The Sunday Magazine·Sunday Edition

Go Tell It On the Mountain

First sung by slaves a hundred and fifty years ago, it is now a much beloved Christmas favourite.

"Go Tell it On the Mountain" was born in the rich culture of African slaves in the American south.

A hundred years later, it was a rallying cry for the civil rights struggle of the 1960's.

And now, it is a favourite at Christmas concerts and church services across North America.

As is the case with most spirituals, the music and lyrics of "Go Tell it on the Mountain" cannot be attributed to any one person. 

African American composer John Wesley Work is credited with formally adapting the song and including it in a songbook in 1907.

But there are many versions of "Go Tell it On the Mountain". They are as varied and distinctive as the people performing them. 

The lyrics have been adapted and personalized countless times. But it is always, at its heart, a celebration.

First broadcast on the Sunday Edition in 2004, here is our documentary, "Go Tell it On the Mountain: a Joyful Noise".

Click 'listen' above to hear the documentary.

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