Lifeline: Music of the Underground Railroad

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Michelle Mayne-Graves and her Lifeline Quartet perform spirituals from the Civil War era and before,
celebrating code songs written as reminders and guides for the Underground Railroad. These spirituals
include hidden messages about maps, navigational strategies and timing for slaves to escape toward
freedom in the Northern States and Canada.
In addition to directing choirs, performing spirituals and helping to coordinate and lead veterans singing
groups, Michelle supervises a team and works as the RN Case Manager for Housing Homeless Veterans
at the Veteran’s Administration in Los Angeles. If I can Help Somebody opens our CD. This song not
only honors Harriet Tubman, but reveals Michelle’s generous heart as well. Michelle lives what she sings.
Harriet Tubman is one of the better known heroes who escaped slavery herself and then worked as a
“conductor” on the Underground Railroad, helping subsequent groups of people flee to the North.
Wade in the Water for example, serves as a reminder for escaping slaves of where to walk in the rivers to
make it harder for dogs to scent people escaping at night. I’m On My Way to Canaan’s Land talks about
the route to Canada.
Slavery may be the worst chapter in the history of the United States. The scars from slavery may fade
over the years but will never go away. It is marvelous and perhaps miraculous to witness the magnificent
music created by an oppressed people during and despite this incredible suffering.
Catalogue number YAR78677
Barcode 0193428786776
Release date 27/11/2020
Category Blues & Gospel
Label Yarlung Records
Format CD
Number of discs 1
Artists Fitzgerald, Quinton
Penniman II, Walter
Fitzgerald, Michael
Composers Spirituals, Traditional
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