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28 October 2014

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You are in: Dorset > Abolition > Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

It's a familiar hymn, but did you know the creator of Amazing Grace was involved in trading slaves? To mark the 200th anniversary of the trade's abolition, BBC South has recorded a special version of the song.

To mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the Slave Trade BBC South have recorded a special version of Amazing Grace - the anthemic song written by John Newton, a reformed slave trader.

BBC Radio Solent, BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Southern Counties Radio and BBC Radio Oxford have joined forces to re-record the track.

Performing Amazing Grace

Performing Amazing Grace

The song features contributions from artists across the region including Southampton-based Aaron Soul, as well as Vula Malinga, who is best known for her work with Basement Jaxx. 

Producer Al Siesta brought the performances together: "People really knew what they were doing and sang really well - big respect to everyone."

Ebba Sifly and her friends from Southampton University's Afro-Caribbean Society got involved as a spur of the moment decision, but she was thrilled with the final song:

"It has a personal message for everyone involved.  Whether you've got ancestors in slavery or whether you've been brought up in the church, it features heavily in most people's lives."

Listen to the final version of Amazing Grace:

John Newton

Amazing Grace was written by John Newton - a sea captain who worked in the Slave Trade in Sierra Leone.

Newton repented his past as a slave captain and became an evangelical preacher.

Anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce later claimed him to be an inspiration - instrumental in providing him with the impetus to stay in politics and fight the trade. 

The tune may have come from songs sung by slaves and has become an anthem for gospel choirs in the English-speaking world and just one of the hidden legacies of slavery

Full list of performers:

Oxford Gospel Choir, Rap artist - Jukie (Southampton), Vula Malinga (Basement Jaxx) and Southampton University African Carribean Society singers

Soloist - Aaron Soul (Southampton)

Aaron plus Berkshire & Brighton choirs
Plus Martin & Sharon Chenge & Lilli Ericson

Berkshire soloist
Portsmouth & Brighton choirs

RAP - Jukie

Rachel Oke solo
Southampton & Berkshire all

Vula Malinga and Southampton University African Caribbean Society singers

last updated: 04/03/2008 at 14:02
created: 22/03/2007

Have Your Say

What do you think of the BBC South version of Amazing Grace?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.


michael bantin

hayley jones
rachael is an absolute star! were all really proud! xxx

my name is sammy boi
rachel oke is amazing!

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