McIntosh County Ring Shouters Raise the Roof

McIntosh County Ring Shouters perform during a recent performance in Savannah at Second African Baptist Church
McIntosh County Ring Shouters perform during a recent performance in Savannah at Second African Baptist Church

The Georgia Historical Society presented the inspiring sights and sounds of the McIntosh County Ring Shouters on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. at Second African Baptist Church, 123 Houston Street in Savannah.

The McIntosh County Ring Shouters have been bringing folks to their feet with their unique “shouting” performance for over 30 years.

A mesmerizing blend of circling dance movements, call-and-response singing and percussive handclaps, modern “shouting” derives from the communication used by African slaves working in rice fields in the 18th- and 19th centuries.

It is thought to be one of the oldest surviving forms of African American cultural and spiritual expression and its influences can be heard in later musical genres including jubilee, gospel, and even jazz.

The ring shout tradition was for the most part forgotten by the world until the McIntosh County Shouters revived it in 1980 with their lively performances.

Since then, they have held audiences spellbound and contributed to a greater understanding of early African American culture.

The group has been featured in a Georgia Public Broadcasting documentary, performed at Lincoln Center in New York City, and is a recipient of the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Georgia Historical Society is an educational and research institution founded in 1839 to tell the story of Georgia and its role in American history.

Headquartered in Savannah with offices in Atlanta, the Georgia Historical Society has nearly 6,000 members statewide and nearly 200 affiliates in 80 counties.

It publishes the Georgia Historical Quarterly, maintains a library and archives that houses the oldest collection of Georgia history materials in the nation, manages the Historical Marker Program for the State of Georgia, and educates thousands of school children about Georgia history through the annual Georgia History Festival.

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