Home > Solo instrument + piano > Swing Low, Sweet Chariot for Descant Recorder & Piano

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot for Descant Recorder & Piano

Composer
Wallis Willis
Year of composition
1862
Arranger
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
2 minutes
Genre
Jazz music
Instrumentation
Solo instrument + piano
Instrumental parts
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Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" was composed by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory, sometime before 1862. He was inspired by the Red River which reminded him of the Jordan River and of the Prophet Elijah being taken to heaven by a chariot. Many non-scholarly sources[clarification needed] (see Songs of the underground railroad) claim that this song and "Steal Away",also composed by Willis had hidden lyrics referring to the Underground Railroad.nnAlexander Reid, a minister at a Choctaw boarding school, heard Willis singing these two songs and transcribed the words and melodies. He sent the music to the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The Jubilee Singers then popularized the songs during a tour of the United States and Europe.nnThe song enjoyed a resurgence during the 1960s Civil Rights struggle and the folk revival; it was performed by a number of artists, perhaps most famously during this period, by Joan Baez during the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival.nnThe song was adopted by England rugby union fans during the last match of the 1988 season. The song was recorded by UB40 for the Rugby team to win the world cup.

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