The Spirituals


Contemporary reimaginings of generations-old spirituals

“We are a new generation/From the ones who have gone before/He’s calling us into freedom/Let my people go.” So sing The Spirituals on the reworded, 120-year-old spiritual Wade In The Water, in the process creating a clear call to action. Formed just last autumn, The Spirituals have risen extraordinarily rapidly to become one of the country’s foremost gospel choirs. A collection of young black Londoners, their reputation is based around their dynamic reinterpretations of spirituals and hymns for the Black History Project. The arrangements –both vocal and instruments –carry a contemporary flair, with a discernible streak of R&B phrasing in there. In reimaging these old songs, The Spirituals are renewing their relevance. “This is a commemoration of not only our breakthrough and achievements,” observes the group’s musical director Junior Garr, “but also an acknowledgement of the continuous pain and sorrow experienced by black people today.”