Ring Shout

What is a Ring Shout?

A shout or ring shout is an ecstatic, transcendent religious ritual first practiced by African slaves in the West Indies and the United States.

Background: The Plantation Dance/Ring Shout represents a style of dance and music found in African slave communities on plantations in the southern United States, Caribbean Islands, and other locations. This plantation dance, or juba (giouba) dance, was often danced in a group around two performers.The ring shout, associated with burial rituals in West Africa, persisted among African slaves and was perpetuated after emancipation in African American communities, where the fundamental counterclockwise movement used in religious ceremonies integrated Christian themes, expressed often in the form of spirituals. First written about by outside observers in 1845, and described during and after the Civil War, the shout was concentrated in coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia.


Example of Artists who sing Ring Shout: McIntosh County Shouters

The McIntosh County Shouters are the principal, and one of the last, active practitioners of one of the most venerable African American song and movement traditions — the "shout". The southeastern ring shout is probably the oldest surviving African American performance tradition on the North American continent. It continues to be performed in a black community in McIntosh County.

All in all I believe that although ring shout isn't something that I have learned in school, I believe it was and still is essential to African American music. Shouting is something that can be seen in churches today and some people still gather and ring shout today.

By: Anya Davis