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March 30, 2013

Original member of Gullah singers dies at 97

TOWNSEND (AP) — The last surviving original member of the Gullah singing group the McIntosh County Shouters has died at age 97.

The Florida Times-Union reports  services for Lawrence McKiver were scheduled Saturday at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Townsend, where the congregation is credited with having kept alive the African-American song style known as ring shouting.

Ring shouting, in which women sing while men add percussion with clapping hands and stomping feet, has been passed down among the Gullah-Geechee people who descended from slaves that once worked island plantations off the Georgia coast.  The McIntosh County group was discovered by folklorists in 1980 and has performed across the U.S.

Carletha Sullivan, McKiver’s cousin and a McIntosh County Shouters member, says McKiver had a long life and will be missed.

 

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