Wednesday, May 9, 2012

West African Church Music

One of the things I enjoy most about the Presbyterian churches in West Africa is the music.  The early missionaries brought with them hymns from Germany, and later England, and many of them were translated into the local languages.  Over time, some were adapted to the local musical style, while others remained unchanged.  

In worship, there are times when you can even hear the same tune, sung once with organ and formal choir, and sung later with drums and local instruments.  

In the video above, you can watch the Duke Town Parish Choir, from the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria congregation in Duke Town, Calabar, singing an English hymn entitled "Once, Only Once."

Once, only once, and once for all,
His precious life he gave;
Before the cross in faith we fall,
And own it strong to save.

In this video, the same hymn is sung in the Ewe language of Ghana and Togo, in a style of music often called borborbor (or bobobo).

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