Two centuries ago, in the tidewater regions of Maryland, traditional African worship practices merged with the beckoning Christianity of the Methodist Church. Born of that cultural intersection was a new hybrid of spiritual and musical devotion, a movement that came to be known as The Singing and Praying Bands.

The full audio story of the Singing and Praying Bands – how they began, what they mean to their surviving members, and whether or not they’ll still be around a decade or two into the future - can be found at

Produced by Shane Carpenter in collaboration with Aaron Henkin of WYPR and Cliff Murphy from the Maryland State Arts Council and co-director of Maryland Traditions.

Photo & Video
by Shane Carpenter

Al Morgan

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