The Sacred Harp Singers of Cork have been gathering weekly to sing four-part harmony music in the American shape-note folk tradition since 2009. The shape-note system uses squares, triangles, circles and diamonds to represent notes in the scale to make the music easy to sing for beginners and experienced alike. This influence of this tradition can be heard in the songs of Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams and the Stanley Brothers, all of whom came from shape note singing backgrounds.
The Sacred Harp refers to the human voice and is also the name of the tunebook from which we sing, first published in 1844 in Georgia (USA), containing songs with roots in Irish and European folk traditions. Unlike conventional choral music, we sing with our full natural voices, for a more powerful and energetic sound. This is a living tradition with all-day singing conventions all over US, Europe and Australia, including ours in Cork on the first weekend in March. This year’s convention is expected to draw 160-200 singers.
All voices are welcome and no experience is necessary; the shape note system is designed to make it easy for beginners to learn to read music! This is a participatory tradition, so while listening is welcome, singing is encouraged.
Friday 3rd 7-9pm: Singing school with Jonathon Smith, a renowned U.S. singer
Saturday 4th / Sunday 5th, 10am-4pm: Convention singing
Photo courtesy of www.ewanpaterson.com