When the Gullah Kinfolk get together to practice, it’s a family reunion, a prayer meeting, a celebration and a very serious commitment to their art, all at once. They arrive after a full day’s work, after dinner, and after dark. They are there to prepare for their annual Christmas show with their Director, Anita Prather, or as you may know her, Aunt Pearlie Sue.
This really is a family reunion, for many of the group are related, and those who aren’t related by blood might as well be, because their bonds are strong and long-standing. Rehearsal is not only serious business, but it is also a time to catch up with each other’s news and watch each other’s children grow up.
And it really is a prayer meeting, because these singers pair their commitment to the presentation of their Gullah heritage with their faith in God and a desire to praise him, and the songs they sing reflect that. Most have learned to sing in church choirs, and the level of talent and professionalism is very high.
When Aunt Pearlie Sue and the Gullah Kinfolk perform, they make you feel like part of that loving family. Their joy in singing together is palpable and infectious, and they take you in – you are no longer a stranger. It doesn’t matter whether or not you can carry a tune; you will find yourself singing with them – in spirit, if not in fact.
The full-stage musical, “Gullah Christmas Wish…Freedom Coming” has become a holiday favorite. This presentation is intended for people of all ages and races who want to catch the holiday spirit. It will be held on December 1st at 7:00 PM at USCB’s Performing Arts Center.
This musical performance depicts the last Christmas before the Civil War. It’s an historical account of December of 1860 and South Carolina has just seceded from the Union. The War of Freedom is the talk by both servant and master. The audience will get a glimpse into the “Quarters” and “Big House.”
Through soul-stirring, foot stopping singing and dancing, the audience is drawn into the excitement of the Yuletide season on a South Carolina Sea Island plantation. The show has become very popular with travelers near and far who wish to experience the spirit of the season. People have traveled from as far as London, England to see this performance.