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 album. 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 YAR52066-677V
Barcode 0195079520662
Release date 27/11/2020
Label Yarlung Records
Format LP (Vinyl)
Number of discs 1
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