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The Intersection of Science, Art, Music & Humanities

Wade in the Water

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Today's Sunday Morning Stop at the Intersection of Science, Art, Music and Humanities starts with sincere prayers and hope for strength and safety for everyone in the Southeast US affected by the previous and incoming hurricanes.

The healing and hopeful music we chose this early morning features Eva Cassidy's version of one of the most famous spirituals, "Wade in the Water," written by an unknown author and published in New Jubilee Songs as Sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers.


It's good for humming when anxious, no matter who or what gets you through the night.  


Wade in the water

Wade in the water, children

God's gonna trouble the water

In 1866 the Fisk Jubilee Singers toured performing traditional spirituals including "Wade in the Water," hoping to bring credence to spirituals as a concert form.

Bible scholars suggest that this song relates to both the Old and New Testaments. 

The verses reflect the Israelites' escape out of Egypt as found in Exodus: 14.  The chorus refers to healing: John 5:4. 

"For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had."

A number of published authors also claim that "Wade in the Water" was used by Harriet Tubman to tell escaping slaves to get off the trail and into the water to make sure that the dogs employed by slavers lost their trail. 

"Wade in the Water' became part of the soul-jazz repertory in the late 1950s when improvising solo jazz musicians playing other tunes, riffed the first few bars to signal the band members to bring the tune home.They also used it during those years as an on stage art of jazz signifier

Eva Cassidy, an American blues, spiritual and jazz singer, became world famous after her death in 1998 when her CD Songbird was played on air in the United Kingdom. Amazon now lists her CD sales in their all time top five.

Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff