Oh dear, I forgot to post music today, but will do a rare evening post to fill that lacuna.
This is my favorite song of the genre that used to be called “Negro spirituals”; I notice that Wikipedia calls it “an anonymous spiritual of African American origin.” Regardless, it’s beautiful, and this rendition, by Paul Robeson, sometimes makes me tear up.
Paul Robeson (1897-1976) was a hero of mine: a fiercely smart and dedicated black man who fought both racial and political prejudice (he was a Communist) to become an accomplished college athlete and scholar, to earn a law degree, and, eventually, to become a well known actor and singer. But he never got his propers, for he was forced to play stereotypical black characters in substandard movies, and was blacklisted and hounded by the U.S. government during the McCarthy era. He was a proud man, and never backed down or was cowed by his mistreatment. He had a tough life and attempted suicide once.
His voice is, to me, the most beautiful of all male bass instruments, and it’s wonderfully displayed in this song from the movie “The Proud Valley” (1940). He’s backed by a Welsh chorus.
If you want more, his “Old Man River” from the movie “Showboat” is fantastic.