“One of the major characteristics of African Christianity today is the emergence of culturally appropriate music that has breathed vitality into the life of the church…this has come about at a time when scholars are recognising the phenomenal growth of the church in Africa…they note that…this widespread growth is making front page news, especially because the church’s unabated growth means that there is a shift of Christianity into the southern hemisphere.”
If you have been thrilled to listen or perform in African Sanctus by David Fanshaw or been transported by the singing of African groups such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, or by the 2010 World Cup ‘Anthems’, you will have wondered if any of this wonderful music might be available for use in parish worship?
Many songs are passed around aurally or improvised and never appear quite the same. This instinctive style is difficult to write down and reproduce. It is also a style that is sometimes not comfortable for British singers. However, if you are wanting a taste of this style and have singers that can ‘let their hair down’, there are places on the internet where material can be found.
Songs of Africa, Edited by Fred Onovwerosuoke, 22 pieces for mixed voices, OUP
Fred Onovwerosuoke and the St. Louis African Chorus carefully selected the favourite, most requested songs from their workshops, while trying to represent a wide spectrum of Africas regions and cultural practicessongs of spirituality, religion, community, work, and play from Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Benin, South Africa, Namibia, the Gambia, and others. The result is Songs of Africa, a user-friendly resource that will satisfy the hunger for new, diverse choral repertoire. As a performance aid, this exciting collection also includes a pronunciation guide, notes on performance practice and cultural context, and, where accompaniment is needed or suggested, some accessible percussion charts.
Spirituals for Choirs, Ed. Bob Chilcott, OUP
A collection of 20 fresh new spiritual arrangements for SATB choirs. Many of the songs are well-known to most singers, and some are entirely new. There are a range of styles, with a mixture of large- and small-scale pieces, both unaccompanied and accompanied. The collection provides singers with inspirational, moving, and above all, enjoyable repertoire.
African American Heritage Hymnal: 575 Hymns, Spirituals, and Gospel Songs by Delores Carpenter, GIA Publications, September 2001
Lambeth Praise, ed. Geoff Weaver, SCM Canterbury Press