The Kuumba Singers were organized in November 1970 as a channel through which black students could direct their creative energies. The group was established at a time when black students from Harvard, Radcliffe, and other colleges in the Boston area felt themselves becoming increasingly alienated from one another. The choir served not only as a needed source of unity and strength bringing black students together on a regular basis but also as a source of spiritual inspiration. Today that inspiration, unity and strength extend to all those who believe in what the group represents.
The Swahili word “kuumba,” meaning “to create,” embodies the choir’s mission: to express the creativity and spirituality of black people through song and other art forms such as dance, poetry and spoken word. The Kuumba Singers explore and share the rich musical culture of black people through spirituals, gospel, African folk songs, and contemporary music.
Black music is a manifestation of the black spirit – it speaks to our every emotion. Moreover, black music helps sustain and direct our culture. It reminds us of our past situation in this country, makes us mindful of the present, and gives us hope and guidance for the future.
The choir serves as both a spiritual vessel and as a cultural institution, to educate and inspire the many touched by its musical ministry.