‘Joyful noise’: Spotlighting the global influence of Black sacred music

March 1, 2023

Asked to describe the deep influence of Black sacred music on American culture, Braxton Shelley, a minister, musician, and musicologist at Yale, invoked the words of the 19th-century Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. In the early 1890s, Dvořák, then the director of the National Conservatory of American Music, was introduced to Black American spirituals by the American composer Harry Burleigh.

While the Czech composer’s subsequent approach to Black and Indigenous American music was appropriative and simplifying, Shelley explained, Dvořák’s initial observations are evidence of the enduring significance of those expressive traditions.

Read more about the global influence of Black sacred music and the Music and the Black Church Program at the ISM in this Yale News story by Mike Cummings