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

Baker, Robert John (2012). The appropriation of Vodun song genres for christian worship in the Benin Republic. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.


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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: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity


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