Academic journal article The Hymn

Sing with the World: Global Songs for Children

Academic journal article The Hymn

Sing with the World: Global Songs for Children

Article excerpt

Sing with the World: Global Songs for Children edited by John L. BeU and Alison Adam. Chicago: GIA, 2008. ISBN 9-781579-997366. US $14.95. Accompanying CD, featuring Pro Musica, William Chin, Director. US $16.95.

This is a useful and engaging volume of twenty-four songs and hymns from twenty-three countries. It offers performance notes, suggestions for use in congregational life, recommendations for dance and movement, and pronunciation guides for the original languages. It draws material from many sources, arranged in alphabetical order by country, and includes songs famiUar to North American churches, such as the Caribbean "Halle, Halle, Halle," and "Cantai ao Senhor" from Brazil, as weU as less famiUar material from Asia and Palestine.

The songs from this coUection that I have introduced to my congregation or to Hilariter, my singing ensemble, were readily learned. They vary enormously in mood, theme, and musical texture. They are aU accessible to North American churches, and none are oversimpUfied or condescending to young singers. Some, Uke "Our God is a God who makes friends," from Canadian Mennonite Bryan Moyer Suderman, are aimed at tiie small as much as the taU (to use Suderman's own expression); others, such as "Sizohamba Naye" from Swaziland, might weU be introduced to the whole congregation by a (taUer) youth choir. Many are arranged by John Bell, some draw from the work of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, and stiU others are the arrangements of the original composers.

The translations are, for the most part, very singable. I sometimes find that John BeU places unimportant words on important notes. His translation of "Mungu ni mwema," for example, places the word "that" on the syncopated second note of the repeated melodic phrase, where I would prefer to sing a stronger word. That said, translations are rarely as strong as the original. "Know that God is good" sings easily, and any infelicities in the translation can serve to encourage the use of the original language!

The accompanying recording, a critical part of any such coUection, is performed by Pro Musica, tiie touring ensemble of the Oak Park and River Forest Children's Chorus, whose members are drawn from several west suburban Chicago communities, under the direction of WiUiam Chin. …

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