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Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

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Spiritual
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Original score of "Motherless Child" by William E. Barton, D.D., 1899.

"Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" (or simply "Motherless Child") is a traditional Negro spiritual.

The song dates back to the era of slavery in the United States when it was common practice to sell children of slaves away from their parents. An early performance of the song dates back to the 1870s by the Fisk Jubilee Singers.[1][2] Like many traditional songs, it has many variations and has been recorded widely (see partial lists of choral arrangements and covers below).

The song is clearly an expression of pain and despair as it conveys the hopelessness of a child who has been torn from his or her parents. Under one interpretation, the repetitive singing of the word "sometimes" offers a measure of hope, as it suggests that at least "sometimes" I do not feel like a motherless child.[3]

Although the plaintive words can be interpreted literally, they were much more likely metaphoric. The “motherless child” could be a slave separated from and yearning for his African homeland, a slave suffering “a long ways from home”—home being heaven—or most likely both.

Notable versions

References

  1. ^ "Blue Gene" Tyranny, "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" article, Allmusic
  2. ^ Barton, Hymns of the Slave and the Freedman, p.17 ("Not very long ago I attended a concert given by a troupe of jubilee singers, whose leader was a member of the original Fisk company. Toward the end of the programme he announced that a recently arrived singer in his troupe from Mississippi had brought a song that her grandparents sang in slave times, which he counted the saddest and most beautiful of song of slavery. It was a mutilated version of Aunt Dinah's song ['Motherless Child' or 'I feel like I'd never been borned.']")
  3. ^ *"Sweet Chariot: the story of the spirituals" by Arthur C. Jones
  4. ^ http://ca.music.yahoo.com/release/35930654
  5. ^ Jocelyn Vena, "'Hope For Haiti Now' Telethon Airs Tonight At 8 P.M.: George Clooney, Wyclef Jean and Hollywood's biggest names help raise money for earthquake relief." MTV News, January 22, 2010, found at MTV News. Accessed January 22, 2010.

External links



This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sometimes_I_Feel_Like_a_Motherless_Child". Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.


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