Making Congregational Music Local in Christian Communities Worldwide: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Making Congregational Music Local in Christian Communities Worldwide

1st Edition

Edited by Monique M. Ingalls, Muriel Swijghuisen Reigersberg, Zoe C. Sherinian


278 pages | 19 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-12-20
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What does it mean for music to be considered local in contemporary Christian communities, and who shapes this meaning? Through what musical processes have religious beliefs and practices once ‘foreign’ become ‘indigenous’? How does using indigenous musical practices aid in the growth of local Christian religious practices and beliefs? How are musical constructions of the local intertwined with regional, national or transnational religious influences and cosmopolitanisms?

Making Congregational Music Local in Christian Communities Worldwide explores the ways that congregational music-making is integral to how communities around the world understand what it means to be ‘local’ and ‘Christian’. Showing how locality is produced, negotiated, and performed through music-making, this book draws on case studies from every continent that integrate insights from anthropology, ethnomusicology, cultural geography, mission studies, and practical theology. Four sections explore a central aspect of the production of locality through congregational music-making, addressing the role of historical trends, cultural and political power, diverging values, and translocal influences in defining what it means to be ‘local’ and ‘Christian’. This book contends that examining musical processes of localization can lead scholars to new understandings of the meaning and power of Christian belief and practice.


'Inter-disciplinary research projects are difficult to undertake. I want to congratulate the authors in this book for taking up this significant effort of investigating the music making efforts of local Christian communities drawing on methodological parameters both in and beyond their ethnomusicological arena. The resulting effort of crossing boundaries to undertake this work is most admirable and noteworthy.'

Lim Swee Hong, Deer Park Associate Professor of Sacred Music, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto, Canada

Table of Contents

Introduction: Music as local and global positioning: how congregational music-making produces the local in Christian communities worldwide

Monique M. Ingalls, Muriel Swijghuisen Reigersberg and Zoe C. Sherinian

Part I: Engaging musical pasts: continuity and change in congregational song practices

1 The saints who sing and dance: enchanting subjunctive visions in Southeast Brazil

Suzel Ana Reily

2 Indigenizing Navajo hymns: explaining the fame of Elizabeth and Virginia

Kimberly Jenkins Marshall

3 Give us a piece of that Old Time Religion: why mainline Protestants are (re)claiming an evangelical musical heritage

Deborah Justice

Part II: Congregational music and the politics of indigeneity

4 Song as gift and capital: intercultural processes of indigenization and spiritual transvaluation in Yolngu Christian music

Fiona Magowan

5 Performing glocal liturgies: the Second Vatican Council and musical inculturation in East Africa

Nicholas Ssempijja

6 Inculturation, institutions, and the creation of a localized congregational repertoire in Indonesia

Marzanna Poplawska

Part III: Rifts, reconciliation, and coexistence: congregational music-making in the diverse locale

7 Sounds of localisation in South African Anglican church music: some examples of transformation at the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown

Andrew-John Bethke

8 Secular-sacred interface: The Lisu farmer chorus and the cultural politics of representation of minority culture in Yunnan’s Northwestern Nujiang Prefecture

Diao Ying

9 Interreligious music networks: capitalizing on Balinese gamelan

Dustin D. Wiebe

PART IV: Christian musical cosmopolitanisms: producing the local across racial and national lines

10 Congregational song and musical ‘accommodation’ in a South African Lutheran parish

Laryssa Whittaker

11 Mediating racial and spiritual difference in Harlem: Cocolo Japanese Gospel Choir and Convent Avenue Baptist Church

Marti Newland

12 Sonic citizenship: rites and rights of belonging in Ireland

Helen Phelan

Afterword: On the anthropology of Christianity, the complexity of the local, and the study of Christian Congregational Music in global perspective

Joel Robbins

About the Editors

Monique M. Ingalls is Assistant Professor of Music at Baylor University. Her research explores the effects of recent social, cultural, and technological change on evangelical and charismatic Christian congregational music-making in North America and beyond. She has co-editor several books on Christian congregational music topics and is co-founder and Series Editor of Routledge’s Congregational Music Studies Series.

Muriel Swijghuisen Reigersberg is a research development manager (strategy) and visiting fellow at the Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, Australia. She holds a doctorate in applied ethnomusicology. Her research has focussed on Australian Aboriginal Lutheran choral singing, applied research, the anthropology of Christianity, ethics and the relationship between music, health and well-being. She has published several book chapters and articles in her field focussing on Australian Aboriginal choral singing and constructs of identity through performance.

Zoe C. Sherinian isAssociate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Oklahoma. She is author of the book Tamil Folk Music As Dalit Liberation Theology (Indiana University Press, 2014) and producer of the documentary film This Is A Music: Reclaiming An Untouchable Drum, which won the University of Oklahoma’s Outstanding Research Impact Award. Her journal publications include articles in Ethnomusicology, Worlds of Music, Women and Music, and Religion Compass. She has received numerous grants to make her next documentary film on women parai drummers and their syncretic ritual practices at the Sakthi Folk Cultural Centre.

About the Series

Congregational Music Studies Series

Congregational music-making is a vital and vibrant practice within Christian communities worldwide. Music can both unite and divide: at times, it brings together individuals and communities across geographical and cultural boundaries while, at others, it divides communities by embodying conflicting meanings and symbolizing oppositional identities. Many factors influence congregational music in its contemporary global context, posing theoretical and methodological challenges for the academic study of congregational music-making. Increasingly, coming to a robust understanding of congregational music's meaning, influence, and significance requires a mixture of complementary approaches. Including perspectives from musicology, religious and theological studies, anthropology and sociology of religion, media studies, political economy, and popular music studies, this series presents a cluster of landmark titles exploring music-making within contemporary Christianity which will further Congregational Music Studies as an important new academic field of study.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Ethnomusicology
MUSIC / Religious / Christian
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Christianity / General