The spiritual is celebrated in American culture and beyond. It is the source from which gospel, jazz, blues, and hip-hop evolved. It was born in the American South, created by slaves, bards whose names history never recorded. The organizing concept of this music is not the melody of Europe, but the rhythm of Africa. And the theology conveyed in these songs is a potent mix of African spirituality, Hebrew narrative, Christian doctrine, and an extreme experience of human suffering. SpiritSoulMusic explores the modern spiritual in word and song — through its hidden meanings, as well as its beauty, lament, and hope.