Edited by Azizi Powell
This pancocojams posts focuses on the kente cloth and other African fashion accessories & garments that are worn by the All Star Chorus in Quincy Jones' 1992 rendition of Handel's Hallelujah! Chorus.
Information about kente cloth and information about the 1992 record "Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration" are also included in this post along with a video of "Hallelujah!" from that record.
The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to Handel for his composition of "The Messiah". Thanks to all those who are featured in this video and all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publisher of this video on YouTube.
SHOWCASE VIDEO: Hallelujah!
soundsgoodtomeYT, Published on Oct 26, 2017
From the 1991 album 'Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration'
(Winner of the 1992 Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album)
Produced by Mervyn Warren.
Executive Produced by Quincy Jones.
Arranged by Mervyn Warren, Michael O. Jackson, and Mark Kibble.
Brass arranged by Jerry Hey
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2018/12/three-youtube-examples-of-handels.html for the lyrics to this song.
INFORMATION ABOUT KENTE CLOTH
Kente, known as nwentom in Akan, is a type of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips and is native to the Akan ethnic group of West Ghana. Kente is made in Akan lands such as the Ashanti Kingdom, including the towns of Bonwire, Adanwomase, Sakora Wonoo, and Ntonso in the Kwabre areas of the Ashanti Region. This fabric is worn by almost every Ghanaian tribe. Kente comes from the word kenten, which means basket in the Asante dialect of Akan. Akans refer to kente as nwentoma, meaning woven cloth. It is an Akan royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance and was the cloth of kings. Over time, the use of kente became more widespread. However, its importance has remained and it is held in high esteem by Akans.
The Akan people choose kente cloths as much for their names as their colors and patterns. Although the cloths are identified primarily by the patterns found in the lengthwise (warp) threads, there is often little correlation between appearance and name. Names are derived from several sources, including proverbs, historical events, important chiefs, queen mothers, and plants. The cloth symbolizes high in value.
Kente academic stoles are often used by African Americans as a symbol of ethnic pride. This practice is also very popular with historically black Greek letter fraternities and sororities. African American students hold special ceremonies called "Donning of the Kente" where the stoles are presented to the graduates.
PANCOCOJAMS EDITOR'S COMMENT [Revised December 24, 2018]
In the United States, Ghana's and the Ivory Coast's traditional kente cloth is the most widely known of all traditional African fabrics. Since at least the 1970s, for many African Americans, kente cloth has become a easily recognizable symbol of our African heritage. In addition to using kente cloth as stoles for Black graduation, Black minister's robes, and/or Gospel choirs, kente cloth patterns are also widely found in the United States , as website designs and greeting card designs, Kente cloth designs are also used as greeting cards, and as designs for a large number of household items such as table cloths and napkins, baseball caps, tennis shoes, umbrellas etc. According to various online articles that I've read, some Africans are highly critical of the adaptation of kente cloth for these secular purposes.
Examples of how kente cloth is worn as stoles, or as designs on African or African inspired clothing (including a baseball cap) can be found in the 1992 Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celeberation video that is embedded in this post.
Also, click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/02/african-day-worship-services-in-african.html for Part III of a pancocojams posts about the "Africa Day" custom in some African American churches in which the choir and congregation are encouraged to dress in African (usually meaning "adapted African") attire. The links to the other posts in that series are included in each post.
INFORMATION ABOUT HANDEL'S MESSIAH: A SOULFUL CELEBRATION
Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration is a gospel album by various artists, released in 1992 on Warner Alliance. Executive produced by Norman Miller, Gail Hamilton and Mervyn Warren, it is a reinterpretation of the 1741 oratorio Messiah by George Frideric Handel, and has been widely praised for its use of multiple genres of African-American music, including spirituals, blues, ragtime, big band, jazz fusion, R&B and hip hop.
The album received the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, as well as the 1992 Dove Award for Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year. In 1993, the various recording artists participating in the project were collectively nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Gospel Artist.
[track 16 of this album]
Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Patti Austin, Bernie K., Daryl Coley (soloist), Commissioned, Andrae Crouch, Sandra Crouch, Clifton Davis, Charles S. Dutton, Kim Fields, Larnelle Harris, Edwin Hawkins, Tramaine Hawkins, Linda Hopkins, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones (conductor), Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Lizz Lee, Dawnn Lewis, Babbie Mason, Johnny Mathis, Marilyn McCoo, Mike E., Stephanie Mills, Jeffrey Osborne, David Pack, Phylicia Rashād, Joe Sample, Richard Smallwood, Sounds of Blackness, Take 6, Darryl Tookes, Mervyn Warren, Thomas Whitfield, Vanessa Williams, Chris Willis"...
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