Heritage Musical Performance

Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters & Winnsboro Easter Rock Ensemble Performance

June 24, 2024, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Performance entrance is free; a fee is charged for a tour of Whitney Plantation.

In partnership with the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and the Historic New Orleans Collection, we are pleased to host African American elders and young culture-keepers representing Louisiana’s Easter Rock and Georgia’s Gullah Geechee Ring Shout traditions. These groups will come together for the first time inside the historic Antioch Baptist church at Whitney Plantation. They will share with the public Black spiritual practices that date back to our nation’s antebellum era.   

The Winnsboro (La.) Easter Rock Ensemble was recognized as a 2021 NEA National Heritage Fellow for their commitment to sustaining Northern Louisiana’s Easter Rock tradition of gathering the community in their church on Easter Eve to engage in a vigil ritual filled with West African and Christian elements. This includes having participants form a circle then move (or “rock”) in a counterclockwise direction while singing sacred music.  

This “ring” aspect is echoed in the ring shout traditions of the Gullah Geechee people of coastal South Carolina and Georgia in which people also move in a counter-clockwise circle using “shuffling” movements combined with call-and-response singing. The Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters hail from Darien, Georgia, and have performed and interpreted the ring shout tradition internationally. It is one of the many African cultural retentions the Gullah Geechee people have proudly long preserved.