Obero Drum Hymns:The Obero is a song for the chief. It is usually in praise to the chief but may also praise others in the area. When adapted for a hymn, it continues to be a song for the chief, but in this case, directed upward. Two drummers perform, one beating one drum with two sticks (the smaller drum) and the other beating the larger and one smaller drum with hand and stick.
The Setting:The Field Notes of July 23, 1972 describe the setting of Sunday morning with the Pokwo Church congregation: The congregation sits on the mud floor. The drums are suspended on a stump and played in front of the congregation. The leader stands at the pulpit which is behind the drums. After the missionary has led several Western hymns, the native leader and congregation, accompanied by the drums sing the Obero-type songs followed by the Agwaga type hymns. In this writer’s opinion, the use of Anuak traditional forms in worship has been a most healthy development. Tucker has stated, “If African music is to be used in the churches, it must be applied in African manner, not in European.” A local missionary, Carl Templin said, “The area of the greatest creativity in the Anuak church has been their drum hymns which have all been created by the Anuak churches.”.
The Song:Hymn in Obero form Led by song leader, two men playing three drums, congregation.
The Text:Before we heard anything, we were blind. Our father who is Jesus died. Jesus, the Son of God, you are the head of the earth. All people are praying to Jesus who is the true God. Satan is a robber who cheats you. When Jesus comes, the devil and his children will be chased away. Repeats.