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Measha Brueggergosman: From Opera to the Spiritual

Monday, 30 January 2017 15:18

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore speaks to Canadian Opera star Measha Brueggergosman about her ambitious “Songs of Freedom” Gospel music project.

She has performed in the great halls of the world, alongside the great orchestras, from the TSO to the Berlin Philharmonic. But her latest move sees her lending her soprano voice to the spiritual gospel songbook.

Measha’s classical career has been an international success story, and a musical path she started when she was just 7 years old. But while she excelled at her Operatic craft, she also fell for jazz, specifically the Holly Cole Trio. She grafted the band’s phrasing onto her interpretations of contemporary Christian music Measha would perform at the church she attended in her native New Brunswick.

But Measha Brueggergosman’s musical story has another chapter. Her deep connection to Gospel and African-American spirituals is a result of her Christian faith, and a recognition that her family history is routed in these beautiful songs that yearn for freedom.

Her love of this music has turned into a series of projects that is nothing short of breathtaking it its ambition. The 2015 documentary “Songs of Freedom” follows the singer as she learns about her family history. The film follows her Cameroonian ancestry, her family’s escape from American slavery, and their eventual arrival in Canada. 

Earlier in January, a companion album of the same name was released. Songs of Freedom is the singer’s first major foray outside of the classical world.

She also has a television program that focuses on spirituals. It  broadcasts Fridays in February on Vision TV.

Measha begins a tour to support the recording on Tuesday February 7th in her native Fredericton, making her way to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre on February 12th. Following the tour, Measha will complete her Gospel sojourn with a biography to be released later this year.

Mark Wigmore spoke to Measha Brueggergosman in the JAZZ.FM91 studios.

Songs of Freedom is available now online and in record stores. Visit for more info.

Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore is heard at 8:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays during the JAZZ.FM91 Arts Report. And don’t miss his arts and culture interview and entertainment magazine program, Arts Toronto, Sundays between 8-9 a.m.

To get in touch with Mark it’s

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