Who were the Jubilee Quartets?
Jubilee quartets were popular African American religious groups. Jubilee quartet singers originated in 1871 when a Caucasian when the students at Fisk University began to sing gospel music, in efforts to raise money for African American students to continue to attend the school. Although not the only Jubilee quartet group, the Fisk Jubilee Quartet singers were known for their efforts to raise money for victims in a Chicago fire, and also raising money for freemen to be educated. Jubilee quartets also allowed the progression of Black people in the music industry, by performing acts that white men in Blackface would usually perform.
The Jubilee singers had a distinct tone and were known for their negro spiritual cloud of sing. They were known for their harmonized singing, their call and response style, and the African American barbershop quartet singing style. They sang slave songs, such as “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”. Some famous Jubilee Singers that are still accredited to this day are Sadie Chandler Cole, Roland Hayes, Frederick J Loudin, Orpheus Myron McAdoo, Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, Patti J. Malone, and Ella Sheppard.
The Jubilee Quartets had an everlasting effect on the African American culture and the arts industry in general. For instance, the Fisk Jubilee singers specifically have been on popular radio shows, and have composed music, such as the “The Year of Jubilee”. In general, Jubilee Quartets have set precedent for what is known to be our traditional gospel music today You can still hear the same harmonic tone, and the same messages portrayed in today’s gospel music.
Overall, I believe that the Jubilee Quartets paved the way for African Americans in the music industry today, especially in the Gospel genre. I believe that the efforts of the Jubilee Quartets also paved the way for African American’s participation in the music industry, despite the inhumane laws that kept them from performing.
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