Watch: Freedom Song: when Gospel came to the Empire

Over the Easter weekend there will be chance to have a virtual front seat at this wonderful show which opened recently at the Hackney Empire - but was forced to close because of the coronovirus. With music and lyrics by Harvey Brough Justin Butcher, Vox Holloway and the Hackney Empire Community Choir present this soulful hit show.

The story of Freedom Song - slavery, suffering, faith and redemption - resonates deeply with the meaning of Easter. It also reflects how something beautiful and transformational can emerge from great hardship and suffering and reminds us that the fight against global slavery is far from over. We hope you find it uplifting during this difficult period.

In 1871 a group of singers from Nashville, Tennessee, took to the road to raise money for their university. But this was no ordinary student choir. The Fisk Jubilee Singers were freed slaves. Their mission was not only to build the first black University in the Southern States after emancipation but also to fight for the right of all African Americans to be educated.

Facing down racial abuse and physical hardship, they introduced the world to plantation spirituals, 'songs of sorrow' never before heard in public. They toured the USA and Europe, where, incredibly, they serenaded Queen Victoria and performed in concert halls and cathedrals across Britain. They sang in Hackney and went on to thrill audiences around the world.

They remain beacons of the civil rights movement 150 years on. In Freedom Song, two local community choirs are joined by a professional band and soloists on a musical journey which celebrates the power of music to overcome oppression and bring people from all backgrounds together.

The links for each day, starting with 10th April - Good Friday, are available here:

See a trailer:

Tags: Gospel Music, Slavery, Freedom Song, Hackney Empire

We Need Your Support

ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.

Please support our journalism by donating today.