NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans welcome the Fisk Jubilee Singers to perform the National Anthem, and Robert Randolph to entertain during halftime at Sunday's Titans-49ers game at LP Field. In addition, former Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason will be introduced as the "12th Titan" prior to kickoff.
ABOUT THE FISK JUBILEE SINGERS®
Fisk University opened in Nashville in 1866 as the first American university to offer a liberal arts education to “young men and women irrespective of color.” Five years later the school was in dire financial straits.
George L. White, Fisk treasurer and music professor then, created a nine-member choral ensemble of students and took it on tour to earn money for the University. The group left campus on October 6, 1871. Jubilee Day is celebrated annually on October 6 to commemorate this historic day.
The first concerts were in small towns. Surprise, curiosity and some hostility were the early audience response to these young black singers who did not perform in the traditional “minstrel fashion.”
One early concert in Cincinnati brought in $50, which was promptly donated to victims of the notorious 1871 fire in Chicago. When they reached Columbus, the next city on tour, the students were physically and emotionally drained. Mr. White, in a gesture of hope and encouragement named them “The Jubilee Singers,” a Biblical reference to the year of Jubilee in the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 25.
Continued perseverance and beautiful voices began to change attitudes among the predominantly white audiences. Eventually skepticism was replaced by standing ovations and critical praise in reviews. Gradually they earned enough money to cover expenses and send back to Fisk.
In 1872 they sang at the World Peace Festival in Boston and at the end of the year President Ulysses S. Grant invited them to perform at the White House.
In 1873 the group grew to eleven members and toured Europe for the first time. Funds raised that year were used to construct the school’s first permanent building, Jubilee Hall. Today Jubilee Hall, designated a National Historic Landmark by the US Department of Interior in 1975, is one of the oldest structures on campus. The beautiful Victorian Gothic building houses a floor-to-ceiling portrait of the original Jubilee Singers, commissioned by Queen Victoria in during the 1873 tour as a gift from England to Fisk.
The ensemble continues to travel around the world, singing the Negro spiritual and representing Fisk University. The two time Grammy Nominated Fisk Jubilee Singers® have won a Dove Award and have been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame as well as the Music City Walk of Fame. By a special invitation from the United States Department of State, the Fisk Jubilee Singers traveled to Ghana for the first time in 2007, where they performed to celebrate the 50th Independence anniversary of Ghanaians. This journey was historic and became known as “A Sacred Journey”. One of the venues where the performances took place was on the grounds of Elmina Castle. In 2008, the Fisk Jubilee Singers were awarded the 2008 National Medal of Arts by former President George W. Bush at the White House. Other awards of the ensemble include the Governor’s Award, the Recording Academy Honors and the Heritage Award of the Nashville Music Awards.
ABOUT ROBERT RANDOLPH
Robert Randolph & The Family Band first gained national attention with the release of the album Live at the Wetlands in 2002. The band followed with three studio recordings over the next eight years—Unclassified, Colorblind, and We Walk This Road—which, together with tireless touring and unforgettable performances at such festivals as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, won them an expanding and passionate fan base. Randolph's unprecedented prowess on his instrument garnered him a spot on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list, and also attracted the attention of such giants as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana, who have collaborated with him on stage and in the studio.
When Robert Randolph talks about his new album, Lickety Split, a few words come up over and over—"joy," "freedom," "energy." Which is no surprise, really, because those are the same things that immediately spring into a listener's mind when these twelve tracks from the virtuoso pedal steel guitarist and his longtime accompanists, the Family Band, explode out of the speakers.
"My thing is really upbeat, uptempo, with great guitar riffs," says Randolph, summarizing his musical ambitions, "but also catchy choruses and lyrics that someday will make this music into classic tunes."
“Robert Randolph is an American Original," says Don Was, President of Randolph's new label, Blue Note Records. "He has mastered what is, arguably, the most complex instrument in the world and developed a unique voice that is equal parts street-corner church and Bonnaroo. This album finally captures the energy and excitement of his legendary live performances.”
The new album showcases the unique chemistry of the Family Band—comprised of the guitarist's actual family members Marcus Randolph, Danyel Morgan, and Lenesha Randolph, together with guitarist Brett Haas. The eleven original compositions, plus a stomping cover of "Love Rollercoaster" by the Ohio Players, were produced by Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Danyel Morgan, Marcus Randolph, Tommy Sims, Drew Ramsey, and Shannon Sanders; engineered by the legendary Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin); and feature special guest appearances from Trombone Shorty and Carlos Santana.
With a new label, a new dedication to his craft, and a new sense of responsibility in his life off-stage, it seems like Lickety Split might also represent the urgency Robert Randolph is bringing to all of his efforts these days. "I'm still undiscovered, and that's really the best thing about it," he says. "Now we have the chance to present the music right, and have the story told right, and for me to be focused on being an ambassador for inner-city kids and a role model, and also an ambassador for my instrument and as an artist. As all these things happened, it got fun again."
12 TITAN: FORMER TITANS WR DERRICK MASON
A fourth-round draft pick by the Titans in 1997, two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Derrick Mason began his first eight NFL seasons in Tennessee (1997-2004), catching 453 passes (5th in team history) for 6,114 yards (6th in team history) (13.5 avg) and 37 touchdowns.
Mason played the next six years with the Ravens, becoming Baltimore's all-time leading receiver with 471 receptions for 5,777 yards (12.3 avg) and 29 touchdowns from 2005-10. He played his last NFL season in 2011 with the New York Jets and Houston Texans.
Mason is the only player in NFL history with 10,000 receiving yards and 5,000 return yards and set the NFL record for most all-purpose yards in a single season with 2,659 in 2000.