Listen to Soil to Soul Series Volume 1 Podcast
This Little Light of Ours: Soil to Soul Series Volume 1
The “Soil to Soul Series” explores the American South’s uniqueness, and we want to share it with as many as will listen.
Raleigh Charter High School is a public charter school founded in 1999 that has always been dedicated to building citizenship. Workday groups go off campus to build connections and support community needs. Sustaining Roots Music (SOOTS) is a student group that works to assist aging roots musicians in conjunction with our mentors at the Music Maker Relief Foundation.
Since 2006, SOOTS has dedicated itself to raising awareness of the talents and unique needs of aging musicians. We’ve organized benefit concerts, met with folklorists, fundraised by selling homemade cakes and student designed, silk screened T-Shirts, and met with musicians in our classrooms every chance we get. Yet it is not enough for us to simply learn about the American South; we also desire to share what we’ve learned with others.
Last year we had the incredible opportunity to meet, listen to, and learn from two treasures in the American South’s musical traditions, Sister Lena Mae Perry and Phil Cook.
Sister Lena Mae Perry is a gospel singer born and raised in Newton Grove, NC. She has been singing with her church her entire life and started her group, The Branchettes, with close friend Ethel Eliot out of the Long Branch Disciple Church. She is a world class musician who has performed in a variety of venues ranging from a packed amphitheater in Ireland to a kindergarten class in rural NC.
Sister Lena Mae Perry first played in our classroom in the fall of 2018, and we were eager to have her return with Phil Cook last April.
Phil was raised in Wisconsin, but has called Durham, NC home since 2007 where he has become a collaborative force on an internationally recognized local music scene we have in the Triangle. All you have to do is see his band The Guitarheels to know that Phil loves what he does. Phil had first visited SOOTS students in 2016 around the time of the release of his album “Southland Mission.” That was when he shared with us his love of the American South. More recently, Phil has focused on cultivating his love of gospel music. A major reason gospel has spoken so deeply to Phil is his coming to know Sister Perry.
This inaugural Soil to Soul Series is dedicated to the friendship of Phil Cook & Sister Perry.