Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Musical instruments and the lotu

This is my pet topic and has been for most of my life - how to energise Christian church worship with appropriate, relevant, exciting music and it has been an uphill battle. One evening -in Geelong - I joked to an elderly lady - 'They should put a bomb under the pipe organ' and a horrified look crossed her face! I will write more about music in Geelong in our other blog geelong-visual-diary.

Okay I'm not going to give you a thesis about Fijian church music - though I've written papers on it, but the subject has risen again at the Methodist Conference in Bau. It's because traditional four-part harmony, unaccompanied, has been the norm since the 1890s, though earlier the same (psalm/story/lament/Christian narrative) and taro (questions and answers) were in the vucu style of chant.

In the Fiji Times today:
Church to look at role of musicJONA BOLA
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Methodist research group will be established to research the use of musical instruments in the Bible and it's relevance to the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma. The decision was made after questions were raised on whether there was a need for the church to use musical instruments during church services at the annual Methodist Church conference in the chiefly island of Bau.

A delegate at the meeting said youths were being greatly influenced to use musical instruments during worship and that the issue should be looked at from all perspectives.

Delegates had contradicting ideas about the issue….etc.

The subject can be volatile because older people may not like noisy bands, and young people often do. Some of the American-style of churches in Fiji are attracting many people with their energy, musical styles, etc.

Of course the Methodist Church in Fiji is not just ethnic Fijians and in the Indian Division musical instruments are used - e.g. organ/piano, guitar, etc. as well as the harmonium, dhola, tabla, and other Indian percussion instruments. Here is a picture of a Fijian young man singing qawali style with a group of youth in Labasa a few years ago. I would like to see the day when more Fijians sing bhajan and qawali style of music.


Pandabonium said...

In Japan, Buddhist temples do have Sunday services and there is no music in services. However, when agricultural workers moved to Hawaii and parts of the Americas a century ago and started temples, they gradually adopted similar service patterns as Christian churches. So by the 1930s there was typically an organist, "gathas", which are Buddhist poems, have became songs which were put into a book, and sometimes there are choirs.

I like music in religious services (I've played in brass choirs in Christian churches many times for special services), and like to see inovation in that area. Kids especially enjoy a change and having newer ways of expressing themselves.

I have a problem though when it comes to those "big box" churches we see in the USA now which IMHO go overboard with and come off looking like a commercial entertainment enterprise rather than a place of worship. (Especially when the minister drives off in a $100,000 car).

So I guess I'm for what ever the congregation can relate to as long as it doesn't overshadow the purpose of the gathering - whatever the religion.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I will write a few different posts - probably in the geelong blog because it is a huge subject and I've had a lot to do with church music over the years.

About those mega-churches - well, yes, it's a concert atmosphere, and doesn't have authenticity when you know where the money's going.

And don't get me wrong - that I have an exclusive view regarding spirituality. I really like Sufi music, twirling dervishes, and a diversity of music that has a spiritual focus or is uplifting - or grounded - in some way.

I was at an Interfaith women's group yesterday where we listen with respect to one another, but then one woman, a doctor, told the story of a Jehovah's Witness family who refused to save a child with a donation of blood and suddenly some of us immediately became judgemental until one woman, said, 'Hey, stop judging those people. Respect their view too.' So it gets complicated trying to be respectful to other religious views.

Online Klavier Lernen said...

I can prepare the equipment for you to test. There are some speakers and wires that need to get in place.