For decades in the South of the USA Ethel Caffie-Austin has been called the "First Lady of Gospel Music".
She was born in Alabama as the granddaughter of a slave, so she is deeply rooted in the old songs that she has heard and sung since her childhood. She started to play the piano when she was only six years old and from the age of ten on she directed the choir at her father\'s church. When she was fourteen she organized West Virginia\'s first mass choir, in which she combined singers from ten different congregations.
At college she organised gospel groups at four different state universities and went on tour with them across the United States. Today she still gives Caffie-Austin workshops all over America.
Ethel has received countless distinctions, prizes and honors. Features in Lifestyles, Folk Song Magazine, etc. have been common. Two television documentaries on her work have been broadcast. She has been awarded the "Jefferson Award for Humanity" and the "Brotherhood Award". In 1995 she was elected into the "Commission of Arts and Humanities".
But in spite of all this she can be heard with her own ensemble on all kinds of occasions, sometimes with guests of the caliber of Joan Baez and Kathy Mattea.