What I do in my spare time

One of my pastimes is singing Sacred Harp music, traditional American four-part sacred song. It is rough, loud, driving music, sort of like hardcore punk rock for church, with the same punk anyone-can-do-it ethos. The soundtrack of the video below is a live recording from last Saturday’s Golden Gate All-Day Singing (the visuals are just random photos from the same event).

A little bit of explanation: (1) In Sacred Harp music, you almost always sing through each song first with four solfege syllables: fa, sol, la, and mi. Since each part is singing their own solfege syllables, this can sound like some bizarre Phillip Glass opera. (2) The music is loud — my ear were ringing by the end of the day — so to get the full effect, plug in your earphones and crank up the sound. (3) If you want to know more, visit www.fasola.org. If you don’t want to know more, and instead want to run screaming in the other direction at the unpolished sound of this roots music, feel free to do so at any time.

4 thoughts on “What I do in my spare time

  1. Jean

    Hm. Sounds like the faculty meeting I just left. Except we sang through each agenda item with four familiar word, “Moved! Seconded! Yea, and Nay” Not as harmonic. Not a bit.

  2. Dan

    Jean @ 2 — Oddly enough, the tradition of these all day Sacred Harp singings requires that they be interrupted for a business meeting in which you elect officers (chair, vice-chair, treasurer, secretary, etc.); and the secretary publishes minutes that summarizes all business transacted, and lists all songs that were led.

    So in the middle of the singing, the chair stood up, there were motions which were duly seconded and voted on, and then we went on to the next song. Creepily, it might be more like your faculty meeting than you thought….

  3. kim

    They usually do some of this at the San Francisco Free Folk Festival. I hope you are planning on attending that? I think it’s in June.

  4. Dan

    Kim @ 3 — I’ll be in New Orleans with our youth group on a service trip. Maybe next year….

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