Analysis of assimilated elements of contemporary music into traditional worship music in Africa inland church, Mukaa district church council, Makueni, Kenya
KIAMBA, Joseph Ngui
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Worship music is a genre which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with christian faith. Assimilated elements of contemporary music into AIC traditional worship music (TWM) expressions are becoming more popular with modern Christian worship practice. Worshippers show either pleasure and/or discontentment towards these elements of contemporary music such as the use of loud music and popular dance music idioms in what would otherwise be solemn liturgies, a reaction that has triggered schism between the old and young christians. It is this ambivalent reaction to the contemporary worship music that this study purposed to establish by analysing the assimilated elements of contemporary music into traditional worship music in AIC. The specific objectives were: (i) to establish and analyse the characteristic features of traditional worship music, (ii) identify the elements of contemporary popular music (CPM) that have been assimilated into AIC worship service, and (iii) determine the effect of the assimilated elements on the worshippers’ socio-cultural life and level of involvement in the worship service.The study was carried out in Mukaa District Church Council on the assumption that there exists traditional worship music and also, contemporary worship music. The inquiry was limited to congregation and choir songs. The study was guided by the syncretism theory, which was first advanced by Nettl, (1983),who asserts that two musical systems in a state of confrontation have compatible central traits that are becoming acculturated; the culture in either system is superimposed on that of the other with both styles remaining distinct. The theory was expounded by Shitandi, (2010); and Omolo Ongati R. (2002), who assert presence of paradoxical hybridity and, distortions and irregularities in traditional worship music. The study adopted historical and descriptive research designs. A population of 30 churches, with approximately 2000 worshippers, with an average of 60-70 worshippers per church, was targeted; and 20 churches were purposefully sampled and constituted one pastor, one local church council (LCC) elder, one choirmaster, one Christian youth in action, one woman representing Christian women fellowship (CWF), one man representing Christian men fellowship (CMF) and one Christian cadet /Star. This gave rise to a total of 20 pastors, 20 LCC elders, 20 choirmasters, 20 Christian youth in action, 20 CWF, 20 CMF and 20 Christian cadets, totalling to a sample of 140 informants. Face-to-face interview schedules were administered to the pastors, while observation schedules and questionnaires were administered to the christian groups. A pilot survey of 20 churches, which did not form part of the study sample, was done to test the reliability and validity of the instruments. Quantitative Data was analysed using descriptive statistics, while qualitative Data was analysed using thematic statements and representations. The study found that elements of contemporary worship music, have been assimilated and hybridized into AIC worship music effecting a distinctive style in the singing of hymns by the congregation and choirs. It is hoped that the findings of the study will be used to develop the AIC School of Music Curriculum.