Monday, May 24, 2010

Public Domain: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot


Beyoncé Knowles: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot


Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is a 19th-century spiritual written before 1862 by a Choctaw freedman named Wallis Willis. It was popularized by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, an a capella group from historic black Fisk University, which is still going strong today. This song recounts the disappearance of the Old Testament prophet Elijah, who was reported to have been carried up to heaven in a fiery chariot after crossing the Jordan River. It's such a vivid scene that if you happen to have an illustrated Bible lying around, you'll probably find some version of it. It makes for fascinating and scary viewing if you're a little kid and can't read yet.

In 2003, Beyoncé starred in 'The Fighting Temptations', which showcased gospel music and numerous musicians as well. The soundtrack notes are very coy about who's providing the choir backing Beyoncé here. Still, if you like your gospel with a heavy dose of melisma, she's got just the song for you!

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