The Fisk Jubilee Singers

Profile:
The Fisk Jubilee Singers are young men and women, vocal artists and students of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee who sing and travel worldwide. The original Jubilee Singers introduced ‘slave songs’ to the world in 1871 and were instrumental in preserving this unique American musical tradition known today as Negro spirituals.

From the mid-1800s, most black institutions of higher education fielded a group of jubilee singers and/or a vocal quartet to sing spirituals. These groups toured the nation and "represented" the institution outside the local community. One of the earliest and most famous of these groups were the Jubilee Singers from Fisk University. While this Fisk group was active in the l890s, it continued on throughout the years, of course with some different members each year and a complete turnover of members within each four years. At a time when most black music was being performed by white minstrel musicians in blackface and vulgar caricature, a small group of exceptionally well-trained and talented black singers at Fisk University in Nashville achieved world-wide recognition for their stirring and very professional performance of traditional black spirituals.

Originally, the group was composed of two quartets and a pianist, a woman named Wells, under the direction of the University musical director, George L. White. In 1871 this small group set out to raise money for the struggling little university (founded in 1866). Over the next decade they had toured most of the northern states, had performed at the White House, toured England and much of Europe and had played for Queen Victoria.

The group was given its name by director White. In Old Testament history, each fiftieth Pentecost was followed by a "year of jubilee" - a year in which Hebrew law required that all slaves be set free. Organized in 1871, in the dark shadow of slavery, the "Jubilee Singers" seemed a most appropriate name. Most of the students at Fisk had been former slaves.

In terms of musical history, the primary significance of the Jubilee Singers is that they introduced to the world for the first time a magnificent body of folk music -- slave songs, spirituals -- which celebrated life, survival, victory.
Sites:
Aliases:
Members:
Variations:

Albums

FP 72 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - The Gold And Blue Album album art The Fisk Jubilee Singers The Gold And Blue Album Folkways Records FP 72 US 1955 Sell This Version
W-4007-LP The Fisk Jubilee Singers - Fisk Jubilee Singers album art Fisk Jubilee Singers*, John W. Work* Fisk Jubilee Singers*, John W. Work* - Fisk Jubilee Singers(LP, Album, Mono) Word W-4007-LP US 1956 Sell This Version
12T39 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - Spirituals album art The Fisk Jubilee Singers Spirituals(LP, Album) Topic Records 12T39 UK 1958 Sell This Version
HL 7109 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - Spirituals In Hi Fi album art The Fisk Jubilee Singers Spirituals In Hi Fi(LP) Harmony (4) HL 7109 US 1958 Sell This Version
NR2597 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - Eye Of The Storm, Fisk University 43rd Annual Arts Festival album art The Fisk Jubilee Singers, The Black Mass Choir*, The Orchestrated Crowd* The Fisk Jubilee Singers, The Black Mass Choir*, The Orchestrated Crowd* - Eye Of The Storm, Fisk University 43rd Annual Arts Festival(LP, Album) Fisk University NR2597 US 1972 Sell This Version
D2-78762 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - In Bright Mansions album art The Fisk Jubilee Singers In Bright Mansions(HDCD, Album, Enh) Curb Records D2-78762 US 2003 Sell This Version
CD19901 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - Rise, Shine! album art The Fisk Jubilee Singers Rise, Shine!(CD, Album) Not On Label CD19901 US Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

A3657 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - Roll Jordon Roll / I Know The Lord Laid His Hand On Me album art Fisk University Jubilee Singers* Roll Jordon Roll / I Know The Lord Laid His Hand On Me(Shellac, 10") Columbia A3657 US 1922 Sell This Version
A3726 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - I Know I Have Another Building / I Want To Be Ready album art Fisk University Jubilee Singers* I Know I Have Another Building / I Want To Be Ready Columbia A3726 US 1923 Sell This Version
A-3819 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - My Soul Is A Witness For My Lord / Give 'Way Jordan album art Fisk University Jubilee Singers* My Soul Is A Witness For My Lord / Give 'Way Jordan(Shellac, 10") Columbia A-3819 US 1923 Sell This Version
163-D The Fisk Jubilee Singers - You Better Get Somebody On Your Bond / Hope I'll Join The Band album art Fisk University Jubilee Singers* You Better Get Somebody On Your Bond / Hope I'll Join The Band(Shellac, 10") Columbia 163-D US 1924 Sell This Version

Compilations

AR 1045 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - Songs Of Worship - Folk Music Of The World album art LeadbellyBig Bill BroonzyThe Moving Star Hall SingersCat IronThe Fisk Jubilee Singers LeadbellyBig Bill BroonzyThe Moving Star Hall SingersCat IronThe Fisk Jubilee Singers - Songs Of Worship - Folk Music Of The World(LP, Comp) ARS (2) AR 1045 US 1966 Sell This Version
DOCD-5533 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - In Chronological Order Volume 1 (1909-1911) album art Fisk Jubilee Singers* In Chronological Order Volume 1 (1909-1911)(CD, Comp) Document Records (2) DOCD-5533 Austria 1997 Sell This Version
ARCH 5020 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - There Breathes A Hope (The Story Of John Work II And His Fisk Jubilee Quartet, 1909 - 1916) album art The Fisk Jubilee Quartet* There Breathes A Hope (The Story Of John Work II And His Fisk Jubilee Quartet, 1909 - 1916)(2xCD, Comp) Archeophone Records ARCH 5020 US 2010 Sell This Version

Miscellaneous

EV-1014712 The Fisk Jubilee Singers - Commonlife Spring-Summer 1972 album art The Fisk Jubilee Singers, The Sacred Harp Singers, Middle Tennessee State University The Fisk Jubilee Singers, The Sacred Harp Singers, Middle Tennessee State University - Commonlife Spring-Summer 1972(Flexi, 6½") Eva-Tone Soundsheets EV-1014712 US 1972 Sell This Version