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Sounds Of Blackness

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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Kings & Queens: Message Music From The Movement

1. Time For Love

2. Kings And Queens

3. She Is Love

4. The Message

5. Be Real Black For Me

6. Martin Luther King

7. We Shall Overcome

8. Free At Last

9. Precious Lord

10. March Song Medley: Eyes On The Prize, Turn Me 'round, Oh Freedom

11. Children Of The Dream

12. My Soul Is Rested

13. Hold On Jus' A Li'l While Longer

14. I Got A Robe

15. Let My People Go

16. King Jesus Is A-Listenin'

17. Odun De

18. Don't Stop 'til You Reach The Top

x

Track List: Unity

1. Unity

2. Heaven

3. Put The Finger On Me

4. Interlude

5. Trouble

6. Try

7. A Second Chance

8. They That Wait

9. Over My Head

10. Children Of God

11. I'm Movin'

12. Be Encouraged

13. Life

x

Track List: Reconciliation

1. Dj Intros

2. Try

3. You Are The One

4. Thank You

5. Reconciliation

6. Twenty Four And Back Again

7. For Old Times Sake

8. Tell Me What You Thinkin' 'bout

9. Rainbow

10. Love Will Change Things

11. Don't Be Afraid To Dream

12. Straight Ahead

13. Reconciliation Blues

14. Take The A Train

x

Track List: Africa To America

1. Hold On (Pt. 1)

2. I'm Going All The Way

3. Ah Been 'buked (Pt. 1)

4. I Believe

5. Hold On (Pt. 2)

6. Everything Is Gonna Be Alright

7. Sun Up To Sundown

8. The Lord Will Make A Way

9. He Took Away All My Pain

10. A Place In My Heart

11. The Harder They Are The Bigger They Fall

12. The Drum (Africa To America)

13. African Medley (Royal Kingdoms, Rise, My Native Land)

14. A Very Special Love

15. Strange Fruit

16. Black Butterfly

17. You've Taken My Blues & Gone

18. Livin' The Blues

19. Ah Been 'buked (Pt. 2)

x

Track List: Fly Again (Rap Version) (Single)

x

Track List: The Very Best Of Sounds Of Blackness

1. Chains

2. Optimistic

3. The Pressure

4. Testify

5. Your Wish Is My Command

6. Joy

7. I Believe

8. Everything Is Gonna Be Alright

9. I'm Going All The Way

10. Black Butterfly

11. The Harder They Are, The Bigger They Fall

12. The Lord Will Make A Way

13. Spirit

14. Love Will Never Change

15. Hold On (Change Is Comin')

16. Soul Holidays

x

Track List: Time For Healing

1. Africana

2. Spirit

3. We Are Gonna Make It Through (Part 1)

4. Hold On (Change Is Comin')

5. Love Will Never Change

6. Love Train

7. God Cares

8. Hold On (Don't Let Go)

9. Crisis

10. We Are Gonna Make It Through (Part 2)

11. You Can Make It If You Try

12. The Blackness Blues

13. A Spiritual Medley

14. So Far Away

15. Familiar Waters

16. Time For Healing

17. We Are Gonna Make It Through (Part 3)

18. Hold On (Change Is Comin') (Roger Troutman Remix)

19. Hidden Track

Comments

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HOLDING ON BECAUSE I KNOW THROUGH IT ALL JESUS YOU WILL BRING US THROUGH AND I CAN'T HELP BUT LOVE YOU JESUS AMEN
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Nice......be a u t i f u l song!! A Place In My Heart...pare n t s give their children a foundation of disclipine love values and hope for the best as they become adults. All we can do!
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Yes lord thank you for being so close to my heart
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Yessssss Thank You Jesus for this. You know what I need to hear.
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Positive, powerful, soul lifting music...
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I BELIEVE in the power cause I no I never doubt AMEN
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Encouraging words for us all to hear.
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True song hold a change will come amen
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Lord I will continue to hold on in Jesus' Name.
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Hold on change is coming...Ame n
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"Don't worry bout a thang! Everything is already alright! Stay strong! Keep the faith, and know! Change has to come! One thing constant in nature!
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Amen and thank You Father!
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I'm, holding on.by grace...
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I can make it,because Jesus died for my sins. No matter what the enemy try ' s to do to me through my marriage, God is still in control thank you Lord.
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Everything, is going to be alright. Keep your head up...amen... . .
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ray.drayton
Thank you Jesus I believe a change is coming
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I love this song
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Merry, Christmas to everyone... Love you all'''...
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You go my sister... The Lord is with you....
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Thank you Jesus, Thank you father , for my bad time that I'm having I thank you anyway. Thank you for my break through in advance thank you for your love. I know I don't have to worry about a thing! Change is coming! I can feel it getting closer
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All,of us just keep the faith, and hold on """...
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Hold on!!!
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Amen I know my change is coming! I'm holding on Jesus!!!
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Awesome
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I need to hear something like that,,,
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~Black Butterfly~.. . . i f some of our young people throughout the inner city communities new their WORTH/VALUE hearts would change, mindset attjitudes would change.
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Just what I needed right now!
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Now is the song!!!
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Amen
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Thank you Jesus for taking all my pain in Jesus name, love this song
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One of the greatest hits ever made
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~I'm Going All the Way~ because I win as a hold onto JESUS for HE REIGNS!!
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I remember my mama always telling me this.
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I hold on, by staying at the Feet of Jesus. Thankful to God for being such a Self-discipl i n e Woman.
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True song a change will come soon amen
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Awesome
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Cool
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hardin7j3
A change will come just be patient and wait on the lord amen
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YES, Hold ON bc God's got U.....Glory! ! Be encouraged!
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tosha.caldwe l l 4
I know a change is coming...yes ! ! !
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denvis20
Love it soul holiday
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Love that song .
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Beautiful song
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zqsweet
Hallelujah praise him
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Love you lord.
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hardin7j3
Yes a change coming for me really soon lord I feel it
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Love it.
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Love this song!!
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hardin7j3
Yes lord a change is coming love this song
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thanks for the encouragemen t
Show more

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