The Wire

The world's greatest print and online music magazine. Independent since 1982


Alan Lomax archive releases United Sacred Harp convention recording

The Association for Cultural Equity, which takes care of the Alan Lomax archive, is releasing recordings made by Lomax of the 56th United Sacred Harp Convention. Lomax's recordings, made in 1959, are the first to be made of Sacred Harp singing in stereo, following previous failed attempts to record the music monoaurally.

Sacred Harp singing has its roots in the southern states of America, a form of a capella group singing which splits a group into altos, basses, trebles and tenors. The hymns are sourced from a hymn book The Sacred Harp, which was first published in 1844 and is still in use.

The 17 track compilation, United Sacred Harp Convention: The Alan Lomax Recordings, 1959 includes a number of previously unreleased recordings, including one of "New Jerusalem (299)" led by a 12 year old called Butch White. It's released on Global Jukebox records on 12 February. More details incoming here.