“Simple Gifts” is the most famous of the many Shaker songs. The American composer Aaron Copland used a variation of Simple Gifts in his music for the ballet Appalachian Spring. English songwriter and poet Sydney Carter used the theme in “Lord of the Dance” and it can be found in different forms in many Christian hymnals.
The Shakers were a religious group derived from the Quakers. The Shakers fled from religious persecution in England to the American colonies in the late 1700’s.
Today there are only a handful of original Shakers left. However, there are still several Shaker villages around the country you can visit and learn about the simple Shaker life.
The Shakers are best known today for their simple and useful arts and craft designs. Examples of which can be commonly found through out the world. (Examples here of Shaker design is the oval box pictured above and the chair and desk pictured below).