Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bloggin' Around The Christmas Tree . . .

Here's a roundup of stories I've found interesting lately:

Advertisers Embrace the Power that Gospel Music Has To Offer (The Washington Post): This article, written by a fellow Dow Jones Newspaper Fund grad, explores the growth in the black Christian market. I've been saying for a while now that if you want to move product, get Af-Am church folk behind it.

A great quote: "In the past, the advertisers most interested in reaching this market were small church-based entrepreneurs -- Christian book authors and small-time recording artists. But as the genre evolved from Mahalia Jackson singing sweet hymns in a choir robe to singers performing holy hip-hop for sold-out concerts in huge sports arenas, corporations noticed. "

Johnny Cash's Journey Through the Other Side of Virtue (New York Times): "Johnny Cash was a deeply flawed Christian man who could look at criminals and see a part of himself in them. . .In a world increasingly reduced to good and evil, to us versus them, Johnny Cash was a man unafraid to admit that he was both. We've somehow lost sight of the truth that there can be no redemption without sin." My friends at GetReligion.org have also posted on Cash.

Gospel Choir Finds Inspiration, Support Through Song (Gainesville Sun): This article does a nice job of capturing the joy and energy of a college gospel choir. It talks, too, about their recent involvement in a hurricane relief benefit.

Freddy Kofi Wins Best Male at GEM awards (ChristianToday.com): A rundown piece on England's recent gospel music awards. Here's one on Canada's MAJA gospel awards.

Harlem's Other Globetrotters are Here (New Zealand Herald): A profile of a community choir touring throughout the world: "There's not much singing on the tour bus of the Harlem Gospel Choir. The time they spend on the coach is for sleeping. They're like a rock band - less the excess - tramping from city to city. They do a show, pack up, move on, wake, and sing again, all the while spreading their message of 'bringing people and nations together'. "

The Measure of Sam Cooke's Triumph (NPR): Terry Gross discusses interviews biographer Peter Guralnick's about his recently released Sam Cooke bio, Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. The segment includes comments from Aretha Franklin and clips of Cooke singing gospel. Once I get my copy (Hello, Santa?) I'll post a review here. Here's the New Orleans Time Picayune's review of the book, and here's CNN's interview with Guralnick. Here's the Buffalo Times on whether or not Cooke merits the same treatment as Elvis, the subject of Guralnick's earlier work. In this interview with the Memphis Flyer, Guralnick references one of my favorite poems, Paul Lawrence Dunbar's "We Wear the Mask," comparing it to Cooke's song "Laughin' and Clownin.'"

Gospel Group Spreads Harmony (Orlando Sentinel): Profile of Brothers In Christ, a gospel group based in Florida. A quote from one of the group members: "Through gospel music, I'm able to express myself. God changed me. If God can change me, he can change anybody."

Gospel Music's Queen (Austin Weekly News): A profile of Albertina Walker, including her thoughts about dressing for church, staying faithful to the traditional gospel sound and . . .the news that there may be a Caravans reunion album next year. HOT.

The Rise and Rise of the Gospel Music Scene (The Monitor, Uganda): The growing pains faced by the growing gospel music industry in Uganda.

Gospel Stalwart Joins NCO for Thanksgiving Concert (Robertson County Times, TN): This is a cool idea: holding a Gospel Thanksgiving celebration with a chamber orchestra and a gospel artist. In this story, the orchestra is the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, and the artist is Walter Hawkins. Hawkins: "Gospel can sound like any other type of music — there's gospel rap, gospel country, everybody does different styles of gospel music," said Hawkins, who has collaborated with such classic pop notables as Van Morrison. "But the thing that makes the music timeless would be the content of the message that Jesus came to save the world. If that's not the focal point, then you're not really doing gospel."

Gata's Gone to God (Fiji Times): A profile of Fijian gospel singer Marika Gata, who shares how he lost, then found, a relationship with God.

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