sacred Harp singers attend all-day singings, where they begin each song by belting out syllables that represent shaped notes in their song book.
Several renowned Sacred Harp singers and composers took part in the film, including Hugh McGraw of Bremen, Ga., Raymond Hamrick of Macon, Ga., and Richard DeLong, raised in Dunwoody and now living in Carrolton, Ga.
To learn more about Sacred Harp singing and the documentary, visit www.awakemysoul.com. For a schedule of Sacred Harp singings, visit www.atlantasacredharp.org or www.fasola.org.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
In making their first feature-length documentary, Matt and Erica Hinton amassed hundreds of hours of traditional Sacred Harp performances in the Southeast, as well as interviews with the most prominent traditional Sacred Harp singers and composers. A professor of religion at Morehouse College, Matt holds a Master's degree in Theology from Emory University and plays guitar in Luxury, a rock band. Erica operates Sir Chalk and Bunn, a print shop devoted to the art of letterpress printing in which she sets movable type on a century-old letterpress. Georgia natives, Erica and Matt reside in the West-End neighborhood of Atlanta.
ABOUT THE PRODUCERS
Producers Mac Powell and Tai Anderson are members of the Atlanta-based rock group, Third Day (www.ThirdDay.com). The band has sold more than five million albums and earned two Grammy’s, among many other awards. The two musicians became involved with the documentary to help bring this film to the public and are proud to partner with Matt and Erica in their work.
Lab 601 to Host the Premiere of Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp
WHAT: The Atlanta premiere of the Georgia-produced feature documentary, “Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp.” The first in-depth look at the history, music, and traditions of Sacred Harp singing, “Awake, My Soul” explores the oldest surviving American music, popularized in recent hit films such as “Cold Mountain” and “Gangs of New York.” The event is open to the public. For more information, visit www.awakemysoul.com.
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 9 and Friday, November 10
8 p.m. (dessert reception included)
WHERE: Lab 601
621 North Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
OPPORTUNITIES: Director and Atlanta native Matt Hinton as well as local Sacred Harp singers will be available for interviews and photographs.
INQUIRIES: JoAnna Anderson, 404-214-2139
Here are some screen shots!!!!
What it looks like in the middle of the "hollow square." The woman is "leading" the singing. Each participant gets a chance to lead one or two songs during to course of a sing.
Just about the most tear-inducing picture i've ever seen. It reminds me of me and my Memaw. :(
What we all look like when we're hollerin'.