Gospel: A music note from Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne
Gospel is as far-ranging as the religious heritage of Louisiana.
Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday are behind us. Now, until Easter Sunday, we are in the midst of the Lenten season—a time of sacrifice and penance. When La Salle landed in Louisiana in the late 1600s he brought with him the Catholic faith which remains prominent in south Louisiana today. Louisiana’s deep Catholic roots make this time of year important to many of our citizens. When Anglo Saxons settled in Louisiana in the mid-1800s, they brought with them Protestant religions which exist heavily in north Louisiana. But one thing north and south Louisiana can agree on is a love of gospel music.
Gospel is as far-ranging as the religious heritage of Louisiana. From African-American gospel traditions found in Protestant and Catholic churches which evolved from spirituals and ring-shouts—rooted in antebellum traditions—to white gospel traditions rooted in British-American style. Gospel includes solo performance, quartets with four-part harmony and large choirs singing religious hymns together or in a call-and-response style.
One of Louisiana’s most celebrated gospel artists is the late Mahalia Jackson. Jackson, a New Orleans native, was often referred to as “The Queen of Gospel.” The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences created a gospel music category for Jackson making her the first gospel artist to win a prestigious GRAMMY® Award.
Today gospel can be heard throughout the state at tent revivals, sanctuaries and concert halls. Prominent gospel groups include the Ever Ready Gospel Singers of Shreveport, the Zion Travelers of Baton Rouge and The Zion Harmonizers of New Orleans—recently featured in the television special Sunshine By The Stars.
We hope to see you in Louisiana soon to experience our incredible gospel music or one of the other musical genres we call our own. Visit www.LouisianaSoundtrack.com to plan your musical vacation.