The Muungano National Choir, Nairobi

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Review: Missa Luba

Published: Phillips Digital Classics 426 836-2
Muungano National Choir (Kenya)
Boniface Mganga, director

This reviewer has enjoyed the music of the Missa Luba since first being exposed to it on the album "Missa Luba and Christmas in the Congo" while in seminary some years ago.

The Muungano National Choir of Kenya under the direction of Boniface Mganga has done a wonderful job of recording this piece. The recording is of the highest quality and so is the musicianship.

Missa Luba was written before the Second Vatican Council when Latin was still the official language of the Roman Rite in Africa. This setting combines the ancient Latin text with modified African rhythms and polyphony in a manner that seems to bring out the best in both.

This could be used by educators in several ways. The rhythms and polyphony of the African settings are directly accessible to all ages. Students can see how Latin was used in this adaptation of a musical form from Africa. The tempo has been reduced so that the typical African sounds become more like that of Roman chant. The examples of African music which follow can be used to compare and contrast with those of Missa Luba. One can note the difference in using indigenous languages when it comes to indigenous music.  

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