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Baker's Dozen

A Zola Jesus Baker's Dozen: 13 LPs By Women Who Inspired Me To Sing
Luke Turner , August 27th, 2013 08:32

Zola Jesus (Nika Rosa Danilova) gives us a special Baker's Dozen - 13 albums by female singers who inspired her to find her own voice


United Sacred Harp Convention - The Alan Lomax Recordings
For someone so admittedly unreligious, I do find it a bit curious how much I love gospel music. But it's something about the power and passion in the voices, the conviction in what's being sung… everything in gospel feels so urgent and so raw. The first time I heard Alabama Sacred Harp Singers, I remember I could no longer focus on what I was doing. All tasks and distractions fell silent as my heart locked into what I was hearing. These hymns were not just being sung; they were being screamed. You could barely understand what they were singing, it was done with such massive, disordered force. It totally shook me, and changed me. I felt in them what I feel in myself when I'm singing. It's physical, hysterical, unbridled… it feels like this flooded release. The dam is broken, and you are on the floor, you don't know how you got there. You can't tell if you're singing or screaming, but it's somewhere in the middle. It's cathartic and ugly and passionate to the point of dry heaving. That's what I love about the human voice: the power to play your instrument so hard it makes your throat bleed and your body numb. That's what I heard in the Alabama Sacred Harp Singers, and in other gospel music. Maybe I'm not singing for God, but I'm singing for something similar… for life.