Too tired to do much writing--but I'm back here, after another long day on Southwest (Lubbock-Dallas-Chicago-Islip) for another week of research, culminating in a day-long symposium and concert. This trip follows the initial September trip--which was mostly archival--and is intended to complement via interviews, site visits, and relatively focused and selective archival followup.
Incredible and positive visit to AME Bethel Church in East Setauket, the oldest African-American congregation in Long Island, and the home church of people who still have family stories about the musicians who posed for my painter. One of the nice things about getting longer-in-the-tooth as an ethnomusicologist is that you have a little more experience upon which to draw when you go into a new situation, especially one in which you're an outsider or a minority. I started attending African Baptist or Methodist services in my teens (heritage of my '60s activist mother) and so I know some of what you don't do: most principally, you don't sit back and try to be a fly on the wall.
And it works, and they say "yes Lawd" and "praise Jesus" and clap their hands as you get warmed up. And they press around you afterward and give you names and take your card and promise to talk to elderly relatives.
And, of course, they sing like angels--beautifully enough to bring tears to your ears.