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date: 28 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter tracks the global circulation of gospel music, a movement enabled in part by the transnational record industry, noting in particular the ways some audiences in the African Diaspora receive and participate in the music in continuity with African American religious practice in the United States. A key interest is the way gospel music reflects religiosity and cultural experience and the transformations that can disrupt the link between these elements in global performances. The chapter traces performances and historical moments that show an encounter with the global in the careers of pioneering gospel performers, including Mahalia Jackson and Rosetta Tharpe. It then describes and analyzes the author’s experience as “performer and culture bearer” of gospel music in two transnational sites: collaborative performances in Malawi and Cuba. The author concludes that the comprehensive integrity of gospel music is presented most coherently when the music is mediated through the lens of both cultural and religious identity.

Keywords: Christianity, African diaspora, Cuba, Japan, Malawi, globalization, gospel music, transnationalism, religiosity, media

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