I’m so pleased to be back in Africa, where there’s always something to blog about! And last week was no exception…
The workshop, held in Daloa, begun on Wednesday with some teaching on the importance of indigenous song genres, particularly in worship:
After this, our 30 participants split into groups and begun composing new songs, based upon different Psalms. I encouraged them to (i) use local song styles for their songs (ii) choose a genre which would match their song thematically (if possible) and musically and (iii) to use local instruments where available.
There were three different ethnic groups present: The Wobe, the Djimini and the Nyaboa, and each of these groups was divided into two smaller groups, giving us six new songs by the end of the afternoon.
Day two began with more teaching, then a second composing session, and the songs were even better this time round! On Friday, some final teaching on instruments and research, then the afternoon was set aside for practising all the songs composed.
Saturday was recording day, and I set the equipment up at 7:00am, ready to begin recording around 8:00. I sat there until 12:30pm, bringing in each ethnic group to perform and record their songs, using four microphones and a mixing desk. All based upon the Psalms, each song was different and fascinating. I was surprised to hear a lot of indigenous two-part harmonies, and lots of polyphony, not just in the percussion section.
But don’t take my word for it, have a listen yourself!
And here’s one of the Wobe’s songs, based on Psalm 51:9-11:
Finally (my favourite of all), here’s Psalm 137 by the Nyaboa. Wow – listen to that counterpoint!
Interested in finding out more about how an ethnomusicologist runs a song-writing workshop? Read Rob’s book Adventures in Music and Culture.
1 Comment posted on "Composing and Recording New Songs in Ivory Coast"
Geoff Richardson on August 10th, 2014 at 6:41 pm #
I’ve never been to Africa…but these Psalms took me there! thank you!