Filed Under (Beninese culture, General) by Rob on 26-09-2006

Last Sunday (17th) I preached at another ADC church, this time it was a ‘posh’ one, as it had a tiled floor and proper rafters holding up the roof.

Once again, the singing was great, with a fab Fon choir singing in the usual call and response way, with much dancing and great drumming. This time, though, there was an intriguing clapping rhythm which the folks managed effortlessly (but which I wouldn’t even thing of teaching to any church I may visit in the UK!!!) Here’s what the repeated clapping pattern looked and sounded like:


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Imagine clapping that one along to the latest Matt Redman song!!!

But as well as the usual Fon choir, there was also a modern choir (otherwise known as an ethnomusicologists nightmare!!) They sung quite well, but for me their rendition of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ in English (!?) was a bit of a low point (this is sounding like a Ship of Fools write-up, eh???) What is most interesting is noticing the congregation’s faces as this ‘foreign’ music is performed. Rather than dancing and clapping joyfully, they are all still and almost look bored.

Thankfully, though, there’s no chance of nodding off for long in these churches, as there’s always a ‘prodder’ on duty with a stick to prod anyone who falls asleep. Mmmmm…wonder if that could catch on in the UK.

The only other interesting event in this service was that, whilst clapping along to the complex rhythm of one piece, I actually managed to squash a mosquito which happened (unfortunately for him/her) to be flying between my hands mid-clap!

Thanks for reading. More soon I hope!


Rob et al

4 Comments posted on "Cultural differences…"
Rachel Lewis on September 27th, 2006 at 1:55 pm #

Great to catch up with your blog! Sounds like you’ve really hit the ground running back in Benin.


Sally Metianu on September 28th, 2006 at 10:42 am #

Enjoyed reading about you all.
I tried to find how to get from here to you using Global Earth, but it tells me it can’t tell me how to drive it!!

Rob on September 28th, 2006 at 12:46 pm #

Thanks for your comment, Rachel. I’m just in the process of writing the next ‘Bakers’ Bulletin’ (you’ll be delighted to know!!)

Rob on September 28th, 2006 at 12:52 pm #

Hi Sally,

I would take the M1 south, then the M25 clockwise, M2, then ferry to Calais. From there, just keep heading south ’til you hit the Med, then get a ferry across to North Africa. From there, use your GPS to keep heading south across LOTS of sand and you’ll be in Benin in no time!

PS I wouldn’t try it in a Triumph Stag!!!