If you needed to cast a "Negro Spiritual" for a period movie does that art form even exist anymore?

Just curious. Where would a movie director go to get people or group capable of singing (as a group) a truly *authentic *sounding “Negro Spiritual” for a period movie set during the early 1800’s. The groups on youtube that do some of these songs as historical pieces all appear to be polished singers with perfect contemporary pronunciation.

I can’t imagine the art form really exists anymore. Would you just get a church group and hope for the best?

I would expect that any professional singer could do it. Or if you don’t want it to sound like a professional singer, then use whatever actors you have cast in your period movie, to sing it using the same accent, pronunciations, etc. that they’re using for their spoken lines. What’s so hard about it?

Have you checked outTHIS group of singerson YouTube?

he needs the singers to use the patois that they used years ago … like jim talking in mark twains book…

So you write out the words you want them to sing and they will sing it. I don’t see any of this is a problem; it’s not like singers can’t sing in other styles or use different words.

There must be scholars, teachers, re-creators and studies of this just like everything else historic.

There’a only like a few thousand black churches that can fill that need… :rolleyes:

Oh, for goodness sake. He’s talking about an authentic version. He wants them to sound like the real thing. He’s wondering if there are recordings and such that people could learn off of or people who keep the old tradition alive.

And the answer is yes to both. Even written music is available.

The way folks pronounced words in negro spirituals is not an “art form”. It’s just the way people spoke back then. The OP seems to be under the impression that it would take some dedicated group to recreate it, which I just found odd.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of singing in a different style and/or using dialect.

A church choir is one option, but there are any number of amateur and professional singers and groups that could be found relatively easily. People in the music community of a given area usually know who can do what, or know someone who knows.

First thing that came to my mind was from the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack: The Fairfield Four.

This is easy, you call up the heritage societies and universities in Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans, etc. There are often spiritual performers at historic sites, you just have to call around a bit. Plus the universities will have local cultural studies programs as well.

Or as a movie director, you call up the governor and say you want to film a movie in the state, but need to fill these roles. The governor’s office will put you in touch with the right folks locally and make sure they return your call.

Honestly, though, it’s going to be hard to tell what’s authentic after 200 years of change, but nobody can fault you for going to the local source.