Twin Cities band ‘Sounds of Blackness’ uplifts community through music

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This year, the 25-member group – 15 singers and 10 musicians – celebrates 51 years of music.

ST PAUL, Minn. – They say music speaks to the heart, and for Gary Hines with the three-time Grammy Award-winning band – Sounds of Blackness – it’s a fusion of sounds, inspired by the past.

“The vision I had for this group was to follow the path of Duke Ellington,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know that Duke recorded and played not only jazz, but also spirituals, blues, African music – all sounds of Blackness and that’s the meaning and origin of the name.”

This year, the 25-member group – 15 singers and 10 musicians – celebrates 51 years of music.

‘Sounds of Blackness’ began at my alma mater, Macalester College in St. Paul, and originally in 1969 Macalaster embarked on a very ambitious program to recruit students of color,” he said. declared.

In January 1971 – in sophomore year – Hines took over the Macalaster College Black Voices, a 50-voice choir started by students.

“Music was a survival mechanism,” he said. “Especially these days, people of all stripes need it more than ever.”

Most recently, the band performed at the funeral of Amir Locke, the 22-year-old killed by Minneapolis police while on a no-knock warrant.

Sing “Hold on”, a song passed down through history.

“This type of music and the a capella spirituality that we sang ‘Hold on’ which was sung at funerals, where daughters, fathers, mothers were found hanging from trees,” he said. .

“What do you hope is the legacy that people will all remember you about,” KARE 11’s Charmaine Nero asked.

“When a complete stranger tells you your music saved my life,” Hines said.

Because ultimately, music soothes the soul, and as Hines said best, “what comes from the heart reaches the hearts of others.”

“Sounds of Blackness” has no intention of slowing down. Their latest achievement? A nomination for an NAACP image award for their new song “Time for Reparations”.

To learn more, visit their website here.

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