Here at Alabama Chanin, we continue to be drawn to the distinct and historical Dust-to-Digital catalog. Dust-to-Digital is a unique recording company that serves to combine rare recordings with historical images and descriptive texts, resulting in cultural artifacts. We have previously written about several of their collections that resonate so well with our brand. We believe in preserving traditions, and Dust-to-Digital truly speaks to that with their historically rich albums.
I Belong to this Band: 85 Years of Sacred Harp Recordings is a moving glimpse into the history of Sacred Harp singing and its deep Southern ties. Compiled by Matt Hinton and Lance Ledbetter, this CD features 30 recordings as varied as the earliest recordings of the genre from the 1920s, 30s and 40s. It also includes a pleasant mix of home recordings made by small groups of singers in the 1950s as well as contemporary recordings of all-day singings.
The name “Sacred Harp” refers to two passages in the Bible, which in the Greek translation reads: “singing and plucking the strings of the heart.” This made way to a long line of Southern churches developing a cappella traditions in accordance with the belief that the heart is the only true instrumental accompaniment to use in worship.
Sacred Harp singings in the South gave birth to an array of social rituals: all-day singings, dinner on church grounds, and the honoring of deceased friends and relatives. These rituals were some of the earliest that began to form the meaning of true Southern hospitality and fellowship.
In the South, there is an array of strong religious and spiritual history that forms our background. This album merges that history with the present. Echoes of tradition flow through this album; you are instantly transported by the upbeat and powerful voices as they sing you back in time.
Whether you are interested in Southern history, music, or artifacts you can find something special that will speak to you personally within this album.
From the Dust-to-Digital website:
“To quote Leonard Cohen, ‘God is alive, magic is afoot’ in the soaring magnificence of Southern sacred-harp choirs, a robust, harmonically intricate blend of country joy and unearthly drone. It is living worship, too.” –Rolling Stone