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Music of the Shakers

Various Artists
Music of the Shakers

Originating in England, the religious sect known as the Shakers arrived in the U.S. in 1774, led by “Mother Ann” Lee. Called Shakers by outsiders, due to their agitated movements during worship, they created a musical legacy of thousands of songs, some original, some adapted from outside sources.

One of their songs, “Simple Gifts (The Gift to Be Simple),” has become widely known through composer Aaron Copeland’s having incorporated it into his ballet Appalachian Spring.

On this recording, the combined Glee Clubs of Smith College and Amherst College present a concert of Shaker songs, all sung in traditional unison style. A Fanfare, played on trumpet, opens the program.

The liner notes present Shaker history and culture and excerpts from the songs, both words and music.