Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Humanities/Philosophies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 31848

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Music Department, Dordt University, Sioux Center, IA 51250, USA
Interests: music and religion; music and philosophy; The Oxford Movement and Cambridge Camden Society; music of the Middle Ages; the music appreciation movement
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Theology & Worship Arts Department, Dordt University, Sioux Center, IA 51250, USA
Interests: global ecclesial practices; global evangelical liturgical theology; Christian church in Minority Contexts; issues affecting contemporary worship
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The focus of this Special Issue is language translation in the process of localizing religious musical practice. As an alternative to related concepts (such as contextualization and indigenization), musical localization is presented by ethnomusicologists Monique Ingalls, Muriel Swijghuisen Reigersberg, and Zoe Sherinian in Making Congregational Music Local in Christian Communities Worldwide (Routledge, 2018) as an effective way to account for the complex, diverse, and shifting ways in which religious communities embody what it means to be local through their musical practices: “Musical localization is the process by which Christian communities take a variety of musical practices – some considered ‘indigenous,’ some ‘foreign,’ some shared across spatial and cultural divides; some linked to past practice, some innovative – and make them locally meaningful and useful in the construction of Christian beliefs, theology, practice, and identity.” (13)

This Special Issue offers a venue to explore different motivations that prompt language translation in a musical localization process as well as various approaches that can be adopted. We welcome submissions of original research from diverse disciplinary approaches, i.e., from ethnomusicology, historical musicology, religious and theological studies, sociology of religion, post/de-colonial studies, anthropology, communication and media studies, etc. For example:

  • Critical literature reviews examining the role of language translation in the evolution of local religious musical practice.
  • Ethnographies or autoethnographies exploring uses of language translation in the localization efforts of a single community.
  • Historical analyses of language translation in localizing religious musical practice.
  • Thematic analyses of interviews conducted with church musicians about their understanding of language translation in localizing religious musical practice.

Dr. John MacInnis
Dr. Jeremy Perigo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

 

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • music
  • religion
  • localization
  • translation
  • Christianity

Published Papers (11 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research

4 pages, 181 KiB  
Editorial
Introduction to Special Issue “Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice”
by John MacInnis
Religions 2022, 13(9), 787; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13090787 - 26 Aug 2022
Viewed by 892
Abstract
The inspiration and starting place for this Special Issue was the book Making Congregational Music Local in Christian Communities Worldwide (Routledge 2018), edited by Monique Ingalls, Muriel Swijghuisen Reigersberg, and Zoe Sherinian [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

12 pages, 278 KiB  
Article
Liberationist Perspectives on the Misa Criolla by Ariél Ramírez
by Adán Alejándro Fernández
Religions 2022, 13(3), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030189 - 22 Feb 2022
Viewed by 2445
Abstract
The Misa Criolla by Ariel Ramirez is a symbol of liberation theology in South America. Written between 1963–1964, this musical work is the result of the decisions made on the sacred liturgy at Vatican II and the Indigenous Movements of the 1960s and [...] Read more.
The Misa Criolla by Ariel Ramirez is a symbol of liberation theology in South America. Written between 1963–1964, this musical work is the result of the decisions made on the sacred liturgy at Vatican II and the Indigenous Movements of the 1960s and 1970s. It became popular around the world and helped bring attention to the indigenous poor of South America through its indigenization of the Roman Catholic Mass text and music directly after the Second Vatican Council. The Misa Criolla, however, can only be fully appreciated by understanding its process of localization, from its historical context, theological underpinnings to its musical attributes. From a liberationist perspective, it represents the compromise of the openness, liturgically and theologically, of Vatican II and more conservative movements afterwards through the localization of the Catholic Mass liturgy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
15 pages, 328 KiB  
Article
Singing the “Wondrous Story” in Portuguese: The First Official Brazilian Baptist Hymnal, Cantor Cristão
by Maria Monteiro
Religions 2022, 13(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010018 - 25 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2472
Abstract
This paper discusses the history of Cantor Cristão, the first official Brazilian Baptist hymnal, published in 1891, revealing important aspects of the development of Protestant hymnody in Brazil. It also exposes a web of long-distance connections, multiple linguistic and cultural elements, and [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the history of Cantor Cristão, the first official Brazilian Baptist hymnal, published in 1891, revealing important aspects of the development of Protestant hymnody in Brazil. It also exposes a web of long-distance connections, multiple linguistic and cultural elements, and distinct perspectives of those who chose to do missionary work and those who chose to welcome them. More specifically, I describe and reflect on the contributions of Solomon L. Ginsburg, an Orthodox Jew from Poland, converted to Christianity in England, and turned Evangelical missionary, who played a crucial role in the history of Cantor Cristão as publisher, author, and translator of hymns. In my analysis, I adopt a historical ethnomusicological perspective and utilize the concept of musical localization, as well as the complementary notions of negotiation of proximity and ethics of style as interpretative lenses. I am drawn to a more nuanced view of the legacy of the mission enterprise, one that is not blind to issues of power, ethnocentrism, and wealth, but makes room for a robust examination of all sorts of capital transfers and investments (economic, cultural, and social), and the real phenomena of musical localization and individual agency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
15 pages, 5324 KiB  
Article
Sur-Sangam and Punjabi Zabur (Psalms 24:7–10): Messianic and Missiological Perspectives in the Indian Subcontinent
by Eric Sarwar
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1116; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121116 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 5377
Abstract
How does the local raga-based music setting of Psalm 24:7–10 become associated with Christian identity in an Islamic context? How does Psalm 24 strengthen the faith of the marginalized church and broaden messianic hope? In what ways does Psalm 24:7–10 equip local Christians [...] Read more.
How does the local raga-based music setting of Psalm 24:7–10 become associated with Christian identity in an Islamic context? How does Psalm 24 strengthen the faith of the marginalized church and broaden messianic hope? In what ways does Psalm 24:7–10 equip local Christians for missional engagement? This paper focuses on the convergence of the local raga-based musical concept of sur-sangam and the revealed text of Punjabi Psalms/Zabur 24:7–10. It argues that while poetic translated text in Punjabi vernacular remains a vital component of theological pedagogy, local music expresses the emotional voice that (re)assures of the messianic hope and mandates missional engagement in Pakistan. Throughout the convergence, musical, messianic, and missional perspectives are transformed to a local phenomenon and its practice is perceived in a cross-cultural connection. Furthermore, examining the text and tune of Punjabi Zabur (Psalms) 24:7–10 in the Indo-Pak context may stretch the spectrum of religious repertoire in the contemporary intercultural world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 2355 KiB  
Article
The Liturgical Usage of Translated Gregorian Chant in the Korean Catholic Church
by Eun Young Cho, Hayoung Wong and Zong Woo Geem
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1033; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121033 - 23 Nov 2021
Viewed by 3619
Abstract
For centuries, Gregorian chant has served as a monophonic song written for the religious services of the Roman Catholic Church, but Korean Catholics first encountered this chant in the early nineteenth century. Korean Catholics ultimately became more attracted to the Korean translations of [...] Read more.
For centuries, Gregorian chant has served as a monophonic song written for the religious services of the Roman Catholic Church, but Korean Catholics first encountered this chant in the early nineteenth century. Korean Catholics ultimately became more attracted to the Korean translations of these chants, as opposed to the original Latin versions. This article introduces some issues related to the language translation of Gregorian chant, especially for chants performed in Holy Week. The issues include discrepancies in the number of syllables, shifts in melismatic emphasis, difficult diction in vocalization, briefer singing parts because of space limitations, challenging melodic lines, and translation losses from neumes to modern notes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 230 KiB  
Article
Beyond Translated vs. Indigenous: Turkish Protestant Christian Hymnody as Global and Local Identity
by Jeremy Perigo
Religions 2021, 12(11), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110905 - 20 Oct 2021
Viewed by 2068
Abstract
At Turkey’s first national worship conferences in 2011, a passionate debate arose on whether Western music or indigenous Turkish music was most appropriate for worship. Some Turks felt that the Western missionaries were imposing indigenous musics on Turks as a type of “reverse [...] Read more.
At Turkey’s first national worship conferences in 2011, a passionate debate arose on whether Western music or indigenous Turkish music was most appropriate for worship. Some Turks felt that the Western missionaries were imposing indigenous musics on Turks as a type of “reverse colonization”. They felt that the current Western musical styles were best for worship. One Turk stated, “the saz is being forced down our throats”. Other Turks felt liberated to sing and play songs in traditional Turkish musical styles. The debate at the conference highlights the desire of missionaries and Turks to see renewal in congregational hymnody. Nevertheless, the Western vs. indigenous Turkish music debate reduces complex historical, musical, and liturgical issues into a divisive binarism. Using hymns sung in corporate worship in Turkey as a source, I will analyze here the quantity of musical localization in Turkish Protestant worship seeking to present musical localization as a lens to examine Turkish Christian liturgical identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
10 pages, 238 KiB  
Article
A “Sloppy Wet Kiss”? Intralingual Translation and Meaning-Making in Contemporary Congregational Songs
by Daniel Thornton
Religions 2021, 12(10), 874; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100874 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2707
Abstract
Translation as a form of music localization does not only occur in diverse cultural or lingual contexts, it also occurs within an ostensibly homogenous culture and language. The global genre of contemporary congregational songs (CCS) is written and performed through a variety of [...] Read more.
Translation as a form of music localization does not only occur in diverse cultural or lingual contexts, it also occurs within an ostensibly homogenous culture and language. The global genre of contemporary congregational songs (CCS) is written and performed through a variety of theological lenses. Sometimes a theological position conveyed in, or ascribed to, CCS can be problematic for certain local expressions of the Christian faith to replicate without needing to alter lyrics, and/or musical content, or at least reinterpret those lyrics in a way which aligns with their theological understanding. This article explores popular CCS, as measured by Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) which have been either accepted, rejected, reinterpreted, or otherwise altered in order to play their part in defining local (English-speaking) church worship and identity. Translation studies and music semiology are applied to selected CCS to demonstrate this nuanced interpretation of “translation” in the localizing of religious musical practice Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
17 pages, 510 KiB  
Article
Strengthening Christian Identity through Scripture Songwriting in Indonesia
by Matt Connor and Matt Menger
Religions 2021, 12(10), 873; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100873 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 2552
Abstract
Bible translation and indigenous hymnody have always been important parts of the localization of the Christian faith. In this study, we describe how local songwriters creating songs with lyrics based on translated scriptures play a vital role in the process of localization in [...] Read more.
Bible translation and indigenous hymnody have always been important parts of the localization of the Christian faith. In this study, we describe how local songwriters creating songs with lyrics based on translated scriptures play a vital role in the process of localization in Christian communities in Indonesia. We focus primarily on thirty-nine scripture songwriting workshops that we and our colleagues conducted over the past six years in Indonesia, as well as ongoing interactions we had with communities in Ambon and Central Sulawesi. We begin with a literature review to establish the influences which shaped our songwriting workshops and our motivation for conducting them, and then we describe the workshops themselves and the process of musical localization that took place. Throughout the study, we highlight the role of local agency, the importance of fusion genres, and the creation of unique Christian identities through the localization of music. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
Show Figures

Figure 1

9 pages, 2611 KiB  
Article
“Translated” or “Transformed”: The Use of Western Hymns in the Evangelization of the Lisu of Southwest China
by Aminta Arrington
Religions 2021, 12(9), 772; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090772 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1846
Abstract
Translated western hymns have a bad reputation in missiology. The term “translated” seems to convey a less than authentic expression of Christian faith. However, that was not how it happened when the Lisu of southwest China were evangelized by missionaries from the China [...] Read more.
Translated western hymns have a bad reputation in missiology. The term “translated” seems to convey a less than authentic expression of Christian faith. However, that was not how it happened when the Lisu of southwest China were evangelized by missionaries from the China Inland Mission in the 1920s and 1930s. The Lisu people exerted much more agency over their translated western hymns than the term “translated” implies. While the kernel of melody and message remained intact, four-part harmonies replaced unison singing. A cappella replaced piano or organ accompaniment. Phrases meaningful in a Victorian context were transformed into phrases meaningful in a Lisu mountain context. Abstract theological terms were replaced by concrete phrases. Western rhyming schemes were laid aside and Lisu poetic couplets were used instead. The end result is that in the everyday arena, in the practical living out of what it means to be a Christian for a communal and still largely oral-preference people such as the Lisu, the Lisu Christian hymns are the centerpiece of worship and devotion, of prayer and penitence. In other words, in the process of cross-cultural transmission, the Lisu hymns were not so much translated, as they were transformed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
18 pages, 317 KiB  
Article
Transnational and Translational Aspects of Global Christian Congregational Musicking
by Marcell Silva Steuernagel
Religions 2021, 12(9), 732; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090732 - 7 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1841
Abstract
What happens to a worship song as it crosses geographical, cultural, and theological borders? How does this reallocation modify the role a song performs—and is performed—in context? This essay examines how religious songs that flow along transnational networks are transformed in the process [...] Read more.
What happens to a worship song as it crosses geographical, cultural, and theological borders? How does this reallocation modify the role a song performs—and is performed—in context? This essay examines how religious songs that flow along transnational networks are transformed in the process of localization. It focuses particularly on how translation, conceived of broadly to encompass verbal and non-verbal aspects, happens within these processes. I argue that, while lyric translation remains a core component of these phenomena, it is but one of the multiple processes of localization that occur when a song travels. Throughout such processes, theology is (re)interpreted and songs are performed differently even as local congregations perceive their engagement with these repertoires as a type of connection to broader worshiping networks. Towards this end, it follows “Mighty to Save”, an Australian worship song, on its transnational path to re-localization within the context of Brazilian gospel. Analyses of the lyrical and musical translations and transformations the song is subjected to can shed further light upon the complex dynamic of transnational flows of religious repertoires in today’s interconnected world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
12 pages, 235 KiB  
Article
Protestant Congregational Song in the Philippines: Localization through Translation and Hybridization
by Glenn Stallsmith
Religions 2021, 12(9), 708; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090708 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3376
Abstract
Historically, the language of Protestant congregational song in the Philippines was English, which was tied to that nation’s twentieth-century colonial history with the United States. The development of Filipino songs since the 1970s is linked to this legacy, but church musicians have found [...] Read more.
Historically, the language of Protestant congregational song in the Philippines was English, which was tied to that nation’s twentieth-century colonial history with the United States. The development of Filipino songs since the 1970s is linked to this legacy, but church musicians have found ways to localize their congregational singing through processes of translation and hybridization. Because translation of hymn texts from English has proven difficult for linguistic reasons, Papuri, a music group that produces original Tagalog-language worship music, bypasses these difficulties while relying heavily on American pop music styles. Word for the World is a Pentecostal congregation that embraces English-language songs as a part of their theology of presence, obviating the need for translation by singing in the original language. Day by Day Ministries, the third case study, is a congregation that translates beyond language texts, preparing indigenous Filipino cultural expressions for urban audiences by composing hybridized songs that merge pre-Hispanic and contemporary forms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
Back to TopTop