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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Just cos I'm black, doesn't mean I'm into bongoes

„Tänze sind gut für den Pfarreisaal aber nicht während der Messe“, erklärte der nigerianische Kurienkardinal Francis Arinze am Rande der Weltbischofssynode und nahm dabei ausdrücklich Bezug auf Afrika: „Man sagt uns »Ihr seid Afrikaner. Folglich liebt ihr das Tanzen. Darum tanzt, tanzt…« Das ist nicht gut.“

I "did" the music for a parish church in Scotland one Easter, and the parish priest outmanoevred me in the matter of a bongo Gloria, because "there are some people from (can't remember where, an African country, which doesn't narrow it down much, does it?) who will take up the offertory, and we did this before and they danced up . . .". Well, I can see that if you had a group of people from somewhere in the parish and they did the music and everything for part of the Mass, it might not be to my taste but nonetheless be acceptable. But for a bunch of Scots to do a version of something from a completely different musical culture, as published by some mainstream "liturgical" music publishing house, is daft. And the women taking up the offertory processed in very classically European dignified style. I cringed. The parish priest is a good thing, but whatever his good intentions were it just seemed horribly patronising. Horrible.