Sermon by Rev. Olsie Cowan (III)

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Material Information

Sermon by Rev. Olsie Cowan (III)
Physical Description:
Field Log
Field log
Cowan, Reverend Olsie ( Performer )
Smith, John D. ( Performer )
Joshua, Medford ( Performer )
Baptist, Bennnette ( Performer )
Joshua, Percival ( Performer )
Cowan, Florence ( Performer )
McSween, Mary ( Performer )
Matisse, Adris ( Performer )
Paul, Elena ( Performer )
Jacobs, Sister ( Performer )
Smith, Emelda ( Performer )
Publication Date:


Spatial Coverage:
Trinidad and Tobago -- San Juan-Laventille -- Trinidad -- Second Caledonia, Morvant


General Note:
Caribbean, Trinidad, Afro-Trinidadian
General Note:
The home of Mrs. Louise St. Hill
General Note:
Morvant 5/62
General Note:
General Note:
Caribbean 1962
General Note:
This session features both music and ritual performances by a congregation of Spiritual Baptists (or “Shouters”) led by R0everend Olsie Cowan. Spiritual Baptists form a religious sect whose musical system integrates R0oman Catholic rituals and a number of disparate vocal styles, such as Yoruba songs, American spirituals, and Anglican hymns. Musical performances are characterized by dense heterophony and parallel vocal harmonization. Instruments are traditionally not used in these performances, though spontaneous bell ringing occurs throughout. Associated with this tradition are a number of song styles and performance techniques, such as trumpets (rousing choruses with specific movements and musical characteristics), lining out, doption, and spiritual shouts. These are used to adapt (and transform) Sankey hymns or Anglican tunes into a rhythmically and harmonically complex performance practice.
General Note:
Alan Lomax lists the congregants/participants in the field log: "R0ev. Olsie Cowan: Syne Village, Siparia (Penal Settlement) in charge; John D. Smith and Medford Joshua (Priests); Bennette Baptist (Sexton); Percival Joshua (Treasurer): Florence Cowan (Mother Superior); Mary McSween (Mother Healer): Adris Matisse (Mother Assistant): Emelda Smith (Mother Assistant); Elena Paul, Sister Jacob (Nurses)."
General Note:
Alan Lomax: "Note: The recording was made at the home of Mrs. Louise St. Hill at a thanksgiving service called by her in order 'to bring peace' in her family. The group of shouters came from Syne Village and was led by R0ev. Olsie Cowan, minister of the Baptist church there. During the service the Mother Healer (McSween) was watchman: she stood at the doorway and performed numerous rites and was several times 'in the power,' falling onto the floor on occasions. During 'doption' the singing was reduced to mere humming noises resembling grunting. This was accompanied with dancing, jigging, waving of hands, swaying and a variety of body movements."
General Note:
Sermon by Reverend Olsie Cowan. His delivery is characterized by rapid shifts in both intensity (shouts, etc.) and vocal timbre. The congregation can be heard singing and humming in the background, and responding variously to the sermon. The recording skips part of the sermon and cuts off before it ends.
General Note:
General Note:
Shouter Spiritual Baptists
General Note:
Syne Village Spiritual Baptist Church congregation

Record Information

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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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