Dmae presents Songs of the People: Indigenous Roots of Black Folk Music is a 28-minute program hosted by Benjamin Mertz, a song leader in the Black Spiritual tradition. The program will look at pre-20th Century Black music as a folk tradition, exploring its connections to its African ancestry and its similarities to the traditional music of the First Nations in North America. With work songs, drum circles, sacred chants, and songs evoking the imagery of rivers and mountains, Black Spiritual music lives hand-in-hand with other Indigenous music traditions.
Music for this program will be taken from Benjamin Mertz’s album “Climbing Up the Mountain,” a vocal and percussion project designed to emphasize the Indigenous/folk aspects of Black traditional music. Songs will be interspersed with historical perspectives.
Songs of the People was developed for KIDE-FM Hoopa Tribal Radio and was first aired on Feb. 2, 2020.
This is production distributed by Native Voice One.
Benjamin Mertz was born in Hackensack, NJ, and has lived in California's SF Bay Area for twelve years. He is the founder/director of the Joyful Noise! Gospel Singers. Benjamin is a composer, performer, and song leader who specializes in music of the Black Spiritual tradition. He can often be found leading songs at benefit concerts, vigils, protest actions, sacred services, and workshops. Benjamin's most recent album of Black Spiritual music, called "Climbing Up the Mountain," is available at the Shop page of his website. Benjamin is a human rights and racial justice activist. When not performing music, he writes and speaks on issues of racial justice, economic justice, Black History, and works on creating interfaith and interracial alliances. Benjamin lives in Richmond, CA.
If you are fighting for civil rights and human dignity, Benjamin wants to be in the fight with you. As a song leader in the Black Spiritual and Civil Rights traditions, and as a speaker on Martin Luther King and the modern resistance movement, Benjamin stands in solidarity with nonprofit organizations and civil rights groups of all shapes, sizes, and colors, in the journey towards justice. Benjamin speaks out against what Martin Luther King referred to as the "triple evils": racism, materialism, and militarism. If your rally or protest needs another dynamic voice for change, or your nonprofit organization is putting together a benefit concert, direct action, or awareness effort, do not hesitate to contact him.