American Jubilee Singers
With the phenomenal success of the Fisk Jubilee Singers
after the Civil War, hundreds of African-American vocal ensembles sprang up in
imitation of them. As the Fisk Jubilee Singers toured the globe to
worldwide acclaim, they opened doors for these other "Jubilee" groups.
The exact origins of Daniel W. Brown's American Jubilee
Singers has not been established, though Daniel himself claimed to have been a
later member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and billed his group as the
"Successors to the Original Fisk Co." By 1908, Brown's group was touring
Great Britain and sending back correspondences to the black newspaper, The
[Indianapolis] Freeman. At the time, the group consisted of four men and
four women. Like the Fisk singers, they would render songs as a mixed
octet as well as breaking off into quartets. Brown was particularly
proud of the male quartet, of which he often sang lead.
(Two original post cards from Daniel Brown's American
Jubilee Singers' European tours, ca. 1908-1910).
In 1908, the American Jubilee Singers consisted of Daniel
Brown (manager and first tenor), W. Finly (second tenor), H. Young (first
bass), Robert W. Jenkins (second bass), Mrs. Anna C. DeAcklen (soprano), Ethel
McGee (soprano), Madam Alexine Bright (soprano and reader) and Mrs. Ellennette
Hamilton (contralto). Some of the songs the group perfromed included the
spirituals "Steal Away To Jesus," "Swing Low Sweet Chariot," and the novelty
tune, "The Laughing Song," popular with many quartets at the time.
By 1911, Daniel Brown and his American
Jubilee Singers were back in the U.K., this time reporting back from Belfast.
In his correspondence, Brown details successes in London, Wales and Ireland.
Nothing further is known of the American Jubilee Singers,
though some believe Daniel Brown is the same singer who recorded for Paramount
Records in 1923.
(The early 20th Century Quartet picture above, may or may
not be related to Daniel Brown's group)
postcard below was previously erroneously attributed by us to Brown's American
Singers. It was correctly identified by Jeff Green as the Jamaican Native
Choir, taken in 1907 at St. George's Hall in Liverpool, England. For more
info see page 027 of Jeff Green's website,
www.jeffreygreen.co.uk and his book "Black Edwardians: Black People
in Britain 1901 - 1914".
Jamaican Native Choir, 1907
(From the Classic Urban Harmony Archives)
Thanks to Doug Seroff for his groundbreaking
research and news clippings on the American Jubilee Singers and to Jeffrey Green
for his fine research on black group in the UK.
Copyright © 2008, Classic Urban Harmony LLC. All