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As yet another example of how filmmakers are purposefully taking their production out of the hands of studios and going straight to the consumers, the critically acclaimed documentary “Awake My Soul” is now playing for free for a limited time on a computer near you. Pitchfork TV has decided to stream the movie on the web this week, and I highly recommend finding time to watch this surprisingly moving examination of the history of sacred harp music. Sacred harp music is a tradition that goes back over two centuries in this country , particularly in the South, and has been one way some of the greatest hymns of all time have been preserved. No, harps aren’t actually involved in the music, but sacred harp music is rather a specific form of acapella singing (I always think of the church scenes in “Cold Mountain” as the best example of this kind of music if you aren’t already familiar with it.). “Awake my Soul” captures the passion of the people who carry on this tradition as well as the way this art form serves as a significant community bond for those who participate. Though the music may seem a little jarring at first to the untrained ear, sacred harp music is unique in that you can’t sight read the music and there is little concern over performing for others, but is a ritual meant to edify those who actually come together to sing. Bur what I found most enjoyable about “Awake my Soul” is its unabashed patriotism and celebration of religious tradition in this country.To gain a better understanding of the music in the documentary, check out this clip:

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