In October of 1871, the oldest university in Nashville, Tennessee, teetered on the brink of collapse. To survive, Fisk University staked its last $40 on a set of field hymns and 10 descendants of American slavery. The singing group carried melodies their families shared in secret from the cotton fields of Middle Tennessee to the crowned heads of Europe. The landmark tours of the Fisk Jubilee Singers rescued a university, pioneered global touring, and brought American music to the world.
150 years later, the journey of the Fisk Jubilee Singers continues. Immerse yourself in the music and voices of the original emissaries in the one-hour special “Three Castles and the Music City” on 90.3, WPLN News. Narrator Destiny Birdsong is joined by members of the current Fisk Jubilee Singers ensemble, featuring old and new performances, as well as a collaboration with Adia Victoria and original music composed by Bryson Finney.
Thank you to Curb Records for being the Presenting Sponsors of the program.
How To Listen
Learn More About The Fisk Jubilee Singers
- Dr. Steven Lewis from the National Museum of African American Music helped us trace a line from Spirituals to every genre of American music.
- Dr. Matthew Kennedy directed the Fisk Jubilee Singers through the midcentury, including the time of the civil rights movement. His daughter Nina reflects on her family’s time at Fisk.
- The Fisk Jubilee Singers were among the first adopters of recording technology. Dr. Tim Brooks described what these sessions were like for the Jubilee Singers, and just how far these recordings reached.
- Jubilee Day’s festivities can be watched on the Fisk Jubilee Singers YouTube page.
Available To Stations
Share Your Memories And Well Wishes For The Jubilee Singers
Jesse L. Westbrook DDS
Meharry Medical College (1974)
Stay blessed, healthy, safe...🙏🏾