How can we value african sacred music ?
  • Hi,
    Africa has a great musical legacy and is also producing a lot of sacred music. Church services are very lively there and choirs sing a lot. That is why the demand for new songs has boosted talent explosion and now we have many songs composed in Africa in both traditional and modern SATB music. My concern now is how possible is it to bring that great music contribution to the world, especially since music education is very limited in Africa ?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Start promoting it yourself. Start a YouTube channel and a blog. Tell everyone what's good and where to get it. Publish sheet music. Seek help if you don't know how to do any of those things.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    I agree with Adam Wood.
    A YouTube channel is probably the fastest way to make known these pieces of music.
    All you need is a video camera and ability to upload.

    we have many songs

    What are these songs like?
    Are they settings of the Mass texts (Proper texts, Ordinary texts)
    or like Hymns or like Praise and Worship ?
  • [reprising my role as "Wet Blanket"]

    Hold on! Given the state of the Church in the West, are we likely to appreciate these pieces for the beautiful oeuvres d'art that they are, or are we likely to see in them the vindication of Haugen, Haas, et al? Are they vernacular texts set to music, or are they in the timeless language of the Church?

    Church services are very lively there


    Is this the standard we use? Seriously?
  • I come awfully close to agreeing with Chris. African music is wonderful. We can best appreciate it by respectfully observing Africans perform it. It is not our music, just as Palestrina and Howells are not theirs. I think that we have broached matters similar to this on other past conversations. We do nothing to redeem our embattled culture by mimicking that of others. That said, African music as done by Africans is a far, far, more legitimate and praiseworthy thing than the musical junk which represents a thoroughly degenerate form of the western musical tradition which is commonplace in our churches. The solution is not importing more stuff that isn't ours into our praxis. We should respect and admire the Africans doing their stuff, and win their respect and admiration by doing our (best -real) stuff. The last thing we need is another cultural fad. (I love my ancient 45rpm recording of the Missa Luba, but please don't do it at our own masses. This would be inherently fake, making a contextual novelty out of something that, in its own milieu, is noble.)
  • "We"? Better watch your back there, Kemo sabe ;-) Anyway I've yet to start at a church where teaching Josquin wasn't "importing more stuff that isn't ours into our praxis". Nor do I buy the idea that one can't do anything meaningful in a second language.

    I first got seriously motivated to start learning while at a Lutheran church where a third of the congregation were Rwandan. Most of the materials at hand were mimeographs and stencils, aside from Siyahamba, Haleluya pelotsarona & Neno lake mungu from my old Unitarian library. Pastor told me about cathedral choirs with enormous repertoires and no books at all: they rehearsed 5 nights per week. If you have a chorister who doesn't look up often enough, don't miss out on the fun of having them imploring you with their eyes for a prompt on something you've taught orally!

    More recently I've had the joy of being coached in Kiswahili by assistant priests at St David's from francophone Africa and more recently from Kenya and Nigeria. To one of them I owe the gift of a hymnal Tumshangilie Bwana (Nairobi 2004) which I still dip into from time to time, especially at our monthly Kenyan Mass.

    If you have a GIA hymnal, you probably have at least a few African hymns in you pews already. If you want to explore further, check out Augsburg Fortress for more Englished pieces, or learn the originals: where I am, that has been a component of our identity as a multilingual choir that sings Latin too.
    Thanked by 1dhalkj
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,050
    I have a choir member who wants to join with every culture but ours, hold hands, and sing "Kum ba Yah." Near Christmas, she approached one of our choir members from Cameroon with the above mentioned in mind and said, "What Christmas music do your people sing in your country?" Our Cameroon original now a U.S. citizen said, "We sing 'O Come All Ye Faithful." It turns out, their church music is far above what we usually find in this country.
  • I agree with the idea of a youtube channel presented by Adam. I'll try to promote the idea towards african musicians who can be part of that. However I think the purpose of my post was not to request the performance of african culture every where, but instead to commune. As CharlesW said O come All Ye Faithful is not african music style but... You can also see how we sing a lot of non african works, especially classical music from composers like Haendel, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, etc.

    During my cultural tour, I was impressed by a choir in Chicago, made of americans, but executing "World Music", that is music from outside America. Another example is the work of Karl Jenkins on his "Song of the Sanctuary" or Adiemus. These and many other cases make me think that african talents can also contribute the global music.

    Many musicians create works for liturgical animation (in african languages and styles as well as in Latin, English, ... and universal harmonization). For instance, I published some of my works in free-scores website and they got appreciated even out of Africa (most especially those in French or Latin).
  • Karl Jenkins, especially when in Latin.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    In addition to Adam's fine advice, you could consider:
    1. Listen to David Fanshawe's "AFRICAN SANCTUS" album and others like it. Then-
    2. Consider whether that "fusion" of European/African traditions could be applied to some of the newer sacred music that is being sung in your regions.
    3. Compare other African choral ensembles such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo's repertoire, as there is a level of sophistication that's obvious to most choral enthusiasts.
  • Hi eft94530. I hope there is no problem with that statement I made concerning my micro works.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • Hi all!

    Found this by accident a few moments ago...perhaps something to look into? There are some hymns in isiXhosa which peaked my interest - I have no clue where to begin! What a find!

    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/Xhosa/hymnal.pdf
  • It's words only, but the tune names Wir pflügen and Lucis creator ring a bell.