U.S. Embassy Bridgetown Hosts Roots of Gospel Music lecture

On June 3, at the Sealy African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Collymore Rock, St. Michael, U.S. Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS, Larry Palmer led audience members in the hymn, “A Charge to Keep I Have.” The occasion was the free public lecture on the Roots of Gospel Music, which was hosted by U.S. Embassy Bridgetown and presented by Public Affairs Officer (PAO) Yolonda Kerney, former music historian at the Library of Congress.

The audience included people from all denominations, and a lively and interactive discussion ensued as PAO Kerney highlighted the various sociocultural events and figures that have shaped gospel music. Notable clergy among those in attendance included: Reverend Anthony Parris, Presiding Elder of the AME Church Barbados; Acquanetta Osborne, the Acting Pastor of Sealy AME Church; and Pastor Solomon Odoom, Presiding Elder of the AME Zion Church.

PAO Kerney noted, “We are always happy to share aspects of American culture with the people of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. The presentation showed the continuum of musical expression by Africans who were enslaved in the United States and also showed how the early forms of American gospel influenced modern forms of jazz, blues, and even hip-hop and rap.”

The Roots of Gospel Music lecture comes ahead of the highly-anticipated visit to the Eastern Caribbean by acclaimed American professors and theologians from Howard University’s School of Divinity, Dr. Kortright Davis and Dr. Cain Hope Felder. They will co-present free public lectures in Barbados on June 17 and in Antigua on June 19 on The Theology of Inclusion.

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