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Shop Oakland: The Sacred Harp

The Oakland Visitors Center and Museum Shop is excited to feature an amazing book filled with the sounds of the old South. The Sacred Harp by Oakland resident Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) White, was published in the spring of 1844 and has had four editions published since. The book retails for $25.
Sacred Harp is a style of 20150729_112917a capella choral music that is popular in the American South. It takes its name from the book published by White and incorporates the Shape Note method of notation, which uses shapes to help singers find pitches on the major and minor scales. This was a popular teaching device in singing schools throughout America.
The Sacred Harp contains the original works as well as some editions that have been added over the years.
20150729_145219Also available in our Museum Shop is the DVD documentary of Sacred Harp music, “Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp.” This two-disc special edition documentary explores the history and traditions of Sacred Harp singing. The singing has been around for over 200 years and is enjoying a resurgence among younger generations, partially due to films such as “Gangs of New York” and “Cold Mountain.”
The documentary features singers who are very passionate about the music, which has spanned generations and has been passed down from grandparents to grandchildren, keeping this hauntingly beautiful style of singing alive. The DVD retails at $25.99.
To accompany the documentary and the book, we also have the original soundtrack to “Awake, My Soul.” The 2-disc set contains the documentary’s original soundtrack as well as “Songs of the Sacred Harp,” with various artists performing songs inspired by the film. The first disc covers traditional Sacred Harp singing and was recorded in rural Georgia and Alabama.
The second disc contains 19 tracks that were specifically commissioned by the co-director of “Awake, My Soul,” Matt Hinton. Performers include Evils Perkins in Dearland, The Good Players, Cordelia’s Dad and All Things Bright and Beautiful. This CD full of music to stir the soul retails at $21.99.
All of these items can be found in our Visitor’s Center and Museum Shop only, which is open every day of the week. Next time you’re visiting Oakland, make a purchase to help keep this wonderful musical tradition alive.

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