Over the next week, KAMU is taking a musical journey, exploring the origins and history of gospel music. Through programs on both TV and radio, this celebration honors the genre’s significant heritage in America, tracing its roots from the beginning to the current day. Join us as we recognize and experience the history and spirit of gospel; from the premiere of a new documentary to a special episode of “The Heart of Art,” KAMU will have it all.
Part 1: Monday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. on KAMU-TV
Part 2: Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. on KAMU-TV
Explore the roots of gospel music alongside host Henry Louis Gates Jr. in this new two-part documentary. Over the past century, gospel music has evolved into the predominant form of African American religious expression, offering a tuneful narrative that extends from Mahalia Jackson to Kirk Franklin. Beyond its musical significance, the gospel sound has served as a touching soundtrack for healing and inspiration, especially resonating with those at the forefront of societal change.
There’s a cool, local connection in the documentary, too: recently retired Baylor University professor Robert F. Darden is interviewed about his important contributions to gospel music. On top of being a distinguished journalism professor, Darden is co-founder of the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program (BGMRP), housed at Baylor. It stands as the world’s most extensive effort dedicated to obtaining, digitizing, cataloging and providing access to heritage records from the “Golden Age” of gospel music that might otherwise be lost to time. The BGMRP also contributes gospel music selections to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington D.C.
His work has gained Darden recognition from many stations and programs, including several NPR programs such as “Fresh Air” and the PBS series “The Black Church: This is My Story, This is My Song.” Now in “GOSPEL,” learn more about his work and how others in the gospel community are preserving history.
How to Stream GOSPEL
- You can stream “GOSPEL” now through Feb. 12 with a KAMU Passport subscription.
- After the documentary debuts on TV, you can stream it for free for a month (Feb. 12-March 12) on PBS.org or the PBS App.
- After March 12, “GOSPEL” will return to subscribers only with KAMU Passport.
Friday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. on KAMU-TV
Friday, Feb. 16 at 9:30 p.m. on KAMU-TV
“GOSPEL Live!,” also presented by Henry Louis Gates Jr., stands as a captivating concert celebration that pays profound tribute to the legacy of gospel music in the United States. This musical extravaganza serves as the perfect companion to the enlightening documentary. In this special, a harmonious blend of secular and gospel artists take the stage, offering soulful renditions of their cherished gospel classics. The event not only magnifies the rich historical roots of gospel music but also creates a vibrant contemporary space where the spirit of this genre can be celebrated in its diverse and timeless glory.
The Heart of Art: Gloria Cooks
Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. on KAMU-FM
Host Hector Niño interviews Gloria Cooks, a local gospel legend with many awards under her belt. Together, they cover Cooks’ roots in gospel music, what makes the genre so unique and how she has kept her radio show, “Paradise Gospel Express,” on the air for 35 years. After the interview, enjoy a performance by local gospel group Twins & Friends. Tune in to this special show on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. on KAMU-FM or listen on “The Heart of Art” webpage (or your favorite podcast platform) any time after it airs.