Hold on just a little while longer, everything's gonna be all right!
Imagine these words of encouragement coming from the American Slave Ancestors. Stripped of their families, homes, language, religion, and culture, it’s hard to understand how the slaves survived, and yet, out of their travesty was born The Negro Spiritual; a precious gift to the world.
Prior to learning English, the slaves could only moan and hum because to use their native languages would mean severe punishment. Embedded in the moans were great expressions of their emotions of pain, frustration, hope, and determination. The moans are heard in the song prior to verses that invoke singing and prayer, two of the most empowering and expressive activities permitted to the slaves in bondage.
It is so remarkable that hundreds of years later this song can still bring hope and comfort to all people. While there may no longer be physical slavery in the United States, there are many who are enslaved by difficulties in their lives at one time or another. Whether it’s a matter of economics, illness, a spiritual struggle, or even traffic, this song has the power to get anyone through the day!
"Hold On" is an acappella arrangement(vocal only without instrumentation.) It’s performed in the traditional style of call and response used in the fields when a lead singer would call out the music and the other workers would respond in chorus. In this recording, however, the choir effect is achieved with the use of a special vocal synthesizer made by Roland, the VP-550. Don Lewis created the choir by singing and orchestrating the choral parts on the synthesizer. You can see how it works by using the Youtube link "Swing Low" on this page.