About our music

The music we sing is vibrant, footstomping,  passionate a cappella Gospel music in the African American tradition.

This is music of liberation, born of the slaves stolen from their homelands in Africa who were only allowed to sing Christian songs in English, their masters afraid that singing their own African songs would lead to rebellion. The human spirit will always find a way to soar and the oppressed black slaves would sing songs to fill their hearts as they toiled in the fields. Given ongoing oppression in today's world, these songs still resonate in our community. 

A cappella, literally means “in the chapel” and describes singing unaccompanied by instruments. The songs that Cafe of the Gate of Salvation sing are arranged with full Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass arrangements which creates a very full sound, giving the impression of accompanied instrumentation. Given the right rhythms, intonation, glottal stops and hand claps, you can almost hear the drums!

We are also fortunate to have in our repertoire the original songs of Tony Backhouse, our founding Musical Director, who has written many soulful songs for us in that same African American style, and who continues to contribute fine arrangements of both original and traditional songs.
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