Alessandro Portelli

The Voice and the Time: spiritual and protest song

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The author analyzes an American spiritual entitled "Oh Freedom" which he considers as a model of song handed down from generations of slaves in North America to reflect on the logic of the oral tradition, that is on the relationship between memory (tradition) and voice (oral). The voice, inextricably linked to the body, is linked to space and to the individual, while the memory that guarantees the continuity of a culture concerns time and society. The voice of the song, according to the author, expands the memory of the singer of the song, linking the gesture of singing to the battle for the civil rights of a people.


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