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Blaan Worship Music

posted Aug 3, 2010, 7:54 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Aug 3, 2010, 7:57 AM ]

Opening the way for Blaans to use their own cultural music to create their own worship songs for church

A strong evangelical church among the Blaans has been alive since shortly after World War II. Churches began as small gatherings. Today some churches number over one hundred. Congregations have sent out members to begin new 'daughter' churches.

Hundreds of churches throughout South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces in the southern Philippines use Blaan Scriptures and enjoy the music of worship. The music they use today is translated western hymns. Our dream is to see traditional Blaan music used for worshiping God.

Blaans love music. Church gatherings begin with choruses, used to call others to the gathering. Youth rallies, women's conferences, and other gatherings often include singing contests. Special music is often a part of worship services.

The future of the Blaan church is strong. Young families are a vital part of the church. Children and young people continue to have a keen interest in church activities. Many young people go to Bible school to strengthen their faith and aid in church leadership.

Encouraging Use of Traditional Music
Blaans will gather June 29th through July 2nd to learn how to create their own worship music using their own traditional music. Mostly they just need to be shown that their traditional music is valid for worship. Working with them to create a few songs in the workshop will, hopefully encourage to continue creating worship music on their own. An ethnomusicologist will lead the time. We hope to see a number of new; refreshingly "Blaan" songs come into existence as a result.

Here is an amazing fact: Blaan is the 5th most used language of worship in the Philippines, outnumbered only by the major languages like Tagalog and Cebuano. There are hundreds of churches that use Blaan in their worship services, and singing is a big part of this.

Many Bible conferences or large gatherings include a singing contest. Until now, almost all their songs are translated western hymns and choruses, in particular the familiar hymns most of us grew up with like "To God be the Glory", "Trust and Obey" and "Higher Ground". The older people often cannot sing the translated western songs because they don't know how to handle the eight-note scale. Their traditional music sounds more like a chant or music sung on just a few notes. To our western ears it sounds a bit odd, but when Blaans hear it they get excited. Our desire is to see Blaans enabled through this training to create their own songs for worship. Songs that will speak to their hearts in a new way, increasing their depth of worship.

Sally's role in the music workshop will be as interpreter for the leader, Glenn Stallsmith, and to help with questions of spelling. Glenn is a highly trained ethnomusicologist.

Consider praying daily for us during the time we are in the Philippines, June 26th until July 16th. Pray especially during the days of the music workshop, June 28th to July 2nd. May God bless you for this gift of prayer. God only knows what gain for the Kingdom your prayers can bring.