The Fisk Jubilee Singers’ Songbook (1878)

The African American musical ensemble called the Fisk Jubilee Singers were so popular during their stay in Germany in 1877 that they published a songbook for audiences to purchase. Meant to be sung in the comfort of one’s home, the songbook featured popular spirituals and other hymnals translated into German for German consumers.

Below you will find both the German translation of one of their most popular songs, “Steal Away to Jesus” in 1878 and the original version published in the United States in 1873. What are some differences between the two versions? What also remains the same in the German translation?

Jubilee Singers Ruf zu Jesu
“Ruf zu Jesu,” 1878 – Songbook located in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Fisk Jubilee Singers_Steal Away_ English“Steal Away to Jesus,” 1873