Smithsonian Folkways Shares Ecstatic Worship Tradition with The McIntosh County Shouters’  ‘Spiritua | Shore Fire Media

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7 December, 2016Print

Smithsonian Folkways Shares Ecstatic Worship Tradition with The McIntosh County Shouters’  ‘Spiritua

Smithsonian Folkways Shares Ecstatic Worship Tradition with The McIntosh County Shouters' 'Spirituals & Shout Songs from the Georgia Coast' (Jan. 20)

Hear the union of singing, percussion and movement on lead track "Jubilee":


Acclaimed stewards of the ring shout, the McIntosh County Shouters keep alive the faith, form, and fervor of "the oldest surviving African-American performance tradition of any kind" (New York Times). Smithsonian Folkways will release its second recording of the McIntosh County Shouters, 'Spirituals & Shout Songs from the Georgia Coast,' on Jan. 20. This 17-track, 61-minute album is accompanied by a 40-page book chronicling the history of the group and the heritage of this transcendent ritual. The collection will be released as part of the African American Legacy series, co-produced by Smithsonian Folkways and the newly opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

More info on Smithsonian Folkways' African American Legacy series here:

The McIntosh County Shouters originally formed in the 1980s in Coastal Georgia and consisted of family members -- related by blood and marriage -- all belonging to the third generation out of slavery. They released 'Slave Shout Songs from the Coast of Georgia' through Folkways in 1983, and now, almost 35 years later, the next generation carries the ring shout tradition into a new day.


The group is led by "energized charismatic songsters" (Atlanta Journal Constitution) Freddie Palmer, Brenton Jordan, Venus McIver and Carletha Sullivan, with other members including Carla Johnson, Carolyn Palmer, Alberta Allin, and L.C. Scott (basers, clappers, and shouters) plus Brenton Jordan (stick-man and tambourine). In traditional ring shout, the "songsters" will "set" or begin a song, slowly accelerating to an appropriate tempo. Their lines are answered in a call-and-response pattern by the "basers," who deliberately step and shuffle, adding to the rhythm with hand-clapping and foot-patting. Seated next to the songster would be the "stick-man," who beats a simple rhythm with a broom or wooden stick. This marriage of singing, percussion and movement endures in the current generation of Shouters. 

The Shouters were one of the first groups to perform this religious ritual outside of the Gullah/Geechee region (in Georgia). Over the years the Shouters have shared this ecstatic form of worship with audiences around the world, with performances at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C., the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall.

'Spirituals & Shout Songs from the Georgia Coast' Tracklist:

1. Jubilee 

2. Believer

3. I Come to Tell You 

4. Walk with Me 

5. Drive Ol' Joe 

6. Went to the Burial / Sinner Weep So 

7. Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit 

8. Move

9. I Won't Turn Back 

10. Oh, My Loving Mother 

11. Army Cross Over

12. Walk Through the Valley in the Field

13. Daniel Saw That Little Stone 

14. In the Field We Must Die 

15. Oh, Lord, I Want You to Help Me

16. I Wade the Water to My Knees 

17. This May Be Our Last Time


About Smithsonian Folkways:

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and increased understanding among people through the documentation, preservation, production, and dissemination of sound. Part of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, it is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum of the United States. 

NOTE: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings retail distribution in the US is through ADA (Alternative Distribution Alliance) at 800.239.3232. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings releases are available through record and book outlets. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, as well as Folkways Records, A.R.C.E., Arhoolie, Banjo Builders, Blue Ridge Institute, Cook, Collector, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk, I.L.A.M., The Mickey Hart Collection, Monitor, M.O.R.E., Paredon, and UNESCO, are available via mail order at 888.FOLKWAYS or 800.410.9815. Visit the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings website at or write to 600 Maryland Ave. SW, Suite 2001, Washington, DC, 20024.

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For more information on Smithsonian Folkways, contact Mark Satlof ( or Andrea Evenson ( at Shore Fire Media, 718 522-7171