The Prince of Kosher Gospel - The Voice of Mahalia Jackson

Kosher Gospel is the marriage of Jewish religious lyrics and meanings with the soulful sounds of American gospel music. While the word “gospel” a Greek word meaning good news, is usually associated with African-American Christian churches, the musical styling is African, sounds that came from several African tribes, and developed as a tool to escape social injustice. This was the Spiritual, the Meter Hymns, Jubilee songs and ultimately, the coined “Gospel Music". These African rhythms, predate the West Africans introduction to Christianity. These same sounds have been retained in the musical cultures of Black African Muslims and Jews, such soul-inflected vocalizations filled the Black Hebrew synagogue Joshua attended as a child with his family, observant Jews who traced their lineage back to Senegal.

Cultural traditions typically change slowly, over the long arc of history. But occasionally a folk cultural innovation emerges that are startlingly fresh in its outward manifestation, although it remains deeply—even reverently—traditional at its core. You may have never heard of “Kosher Gospel” music before today, but the inspirational performances of Joshua Nelson, the creator of this style, will surely call out to your soul.