M&S - MOVERS AND SHAPERS - Title Draft.jpg

Movers & Shapers is a documentary film currently in production.

THE FILM: A real life ‘Canterbury Tales’ set in the 21st century, Movers & Shapers chronicles the idiosyncrasies and varied lives of people who gather around the world to sing shapes. 

THE MOVERS: Separated by geography, class, and ideology, shape-note singers travel extensively by car, cruise line, freight, foot, pedal and plane to arrive at a singing destination.

THE SHAPERS: The singing is more than the notation system of geometric shapes which gives this style of music its name. It is a tradition, a community, shaped by the people who sing it.

THE HARMONY: The music itself is unique (rough hewn, non-instrumental, polyphonic ‘shouting songs’) and so are the diverse and well traveled participants. There is a familial bond between shape-singers despite - or perhaps strengthened by - their myriad of differences. This modest tradition has given way to an enigmatic subculture wherein a striking harmony is sparked between Evangelicals & Atheists, musicians & tone-deaf, traditionalists & radicals, conservatives & progressives, rich & poor, old & young, urbanites & rural folk, strangers & friends.


FEATURED IN ROLLING STONE: ‘In Good Faith,’ provides a glimpse into the world of Movers & Shapers. Song by Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy.)

WILL OLDHAM: In 2017, Will invited the London Sacred Harp Singers to open for him on stage while on tour there. Though he doesn’t regularly attend shape-note singings, he has sung shape-note songs with friends and has a fondness for the tradition and the music. In 2018, Will worked with Tim Morton on the playful video for his upbeat song Blueberry Jam.


THE SACRED HARP: The Sacred Harp is the most widely used song book in the shape-note tradition. Here we pick up where ‘In Good Faith’ leaves off. We follow Nathan Salsburg, curator of the Alan Lomax Archive, as he records a podcast about Sacred Harp Singing.

Listen to Nathan's podcast here. (The featured episode posts soon.)


MANY GENERATIONS: Life-long Sacred Harp Singer Coy Ivey and son Rod at the Ivey farm in Henagar, AL.

NEW LEADERS: Sasha Hsuczyk leads a fuging tune at Liberty Baptist Church.