I recently popped to the local cinema to watch Lawless – the screen adaptation of The Wettest County in the World novel by Matt Bondurant; based on the true story of his grandfather and his brothers lives during the prohibition years in the US.
Popcorn to the right and fizzy drink to left: the full cinematic viewing mode with; Lawless proceeded to give something I wasn’t expecting. Introducing the Sacred Harp; also known as Shape Note music.
Sacred Harp music originates from the US and more specifically the Deep South during the 18th century. A form of a cappella Christian church music, this ain’t no ordinary Songs of Praise la da di business. This is a full on, grab you, shake you around sonic experience.
The screenplay was written by Nick Cave. Strangely enough the featured track ‘Do Not I Love Thee’ isn’t included on the soundtrack. If you haven’t heard Shape Note music already it will peak your curiosity to find out more with regards to its origins.
Take a look at the trailer of the documentary, ‘Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp’. References Shape Note being the first ‘American’ music need to be taken with a pinch of salt. What can be verified is the choir’s passion for the music and the awesome harmonies they are able to create.