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Filmography - Popular Music: Gospel

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of March 2011

Popular Music Filmography - Gospel

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of March 2011. 

Some streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library – including the Music Library located in the Katzen Center. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings please refer to Library Search.




Amazing Grace: The Story of a Song That Makes a Difference. 1990. 1 streaming video (80 min.). The enduring power of a single song across continents and time-and the ironic story of how that song was written by a man who traded in slaves-is examined in this program with Bill Moyers. One of the most popular and enduring hymns in the English language, its lyrics were written in the 18th century by the captain of an English slave ship. In the 19th century, the song successfully crossed the Atlantic, as Southern masters and slaves adopted the hymn as their own. Since then, Amazing Gracehas been adapted by scores of performers for a plethora of styles, from country music to gospel to folk. The program features some of these performers as they express what the hymn means to them. Judy Collins sings in St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University, the very place where she taped her hit recording of the song. She talks about how this song, above all others, carried her through the depths of her alcoholism. Jessye Norman sends Amazing Gracesoaring across the footlights at New York City’s Manhattan Center stage. While in Nashville, Johnny Cash visits a prison and talks about the hymn’s impact on prisoners. The folk singer, Jean Ritchie, shares a reunion of her extended family in Kentucky where everyone rejoices together. Amazing Graceis also a featured song in the repertory of the Boys Choir of Harlem, which is featured performing the hymn in both New York and Japan. Streaming video.


Fannie Bell Chapman: Gospel singer. 1975. Streaming video (43 min). Shows Fannie Bell Chapman, gospel singer in Centreville, Miss., and her family singing traditional gospel music as well as original songs. Relates her activities as family leader and faith healer. Streaming video.,72

Say amen, somebody. 2007. 1 videodisc (100 min.). A documentary that follows gospel singer Willie Mae Ford Smith from her home to jumping church services to emotionally galvanic singing convention. Also features Thomas A. Dorsey, her mentor and the man credited with inventing gospel music ; Delois Campbell Barrett and other gospel singers. MUSIC LIBRARY DVD 78

A Singing stream: A black family chronicle. Streaming video (57 min). Bertha Landis is a black farmer's widow who lives in Granville County, North Carolina. She had eight sons and three daughters, all of whom either sing or play some musical instrument. She recalls that her parents and her husband's parents were all musical and so as she puts it, "a singing stream came down from both the families." Some of Bertha's sons formed an amateur singing group known as The Golden Echoes, and they perform in churches and on the radio throughout the southeast. This film takes us to a Landis family reunion where Bertha and members of her immediate and extended family share with us their life experiences and their joy in singing.  Musical performances in the film span almost a century of black religious song styles, from shape-notes to contemporary gospel. Streaming video.,2

Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise your voice. 2005. 1 videodisc (84 min.). A documentary about the 30 year career of the a cappella vocal group Sweet Honey in the Rock. Includes concert footage, archival stills and footage, behind the scenes footage, and in-depth interviews with group members. MUSIC LIBRARY DVD 26