mercoledì 31 ottobre 2007

Swing low sweet chariot

"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is a United States African-American Negro spiritual song. While sung primarily in black churches and throughout the nation in traditionally African-American venues, it also has a large association with English rugby union and is also regularly sung at England national rugby union team matches. It is sometimes called "Coming for to carry me home”.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot was composed by Wallis Willis , a one-time slave of the Choctaw Native Americans in the old Indian Territory, around 1862. He was inspired by the Red River which reminded him of the Jordan River and of the Prophet Elijah being taken to heaven by a chariot. Others state that the Mississippi River or the Ohio River could be substituted for the Jordan River. Some latter day sources imply that this song and Steal Away to Jesus—also composed by Willis—had some hidden lyrics referring to the Underground Railroad.

It is important to note that since the song "Steal Away" was a code song for the Underground Railroad, it would have originally been composed before 1862.

Unfortunately, the original composer's name is permanently lost to history. Alexander Reid, a minister at a Choctaw boarding school, heard Willis singing the songs and transcribed the words and melodies. He sent the music to the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The Jubilee Singers then popularized the songs during a tour of the United States and Europe.

The song enjoyed a resurgence during the 1960s Civil Rights struggle and the folk revival; it was performed by a number of artists, perhaps most famously during this period, by Joan Baez during the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival.

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