Music has always been a vital part of carrying on the Gullah legacy, and it's not hard to see why. It's an immediate way of connecting with the sounds and traditions of generations past that's also a celebration of how far the Gullah people have come. Performers of Gullah music have the dual responsibility of entertaining and educating. Their work helps to keep the identity of the South Carolina Low Country alive.
Since 1996, the Plantation Singers have been doing just that. As an a capella group that specializes in spirituals, they've been sharing the uplifting music of the Gullah for years, while helping to keep an essential part of South Carolina's character intact for locals and visitors alike.
Besides performing in Charleston's various historic sites, the group has also performed internationally, taking Gullah music and culture abroad to places like Italy, Spain and South Korea.
Lynette White founded the group using her background in music and theatre to create an experience that's educating, entertaining and encourages audience members to participate. She originally started the group as an activity for her retired mother that would allow her to share her knowledge and experience of Gullah culture with others. Little did she know that the Plantation Singers would be able to tour around the world and become a staple of what Charleston has to offer.
During an interview with The Post Courier, White shared her own thoughts on why she thinks groups like hers are a key part of keeping tradition alive: "I feel that it is important to preserve the Gullah spirituals because they are an important part of the Gullah/Geechee traditions and culture. These songs were created in the plantation fields of the South by our African ancestors. These songs held so much meaning for our African ancestors then and for us now. As I stated earlier, my mother grew up on these songs, but I did, too. And I want my daughter and her generation and future generations to know this music."
Looking to enjoy some of the groups musical stylings? If you're in the area, you can always check their website for upcoming shows. If you can't make it to Charleston or any of their other performances, you can always check them out on YouTube. To give you a taste of what they're all about, here's a video of them performing "This Little Light of Mine."