Missa Luba; 10 Kenyan Folk Melodies

Muungano National Choir

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Missa Luba; 10 Kenyan Folk Melodies Review

by Adam Greenberg

Out of the tradition of composers contriving new forms for the Catholic mass, Boniface Mganga of Kenya conceived of Missa Luba, a Catholic mass with the interlocking polyrhythmic vocals native to Kenya, as well as the addition of various African drums, hosho rattles, bells, and the like. The first five songs on the album are beautifully moving renditions of the major portions of a mass ceremony, performed by the Muungano National Choir of Kenya. After the mass ceremony, various folk melodies of Kenya are also performed by the choir, mostly of a devotional nature, with similar interlocking vocal patterns. When one thinks of the stereotypical East African vocal sound, post-colonialism, this is the sound that comes to mind, and for a good reason: it's beautiful, through both its clarity and its power.

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