Jason Oby | Photo by Catherine Lu

Show Notes

All of us have heard spirituals before – those sometimes jubilant, sometimes sorrowful songs created by African American slaves. But have you really heard them? As it turns out, these deceptively simple songs sometimes carried hidden messages, signals, and directions. Dr. Jason Oby, artistic director of the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, teaches all about this ingenious and soulful musical invention that was born out of oppression and necessity. He also talks about the spiritual’s connection to classical music, and the music of Roland Carter, who, among many things, arranges spirituals.

To learn more about the Houston Ebony Opera Guild and their performances – including their upcoming Annual African American Music Gala celebrating the work (and birthday!) of Maestro Roland Carter – check out their website.

Episode Track List:

  • “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” feat. Jason Oby and Moses Hogan (piano)
  • “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” feat. Jessye Norman
  • “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” arranged by James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson, feat. Roland Carter
  • “Hold Fast to Dreams,” by Roland Carter


Audio production by Todd “Telekinesis” Hulslander with levitation from Dacia Clay and assistance from Mark DiClaudio.


7 + 2 =