Tune our Lips to Sing Quartet

A psychogeographic Sacred Harp singing quartet for the 2006 Conflux Festival, September 14, 2006, McCaig-Welles Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.

Founded by Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg. The Quartet is Greg Mulkern, treble; Allison Schofield, alto; Aldo Ceresa, tenor; Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg, bass.

Visit the Tune our Lips to Sing Quartet web site for documentation of the Quartet's singing tours for Conflux.

Tune our Lips to Sing Quartet is an ensemble of Sacred Harp singers. The quartet followed an undetermined route around the city singing songs from the Sacred Harp on pages corresponding with the numbers that members of the quartet see as they walk.

Sacred Harp music is a form of participatory unaccompanied group singing dating back to the mid-1800s that is presently experiencing a revival across the United States. New York City features four active singing groups, including one in Brooklyn.

The music features raw harmony, driving rhythms, and full-throated, full-volume, enthusiastic singing. At its core is the Sacred Harp, a tunebook first published in Georgia in 1844.

At a Sacred Harp singing, participants sit facing inward in a hollow square formation and take turns selecting songs, announcing their choice by calling out a page number from the Sacred Harp. Many singers remember songs by their page number. Over time, these songs again become a part of the landscape. Highway markers, gas prices, and street numbers recall a melody, a text, and a whole host of occasions on which the song was sung.

The Tune our Lips to Sing Quartet renders these hidden associations audible for a general public. At Conflux, the quartet walked around Brooklyn, pausing whenever a street number, license plate, or other number triggered a singer's memory of a song, to sing that song from the Sacred Harp.