The Fisk University Jubilee Singers can add another accolade to their list of achievements– the legendary choral ensemble won their first GRAMMY in the Best Roots Gospel category for “Celebrating Fisk!: (The 150th Anniversary Album)” Sunday, March 14.
The Singers beat out Mark Bishop, The Crabb Family, The Erwins and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound for the prestigious award. They were previously nominated for Best Gospel Performance for “I Believe” in 2009.
Led by Dr. Paul Kwami, the Singers were National Medal of Arts recipients in 2008. Dr. Kwami has been with the Fisk Jubilee Singers for nearly three decades. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the group.
Their journey began with fundraising for Fisk, which was threatened with closing due to a lack of funds. The Singers traveled to Europe in 1871 and, in addition to gathering the funds needed to keep the university open, they brought Negro spirituals to the world and have continued that legacy ever since.
The 1909 recording of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was added to the United States National Recording Registry in 2002.
Relatedly Ledisi, who performed with the Jubilee Singers for last year’s 4th Annual Spring Sing, won Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Anything for You.”