Chicago, IL – Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson once said, “When you sing gospel you have a feeling there is a cure for what's wrong.” Indeed, gospel music was the first American folk music, created by people of African ancestry to sustain them through the trials and tribulations of their experience. If the blues are songs of despair, gospel are songs of hope.
“When someone sings from the heart, it restores your faith,” says Kathryn Kemp. “Sometimes it’s a song of praise to God for all he’s done for you; other times it’s a song of encouragement and inspiration to fellow believers."
Kemp is the author of Make a Joyful Noise! A Brief History of Gospel Music Ministry in America. Published in 2011, the book celebrates the resiliency of the African-American people who found God in the midst of brutal oppression and created music in praise and thanksgiving.
“I wanted to speak about the importance of the music to the history of black people,” says Kemp. “As a person of African-American ancestry who has been blessed and favored by God, I wanted to remind people of the power of gospel music.”
Make a Joyful Noise! Illustrates how gospel music has served as a source of inspiration for African-Americans, tracing its origins and development from slavery through the civil rights movement to today. The book gives credit to the two men many consider responsible for allowing gospel music to reach the world, Professor Thomas Dorsey and Rev. James Cleveland.
“I have been in music ministry all my life as a musician, director and choir member,” says Kemp. “I have a love for gospel music, and it’s something I will continue to write about because I feel it’s important to share the place gospel music has in salvation, inspiration and in the lives of people.”
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