The ambassadors of black gospel travel through the cultural world since the 1950s. The first recordings already date from the 1930s, supported and encouraged by the production circles of certain white artists, friends with their black fellows. Gospel music today has a special place because of the largest part of conservatories, especially Americans, developing now conceptual and theoretical bases for writing, composing, arranging and producing for that kind of music.
To name a few…
In the early days of contemporary black gospel, there are precursor artists of modern gospel:
Closer to us :
And some others:
Jessy Norman, Dereck Lee, Carole Fredericks, Barbara Hendricks…
In actual gospel, we can talk about within the most influents:
Gospel music is very rich and varied. Around the same state of mind (openness, tolerance, sharing) we find that there are several styles. In the United States, we can observe that the musical colors change depending on the geographic area. There are different styles in North America, East Coast or West and South. The major influences meet in large urban areas where we can find an impressive number of “Mass Choir”.
Miami Mass Choir, Harlem Gospel Singers, Chicago Mass Choir, Arc Gospel Choir of New York, Radio Angels. The concept of large gospel choir was quickly exported to Canada with the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, in England we find the London Community Gospel Choir, in South Africa it is the Soweto Gospel Choir, in France we talk a lot of Gospel for 100 voices , or of New Gospel Family, Grenoble Gospel Singers to name a few.
After all these developments, it is clear that the cry of “slaves” has been relayed. We hope that slavery had disappeared from the earth’s surface at least officially. This does not take back to black gospel a real and modern message facing the many human challenges equivalent to the suffering of slaves: oppression, fear, humiliation, frustration, pain, the exploitation of man by humans, and the disease which continue to rage today. These songs are an outlet that allows scanning through a unique vocal expression: desire to live a better world. If the joy is not here we must cause it. “Do not worry, be happy” Be happy my brother, my sister tomorrow is another day, remains hopeful.
Influence of the media
The “Sister Act” effect
Gospel music is open to several cultural practices (the musical, ex: Gospel at the colonus).
In theater like in film (Sister Act I and II), we have lost count of scenes using or mixing intrigues related to gospel (autobiographical documentaries). These phenomena and the advent of the Internet have contributed to a better understanding of this musical style.
The global audience, religious or not, appreciate and discover every day the originality, musicality and the spirit of this music and the message it carries.
The practice of contemporary gospel music: a new way of entertaining
The influence of gospel music has come to get him out of purely religious practice, because the record companies give to these artists of a new kind extreme measures of showbiz. Now the radio, the media and record stores spread, for some in exclusivity, gospel music. Some African-American productions have taken an important part of the music industry. In Europe as in Africa or in the rest of the world this phenomenon is less verified. If the audience is conquered every time he discovers this style on TV or in concert, the phenomenon of gospel “show biz” to the height of U.S. is an exception. In France for example, this music is hard to sell, not only because of the language barrier but also because of cultural quotas imposed (example: exclusivity of distribution of works called national).
The place of Gospel Institute
The establishment of our school is revealed as a springboard for this unusual music in the French cultural sector. Of course, we can’t expect from the economic players (bankers or musical instances) any support to gospel because this kind of practice, in terms of education, profitability or ethics is not an option.
It was therefore necessary to cope with the means we had to get there. At the beginning of this adventure Franklin AKOA MVA and its first students have volunteered their time, their availability and personal resources to start the Gospel Association Institute:
- Yvette MORLOT: first president – has supported the installation of the school through the provision of a local which could welcome the first members.
- Elise MANGEART: was in charge of communication for six months until 1998.
- Bruno GRATIA: A passionate retired who gave for many years his time to the reception and communication.
Evolution of the Gospel Institute
With a decade of successful activity, where have succeeded enthusiasts, professionals and lovers of gospel, the Gospel Institute has had to adapt its activities to current needs.
So in 2007, led by many requests, we created a section for contemporary music called “IMPACT”. Indeed, every day a new audience asks for our association. So we have rehabilitated some existing sections to train our members for spontaneous singing. Alone or in groups, it is now possible to approach the music with methods from gospel. Members find in our school a real inspiration through an original place like the best American institutions in the field. To meet this new demand, the GI has also invested in advanced equipment, a sound and light production department, a recording studio as well as equipment of specialized rooms.
Our success story has of course been envied by other cultural actors who are now engaged in the same market. It is not enough to declare that a school is “gospel” to expect from it the good answers. To earn this label a music school must meet certain requirements:
- find authentic choir directors (impregnated with this culture)
- perfect mastery of tools and language of this music
- an equipped structure able to welcome members in ideal conditions
- administrative staff trained, motivated and able to manage these activities
- create within the school a spirit of conviviality and sharing
- a strong educational axis around the topics to be covered
Despite the success of the GI concept, the road ahead is long compared to the reputation of the major music schools. It’s not a problem of level of teaching but also a concern related to prejudice. It would be necessary for students in music classes to express their choice. At the classic Conservatory, we do not necessarily find all the answers and codes required to enter the music world today. For this, we welcome all those who think that music is a state of mind, something that is shared for the good of all. Thanks to this commitment the GI remains faithful to the foundations of gospel and continues to maintain music history for future generations.