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American composer Carlos Simon releases his "Requiem for the Enslaved" in time for Juneteenth

Terrance Ragland

On Friday 6/17/22 Georgetown University music professor Carlos Simon drops his streaming album “Requiem for the Enslaved” ahead of Juneteenth.

On June 19, 1838, the Jesuit priests who founded Georgetown University sold 272 slaves to Louisiana plantations. Composer Carlos Simon's Requiem for the Enslaved is an artistic response to this event, and is dedicated to these men and women. The work presents the human relationships between the enslaved people, from research Simon gathered from the Georgetown University archives.


Using music, spoken word in hip-hop style, the infusion of African American spirituals and Gregorian chant, and the Catholic liturgical mass structure, Simon hopes to not only reflect "the lives of those enslaved," but also help listeners understand "the lineage of systematic racism," as he told WTOP news.

Read the full WTOP story.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Requiem for the Enslaved' (Part 2)

The work premiered on November 5, 2021 at the Library of Congress, performed by the Hub New Music ensemble with Carlos Simon, along with Marco Pavé (spoken word), Jared Bailey (trumpet), and Ruoting Li (piano).

Listen to the movements of the Requiem for the Enslaved here.