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Sacred Harp

June 12, 2008

I first heard a piece of Sacred Harp music while watching an otherwise less than exemplary Cold Mountain. It’s certainly jarring, but I’ve grown rather fond of the piece exhibited in the second video of this post. It’s called Idumea, and is also featured in this first video which is a trailer for a documentary on shape note and Sacred Harp singing in particular. I caught just a smidgen of this documentary on PBS, called Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp, and have been wanting to see the whole thing.

Anyway, here is the trailer which also gives you a bit more information:

Here is the aforementioned Idumea. You can find the lyrics below the video. The uploader of the video used the song as an homage to Native Americans. I love the initially jarring song more each time I hear it.


And I am born to die?
To lay this body down!
And must my trembling spirit fly
Into a world unknown?

A land of deepest shade
Unpierced by human thought;
The dreary regions of the dead,
Where all things are forgot!

Soon as from earth I go,
What will become of me?
Eternal happiness or woe
Must then my portion be!

Waked by the trumpet sound,
I from my grave shall rise;
And see the Judge with glory crowned,
And see the flaming skies!

This third video is straight from Cold Mountain, and you see clearly one of the reasons I hate the film: Nicole Kidman.  Thankfully Renee Zellweger is absent from this clip, otherwise I’m not sure I could post it here.  One is bad enough.  Two is unbearable.  Anyway, this is the second Sacred Harp piece in the movie.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brent permalink
    June 13, 2008 10:41 am

    I didn’t realize that was sacred harp. It sounds like a disjointed round. Pretty neat though. Looks like it’d be fun to sing in one of those things. The Indian one was very powerful…was it in a different language or just really garbled?

    Yea, N. Kidman isn’t the best out there, but Renne Z did a great job in the movie. But anyway, what can I say.

    Cool stuff…bh

  2. June 13, 2008 10:59 am

    It’s in English. The first 43 seconds or so isn’t listed in the lyrics they supplied for some reason, but you can make out the rest with the lyrics after the first verse or so. After Idumea ends, it then seems to go into a different Sacred Harp song which also isn’t identified.

    Rene Zellweger was even worse than Kidman in that piece of crap. She is a consummate over-actor.

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