Tune of the Day: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was composed by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman in the old Indian Territory, sometime before 1862. He was inspired by the Red River (the one between Texas and Oklahoma, not the Vietnamese one!) which reminded him of the Jordan River and of the Prophet Elijah being taken to heaven by a chariot.
The song enjoyed a resurgence during the 1960s Civil Rights struggle and the folk revival; it was performed by a number of artists, perhaps most famously during this period, by Joan Baez during the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival.
“Swing Low” was also adopted by England rugby union fans during the last match of the 1988 season.