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The appropriation of Vodun song genres for christian worship in the Benin Republic

Baker, Robert John (2012)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Songs from the vodún religion are being appropriated for use in Christian worship in Benin. My research looks into how this came to be, the perceived risks involved and why some Christians are reluctant to use this music. It also looks at the repertoire and philosophy of churches which are using vodún genres and the effect this has upon their mission. For my research, I interviewed church musicians, pastors, vodún worshippers and converts from vodún to Christianity. I also recorded examples of songs from both contexts as well as referring to appropriate literary sources.

My results show that the church versions of the songs significantly resemble the original vodún ones and that it is indeed possible to use this music in church without adverse effects. Doing so not only demystifies the vodún
religion, but also brings many converts to Christianity from vodún through culturally authentic worship songs. The research is significant as this is a current phenomenon, unresearched until now. My findings contribute to the fields of missiology and ethnomusicology by addressing issues raised in existing literature. It will also allow the Beninese church and those in similar situations worldwide to understand this phenomenon more clearly.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Barber, Karin and Anderson, Allan
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of History and Cultures
Subjects:BL Religion
BR Christianity
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3158
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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