Lukáš Vasilek - choirmaster
African American spirituals are a phenomenon of American culture. These emotional religious songs gained popularity mainly for their catchy melodies and rhythms, which also led to the creation of jazz at the beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays, spirituals are performed in various arrangements throughout the world and their distinctive imprint can even be heard in Czech music. During the years he spent in America, Antonín Dvořák studied spirituals and then was influenced by their specific melody in his own work. Dvořák’s guide to spiritual music at the time was the black composer Henry Thacker Burleigh – several of his famous arrangements are included in Martinů Voices’ programme.