For over twenty years Lemuel Sheppard has been presenting concerts with performances in Brazil, South Africa, and at The Kennedy Center for the performing arts. He has performed under the funding auspices of ; UNESCO, USIA, Arts America, and the US Embassy. In 1979 Lemuel appeared in a CBS Special Segment titled Pioneers in Black Music with Eva Jessey, the original choral director for George Gershwin’s folk opera “Porgy and Bess”
Sheppard was inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in 2003.
In 2007 he was the recipient of the Joan O’Bryan award from the Kansas Folklore Society.
Sheppard was asked to compose and perform the soundtrack to the PBS documentary "Black, White & Brown"
"Thanking you for a wonderful year of touring for our company
we appreciated so very much all of the great shows, the professional way you did them, and all the extra miles and efforts on some of the weeks. I would hope we could do another tour in the future."
The Bureau of Lectures
The Eisteddfod International Music Festival in South Africa referred to Lemuel as “An example in international and inter-cultural relations."
"The perfect touring artist'
US Embassy Brasil
"Lem has been traveling the world teaching them about us, and traveling the country teaching us about ourselves."
Elgin Community College,
"You have an open invitation to play here anytime"
Lemuel Sheppard Guitar , Banjo, Vocals
1994 Brimstone Cooler
1994 KTWU Sunflower Journeys ( Public Television)
1999 Kennedy Center Millennium Concert Series (live concert available to view on line)
1999 Mix on the Fly (Compilation from 90.5 WCBE Columbus Ohio)
2004 Sound Track to PBS documentary "Black White& Brown
2005 Urbanfolk(Listen at cdbaby.com/lemuels
Students get history lessons via music
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Students get history lessons via music Thursday, February 9, 2012 BY TINA PAPPAS STAFF WRITER P...Students get history lessons via music
Thursday, February 9, 2012
BY TINA PAPPAS
Passaic Valley Today
Pages: 1 2 > display on one page | Print | E-mail WOODLAND PARK – The students of Charles Olbon School were treated to a very special guest recently. Lemuel Sheppard brought his very special brand of folk music mixed with historical references to the school as a precursor for Black History Month.
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Pictured is Lemuel Sheppard, a singer musician who came to entertain the students of Charles Olbon School. Sheppard talked about certain folk songs that were born out of the Civil War period, including their historical significance, as a precursor to Black History Month. Sheppard has been entertaining and informing audiences for 25 years. During his performance, he played several folk songs and talked about the history behind them, when he visited the school on Jan. 27.
"Had it not been for the Civil War, we would not have many of these songs, like 'The Rowing Song,'" said Sheppard, right before he began to play "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore."
"Everyone on the boat would sing this together as they rowed," he told the students. During the song, students chimed in and clapped.
The song was first noted during the Civil War and was sung by freed slaves who rowed in boat across Station Creek at St. Helena Island of the coast of South Carolina, according to the book "Poems from the Battlefield," by Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt.
"People are still writing about the Civil War, including the 'Underground Railroad,' which had to do with slaves running away to go north where they would be free," Sheppard explained. "There were many people that helped hide slaves during the day so that they'd run at night, including the plight of Tice Davis, who was a runaway being pursued by his owner. The song 'Follow the Drinking' Gourd,' was about following the stars to the Big Dipper during their travels at night. It would lead them to the North Star and guide them to freedom."
Sheppard then switched his acoustic guitar and brought out a banjo.
"The banjo is a truly American instrument, however, there have been different version of it in other countries around the world," he noted, as he began to play snippets of "Amazing Grace," "Pop Goes the Weasel," and "The Corn Song," on the banjo. He made the students get up and move around by re-enacting 'The Rowing Song,' including other tunes, where they had to mimic Sheppard's moves.
Sheppard then explained to students that during Civil War times, many families and friends were fighting each other on opposite sides of the war. He depicted battle scenes where a cease fire would bring on songs and music from opposing side, and thus, a battle of the bands would ensue.
"Many songs would describe feelings of wanting to go home, which inspired the folk song 'Home Sweet Home,'" he said. "A lot of blues and jazz stems back to this time.
The music originally has its roots in West Africa."
Sheppard then ended the program by explaining to that in the Civil War years, many people would say "Take Time In Life" when they really didn't want to say good-bye.
"So, 'take time in life' boys and girls!" he proclaimed, to close the show.
Afterwards, Sheppard reflected on his love of historical folk music.
"It started when I was in college when I was a saxophone major," he added. "I played guitar as well and started performing at schools for fun. I enjoy American folk music and interpreting the history relative to a particular song. With folk music, I believe it is history. I always try to make it age appropriate."
Linda Dewey, principal, said the performance was invaluable in teaching about Black History Month.
"We all enjoyed Lemuel Sheppard's performance for our Black History Month assembly. His songs were great."
Students Learn the Songs of War
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Students learn the songs of war By KLINT SPILLER email@example.com Washington Elementary S...Students learn the songs of war
By KLINT SPILLER
Washington Elementary School students got a special treat at the end of the day Friday.
Folk artist Lem Sheppard from Pittsburg performed an educational concert about slavery and the Civil War for the students in the gym.
Using a guitar and banjo, Sheppard played songs, such as "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "John Brown's Body" and "Take Time in Life."
Sheppard explained to the children how folk songs developed during that time and how slaves would sing songs to help them work.
"When people heard songs they hadn't heard before, they started writing them down," he said. "Everyone all over was writing down these songs during the Civil War."
He also spoke about the Fugitive Slave Act, which was passed by Congress in 1850 requiring runaway slaves to be brought back to their masters.
"Slaves were running away, and they were escaping," Sheppard said. "That was a big deal, because when they ran away, that was (the slave owner's) money."
The Underground Railroad helped runaway slaves avoid capture, and Sheppard told the students how "Follow the Drinking Gourd" helped slaves find their way north.
"The song didn't say look for the North Star," he said. "The song didn't say look for the moss. It was all a secret. You had to learn this song, and then learn all of the secrets to the song."
The Civil War separated the country, and Sheppard showed that division with the song "Home Sweet Home."
During the night prior to the Second Battle of Murfreesboro, the bands in the Union and Confederate camps battled each other playing music from their respective camps.
When neither band could come up with anymore music, they both played "Home Sweet Home" and the soldiers from each camp sang the song.
"They were going to wake up in the morning and have a battle, but for that one moment, they were all singing the same song together."
Traditional American Folk
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