... A NEW Kim & Reggie CD ...
The new CD is finally completed! We had an amazing working with
many special guests and friends new and old. Can't wait for you to hear
Get On Board! Underground Railroad & Civil Rights Freedom Songs - Volume 2
The official release date is January 15th, 2007.
HOWEVER for our friends and fans, we will have the CD's available for sale at
performances on the web and by mail order by mid December.
In pre-Civil War years, Black gospel spirituals often served dual purposes -
to assert hope for a better life and to convey coded directions and advice
to runaway slaves heading north on the Underground Railroad, a network of
sympathizers providing food, shelter and aid. Many of these same songs
became anthems of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, their messages
of faith and determination stoking freedom marches and rallies. Since 1982,
the married folksinging duo of Kim and Reggie Harris has been exploring
the rich lore of Underground Railroad stories and songs and their subsequent
reuse in more modern contexts. The Harrises' 1997 Appleseed CD,
"Steal Away: Songs of the Underground Railroad," was proclaimed
"a stunning recording" by Sing Out! magazine and has been embraced as a
teaching tool by Underground Railroad and Black history museums, freedom centers,
and school systems. On the new "Get On Board!", Kim (vocals) and Reggie
(vocals, guitar) present some of the lesser-known Underground Railroad
songs they've uncovered, revive several standards from their past recordings
and mix in newer compositions "Ballad of the Underground Railroad,"
co-written by Black history scholar Charles L. Blockson, Cathy Fink's
spirited "One Little Step Towards Freedom," and Roberta Slavitt's aching
"Freedom is a Constant Struggle." The Harrises' guests on "Get On Board!",
spanning ages and genres, include Bernice Johnson Reagon, renowned musician,
teacher, activist and founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock; actor
Danny Glover; contemporary folk-blues performer Guy Davis;
Matt and Marshall Jones of the SNCC Freedom Singers group of the '60s;
14-year-old rapper Jonathan "Baby Jay" Gutierrez; acclaimed folk duos
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer and Magpie, and many others.
Prominent among the CD's glories is the use of voices - Kim's radiant
mezzo-soprano and Reggie's high baritone appear in innumerable harmonic
combinations, swooping around each other, slipping in and out of unison,
joyfully welcoming the additional vocal textures of their guests. The
vibrant arrangements and the fascinating background of the songs, described
in the CD's liner notes, make "Get On Board!" an accessible and uplifting
documentary of music's role in our country's history.
Kim and Reggie Harris will never be confused with the legions of navel-gazing
singer-songwriters who fall into the category of "contemporary folk music."
The Harrises have been "walking the talk" for over 30 years, performing modern
and historically oriented songs exploring societal ills and proffering positive
social messages on stages from Italy to Alaska to the Virgin Islands, in classrooms
and auditoriums across America, and on 11 albums (the six most recent on Appleseed)
and various compilations.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., both Kim and Reggie were exposed to a wide
range of music through their childhoods. After meeting at summer camp in 1974,
the duo continued their friendship that fall at Temple University. As their
personal relationship deepened, they began combining their voices and Reggie's
acoustic guitar playing in performances at local Philadelphia clubs and coffeehouses.
Married in 1976, the duo began a touring schedule that has averaged more than
200 yearly appearances across the country for the past 25 years, with about
half of those performances presenting historically-oriented workshops on
Underground Railroad songs for students, educators and parents.
Writing songs separately, together, and with other musicians, the Harrises'
compositions have addressed politics, domestic violence, families, the rewards
and pitfalls of love, and a constant underlying theme of social activism.
Their tribute to automobile seatbelts, "Passive Restraint," has been featured
on National Public Radio's syndicated "Car Talk" program (and can be found on
their "Rock of Ages" CD on Appleseed). With an additional repertoire of spirituals
and freedom songs drawn from their cultural background and ongoing studies,
Kim and Reggie's music carries on the folk tradition of preserving important
songs from the past and incorporating meaningful new songs.
The Harrises have long held a special affinity for the songs of the late
Phil Ochs, the Sixties singer-songwriter who exemplified the social conscience
of the era's musical protest movement. Kim and Reggie are mainstays of a
group of musicians who have toured the country for the past 16 years keeping
Ochs' music alive in a series of Phil Ochs Song Nights. Ochs' "What's That I Hear"
was recorded by the Harrises on last year's "Let My People Go! A Jewish & African
American Celebration of Freedom," a joint CD with Rabbi Jonathan Kligler
that compared the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the 13th Century
B.C.E. with the African American struggle for equality in the mid-Sixties.
Kim and Reggie have composed and arranged music for television, radio, video
and multi-media presentations. As part of their ongoing work in education,
they are presenters for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts touring
workshop program, providing teacher training that encourages the use of arts
in the classroom. Among other high-profile appearances, Kim and Reggie have
performed at the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
in Cincinnati, at the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institute, the Philadelphia
and Falcon Ridge Folk Festivals, and the International Children's Festival.
Most recently, Kim has earned her Master of Divinity degree at New York's
Union Theological Seminary, where she now lectures, and is working as an
adjunct professor at the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY, and as an artist
in resident for the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey. She
has also become involved in Operation Respect, a non-profit organization
founded by Peter Yarrow that works to assure children a safe, compassionate
climate of learning where their academic, social and emotional development
can take place free of bullying, ridicule and violence. Meanwhile, Reggie
continues his volunteer work as a basketball coach and youth mentor in the
Harrises' upstate New York community.
- Done Wit' Driver's Dribbin'
- Get On Board
- Oh Mary, Don't You Weep / with Bernice Johnson Reagon
- Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning / with Danny Glover and Rev. Robert
- Run Mary Run
- Children Go Where I Send Thee / with Magpie
- Old Tar River / with Matt & Marshall Jones
- Ballad of the Underground Railroad
- Trampin'/I Got Shoes
- Rise Up Shepherd and Follow/Go Tell It on the Mountain / with Guy Davis
- One Little Step Towards Freedom
- Down by the Riverside
- Row de Boat / with Baby Jay
- Freedom is a Constant Struggle
Here is a link back to Kim & Reggie's home page.
This page © Copyright 2007, Kim & Reggie Harris