Junetta is a fifth generation descendant of a very musical Black American family that settled in Wildwood, Alberta. As a lifelong Edmonton resident, she has been singing gospel in and around the city since she was a child. Junetta has gone on to be a choir director, voiceover artist, actor, producer and professional Traditional Gospel singer. In choirs, her powerful pipes have shared the stage with Frank Wilson and The Five Blind Boys of Alabama and as a solo artist she has performed with greats such as Solomon Burke and Ron Kenoly. One of the few authentic gospel sopranos in Alberta, her voice has been said to have been “touched by God” to put some “good” back in the “Good News”!
As founder and director of the “Black Pioneer Heritage Singers”, Junetta has responded to a calling to preserve the style of vocalizing and musicianship her people brought with them to Alberta nearly 100 years ago. She says, “Authentic Black gospel, true to our distinct heritage of faith, is not an expected part of Alberta’s cultural fabric. Yet those who encounter it seldom soon forget their experience! It’s amazing that a sound which is obviously Southern, is now uniquely Albertan.”
This distinctive sound graced the stage on May 23, 2005 with a Feature Performance in the Command Performance for Her Majesty, Queen Elisabeth II. Directing the Heritage Singers and accompanied by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Senator Tommy Banks and trumpet virtuoso Jens Lindeman, Junetta raised the bar for professional excellence in Edmonton’s gospel music scene.
Junetta’s most memorable project was as a member of the Albertan contingency for the Smithsonian Institute’s “Folklife Festival”. This 2-week festival took place at the Mall on Washington in Washington, DC from June 28, 2006 to July 12, 2006. With close to 1 million people in attendance, Junetta did not disappoint with her riveting presentations as an Oral Historian and vocalist. This incredible event was the highlight of her career and Junetta was honored to be an Ambassador for her people and her province.
THE BLACK PIONEER HERITAGE SINGERS
Coming together to preserve the powerful Gospel Sound that Alberta’s original Black settlers brought from the Deep South 100 years ago are the Black Pioneer Heritage Singers. Led by Junetta Jamerson, most members of this collective of professional singers and musicians are actual descendants of these early settlers. They deliver a spirit filled sound that is universal in its appeal yet seldom heard outside of the Southern United States.
Incorporating a wide variety of styles from field chants, rich spirituals, rollicking call and responses and gospel standards, the “Heritage Singers” give an authentic representation of this centuries-old style of singing. They also bring to life the little known history of the slave descendents who settled Alberta starting in1905. The pain of bondage and the celebration of freedom are skillfully presented through tight harmonies, soaring vocals, hand rhythms and lush vocal dynamics.
The Black Pioneer Heritage Singers are rapidly becoming a local favorite. 2004 saw them delighting the audience as part of PJ Perry’s "Soul Revival” featuring Jackie Richardson and on May 23, 2005, they were featured in the Command Performance for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 2006 Junetta brought her chops to Washington, DC and was a ‘festival favorite’ as an ambassador for Alberta at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
In 2007 the Heritage Singers fired up the stage opening for both Mavis Staples and Leon Bibb. They have also brought down the house in benefit concerts, documentary appearances and revival services.
When it comes to authentic, home-grown soul, the Heritage Singers deliver like no other!