Various Artists

Let Zion Move: Music Of The Shakers

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The spiritual music of the Shakers, as might be expected, is notable for its simplicity and straightforward nature. The vocal music is often (though not always) sung without instrumental accompaniment and without harmony. Most of the sentiments expressed would fit easily in the mainstream of Protestant hymnody, but there's an undercurrent of defiance in songs like "Lion-Hearted, Brave and True" and "My Dear Companions, Let's Move On" that may arise as much from the Yankee heritage of the singers as from the world-denying faith they share. Most of the music on these two discs is taken from a series of ten LPs released in the 1960s entitled The Shaker Heritage, and the performers are members of the Shaker villages in Canterbury, NH and Sabbathday Lake, ME. The first disc is devoted to songs and instrumental performances with brief introductory comments between tracks; the second consists primarily of interviews and narration. The recording quality isn't always very good, but anyone with an interest in American religious music will find the material both interesting and moving. Highly recommended.

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