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Sounds of Blackness

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Sounds of Blackness, a 40-person choir and ten-piece orchestra led by Gary Hines, combined traditional African music with urban soul to become one of the most distinctive and popular contemporary gospel groups. Over the course of their career, the group won many awards, from organizations as diverse as the Grammies and the NAACP. Russel Knight formed the group that would prove to be the origins of Sounds of Blackness in 1969 at St. Paul, Minnesota's Macalester College. It wasn't until 1971, when Gary Hines was hired as their musical director, that the group developed its own identity. Hines opened the group up to the entire community and expanded their musical scope to concentrate on all aspects of black music. He designed the group as a way to embrace all manners of African-American music and create rich, diverse music to celebrate God and the human spirit, as well as to make social statements. With their new direction in mind, the group renamed themselves Sounds of Blackness. For the first decade and a half of the group's existence, Sounds of Blackness primarily played around Minneapolis, often opening for acts as diverse as the Jackson 5 and Hampton Hawes. They frequently released their own records, which helped them strengthen their local following. Partially by choice, Sounds of Blackness remained a regional attraction until 1989, when Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the hot Minneapolis-based production team, brought Janet Jackson to one of their concerts. Jackson's enthusiastic response inspired Jam & Lewis, who were already in negotiations with Sounds of Blackness, to sign the group to Perspective/A&M immediately. Before the Perspective deal, any major label interested in the Sounds of Blackness had asked the group to streamline their sound to include only gospel or R&B, or asked them to change their name to Sounds of Music; it wasn't until Perspective that they were allowed to keep their style and sound intact. The group's national debut album, The Evolution of Gospel, was largely produced by Jam & Lewis and received strong reviews. The pair produced the group's next two records, 1992's The Night Before Christmas (A Musical Fantasy) and 1994's Africa to America: The Journey of the Drum, as well. All of the Sounds of Blackness' first three records were successful, earning strong reviews and sales, plus several awards. Their success meant that the group could branch out on Time for Healing, which was released in May 1997. Time for Healing was the first self-produced Sounds of Blackness album, featuring heavy contributions from assistant director Billy Steele and bandleader Levi Seacer. The group followed it with Reconciliation in 1999, and landed a gig at the White House that New Year's Eve. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Albums by
Sounds of Blackness

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    15 songs

    On Air

    The Sounds of Blackness

    14 songs

    On Air

    The 3rd Gift: Story, Song and Spirit

    13 songs

    On Air

    Unity

    15 songs

    On Air

    The Night Before Christmas, Vol. 2

    18 songs

    On Air

    The Night Before Christmas: A Musical Fantasy

    19 songs

    On Air

    Time for Healing

    19 songs

    On Air

    Africa to America: The Journey of the Drum

    17 songs

    On Air

    The Evolution of Gospel

    6 songs

    On Air

    Everything Is Gonna Be Alright

    1 song

    On Air

    Royalty

    1 song

    On Air

    Black Lives Matter: No Justice No Peace - Single

    1 song

    On Air

    Rise

    16 songs

    On Air

    The Very Best of Sounds of Blackness

    18 songs

    On Air

    Kings and Queens: Message from the Movement

    20 songs

    On Air

    Soul Symphony

    14 songs

    On Air

    Reconciliation

    17 songs

    On Air

    The Collection

    16 songs

    On Air

    The Very Best of Sounds of Blackness & Ann Nesby

    8 songs

    On Air

    Journey of the Drum: Remix Collection

    1 song

    On Air

    The Night Before Christmas, Vol. 2

    1 song

    On Air

    The Pressure, Pt. 1


Top Songs by
Sounds of Blackness

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Hold On (Change Is Comin')
  3.   Optimistic
  4.   Fly Again
  5.   Royalty
  6.   The Lord Will Make a Way
  7.   God Cares
  8.   Castles Made of Sand
  9.   For Christmas' Sake
  10.   Season of Joy
  11.   Soul Holidays
  12.   Holy Are You Lord
  13.   Holiday Love
  14.   O Come All Ye Faithful
  15.   We're So Grateful
  16.   I Believe
  17.   Your Wish Is My Command
  18.   The Pressure, Pt.
  19.   For Unto Us a Child Is Born
  20.   I'll Fly Away
  21.   Don't Let Nothin' Keep You Down
  22.   So Far Away
  23.   Hold On, Pt. 1
  24.   Rise
  25.   Chains
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Sounds of Blackness

    On Air

    Gospel

    On Air

    A Very Soulful Christmas

    On Air

    Jimi Hendrix: DNA

    On Air

    Adult R&B


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