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Paul T. Kwami

Director

Paul Kwami

Dr. Paul T. Kwami is Musical Director and Curb-Beaman Chair of the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Dr. Kwami was born in Ghana, West Africa one of seven children. His father, a musician, taught him piano, violin, theory and conducting. He studied music at Ghana's National Academy of Music and taught there until immigrating to the US in 1983 as a student at Fisk University. He promptly joined the Jubilee Singers.

After graduating from Fisk in 1985 he continued to study music at Western Michigan University. In 1994 he was solicited to serve as part-time director of the Jubilee Singers. Shortly therafter, Dr Kwami was promoted to full time faculty member in the music department and musical director of the Singers. He is the first African to direct the ensemble, and the first to hold the Curb-Beaman Chair position. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the American Conservatory of Music.

Dr. Kwami feels a deep connection between Negro spirituals and the music of his Motherland. "The music we sing today helps to bridge the gap between Africans and African-Americans," he says. "When my students sing, I am reminded of my life in Ghana and feel close to my past."

The music also touches his spirit. He believes in the sovereignty of God, who was a source of faith, hope and love for slaves and for the original Jubilee Singers. "My greatest desire is to fulfill my call," he says.

Groups directed - Fisk Jubilee Singers

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Discography

Displaying 1-2 of 2 items.


Fisk Jubilee Singers : In Bright Mansions

Review: Fisk University, originally the Fisk Free Colored School, was founded in Nashville, TN right after the Civil War, by northern missionaries. The school treasurer, a Gettysburg veteran named George White, loved music, and was moved by the slave hymns he would sometimes overhear in the refugee camps, but it was difficult to get his young students to sing them, as they were associated with slavery and things best forgotten. George began collecting and arranging these "secret songs," with the help of his secretary, Ella Sheppard, who brought him "O Freedom" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," lullabies her mother had taught her. In time, White and Sheppard collected over a hundred songs. In 1871, Fisk was on the brink of financial collapse, and George White took a group of young singers on the route of the Underground Railroad, hoping to "sing into the hearts" of the people and raise money to save the school. At first enduring racism and indifference, the group finally found some success in Ohio, and then made it to New York, where Henry Ward Beecher, in his Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, was so moved by their singing he commanded his wealthy parishioners to give generously to the Jubilee's cause. Suddenly the churches of metropolitan New York opened their doors to them, and people rushed to hear "the genuine soul music of the slave cabins, before the Lord led his people out of the house of bondage." This began a series of successful tours, to Britain, Europe and all over the United States that finally exhausted the young singers, yet raised enough to erase Fisk's debt and build beautiful new campus buildings. 18 authentic songs, some of our favorites: "Down By The Riverside," "De Gospel Train," "Were You There," "Rockin' Jerusalem," "Nobody Knows the Trouble I See," "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands," "I'm Got A Home In-A Dat Rock," and the title tune. The CD cover and liner notes are actually a small book, with great old photos and the amazing story of the Fisk Singers. And, this is an "Enhanced" CD--if you load it into your computer's CD player, you can see a nicely-done visual presentation of the group's history with many photos, as well as photos and info from the recording session--very cool. Recommended.

Songlist: I'm Gonna Sing Till the Spirit Moves, Poor Man Lazrus, Down By the Riverside, Lord, I'm Out Here On Your Word, De Gospel Train, Were You There, Rockin' Jerusalem, Nobody Knows the Trouble I See, I Been in the Storm, Soon-Ah Will Be Done, He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, Hold On, There Is A Balm in Gilead, Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord, Wade in the Water, Ride On, Jesus, I'm Got A Home In-A Dat Rock, In Bright Mansions

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2808c 00 1 CD $16.98 Gospel Group Harmony CDs


Fisk Jubilee Singers : Sacred Journey : 00  1 CD & 1 DVD : Paul T. Kwami :  : 829569804528 : SUMG8045.2

Fisk Jubilee Singers : Sacred Journey

Review: Nashville, TN's Fisk University's legendary Jubilee Singers, founded by school treasurer and music lover George White, led his group of former slaves on a tour that followed the Civil War's Underground Railroad in an effort to save the school, originally called the Fisk Free Colored School, from financial ruin. The group finally found some success in Ohio, then created a sensation with their spiritual "secret slave songs" in New York City, beginning a tour of Britain and Europe that saved the school and built beautiful new campus buildings. "Sacred Journey" is a 2-disk live CD recorded on the group's 2006-7 trip to Ghana, Africa, where they sang in the courtyard of notorious Elmina Castle, a key link in the slave trade. Robert Swope said of the concert, "This ensemble, through the sheer love of its' performance, brought the glory of His forgiveness to the walls of Elmina Castle and allowed His grace to forgive what, for hundreds of years, was a place torn by human degradation." Twelve powerful songs, recorded live and without overdub or re-record in any way: "I Thank You, Jesus," "Our Father," "Didn't My Lord," "Kekeli Tso Kekili Me," "We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace," "Here is On," "My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord," "An' I Cry," "Mister Banjo," "Sweet Home," "Mawu nye lolo" and "Ride the Chariot." Don't miss this remarkable, profound concert, that brought joy and healing light to the heart of darkness!

Songlist: I Thank You Jesus, Our Father, Didn't My Lord, Kekeli Tso Kekeli Me, We Shall Walk Through The Valley In Peace, Here Is On, My Souls Been Anchored in the Lord, An' I Cry, Mister Banjo, Sweet Home, Mawu Nye Lolo, Ride the Chariot

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5895c 00 1 CD & 1 DVD $17.95 Gospel DVDs

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