Amazing Grace and the Black Keys

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About this Post and Amazing Grace

Katie and I just got back from whirlwind vacation in the Carolinas with Kasha. One of our stops was Charleston South Carolina, which despite its magical beauty also has history of America’s most active port for Slave Trading – this history was something I wasn’t comfortable with and was reluctant to visit the area but Katie pervailed and I’m glad she did.

Charleston was good to us and an eye opener on many levels (note I snapped over 1500 high rez pictures, recorded 8 gigs of audio data from birds to dinner interviews, and shot 1.5 hours of awesome video footage so more on the Carolinas to come).

During our trip, one of my church clients asked me to post the following video clip on their home page. Both Katie and I love Amazing Grace but did not know of the origins or history of this song.

As an aside, I also now love to play just the black keys on the piano which was something I first started doing five years ago when I was in the hospital recovering for three months from nasty car incident on black ice and the black keys were the only ones my fingers could reach and play given that both arms were in casts (as well as host of other broken bones).

Here is the copy that I posted on my client’s site:

Below is a clip from GodTube featuring Wintley Phipps, President of the US Dream Academy – an organization for children of prisoners … “If the mountain was smooth you couldn’t climb it … Five black notes per scale on the piano and you can play almost any Negro Spiritual by playing just the black notes … Slave Ship Captain, John Newtown, penned the words for Amazing Grace after he became a Christian but the melody was based on the West African Sorrow Chant he heard rising from the belly of the slave ships he sailed …”

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Video History of Amazing Grace by Wintley Phipps

Below is video on Internet Archives of Wintley Phipps who during 2010 Carnegie Hall performance shared his understanding of the history of Amazing Grace – enjoy!

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