Jazz, Blues, & More

Old Time Camp Meeting

When: Sun., May 29, 8 p.m., Fri., June 3, 8 p.m. and Fri., June 10, 8 p.m. 2011

Get your Gullah on. An annual feature in Piccolo's Traditional Music of the Old South series, the Camp Meeting performances offer the atmosphere of an old church meeting and the authentic spiritual music and language of the Lowcountry's Gullah tradition. Expect a slew of African-American sacred songs that draw heavily from the Gullah-Geechee dialect and vocabulary.

Deep African-American roots. For years, the members of the Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church — the first brick church building owned by African Americans in Charleston — have offered a half-dozen choirs and a variety of traditional material, ranging from formal church music and classical works to unarranged spirituals that date back to the 19th century.

They got rhythm. Rhythm is a major element of both the Gullah language and traditional spiritual songs. Clapping and foot-stomping — often in unusual rhythmic patterns that are directly linked to the music of West Africa — plays a role in the interactive performance. Alphonso Brown, a member and the organist/choirmaster of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church, also directs Gullah tours downtown. He and his troupe understand the history, language, and culture well.

T. Ballard Lesemann

Price: $16/adults, $13/students


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