Little Hall, Hamilton, NY 13346, USA

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Join us for a Ryan Family Film Series screening of Amazing Grace (dir. Alan Elliott, 2018, 87 minutes).

The concert film Amazing Grace documents Aretha Franklin’s gospel performances at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in January 1972 while recording the album of the same name, which quickly became the best-selling gospel album in the United States. Due to various technical difficulties and legal disputes, the film was not released as planned and did not make its way to audiences until after Aretha Franklin’s death in 2018. In this performance, Franklin reaches far back to her youth singing in her father’s church, New Bethel Baptist in Detroit, Michigan. Of course, Aretha Franklin was one of the most successful singers of a new genre at the time—soul music—a vernacular remaking of religious gospel music with other popular Black music idioms. If one can speak of the power of Black music, gospel music, as heard here in one of the greatest voices in the history of American music, exemplifies the African musical idioms that are the bedrock of African American music, beginning with the early spirituals and work songs of enslaved Africans.

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