FOCUS Page 8 An Agwaga Drum Hymn

08 Track 8.mp3

Agwaga. The Agwaga Drum Hymns typically begin with a reciting or lining out of the text in a kind of "get ready" mode. Then the drums kick in with a powerful forward rhythmic thrust. Three drummers perform, one on the small drum with two sticks, one on another small drum with one stick. And one drummer improvises on the large drum with stick and hand. The Agwagas seem to have a more kingly, grander concept, stressing the worship, praise, and prayer to God.

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: Agwaga Type Hymns: Song leader, three men playing three drums and congregation. Note that the words of the song are sung through slowly at first before singing up-tempo.

The Text: God, who is the greatest father, I’m begging you to send your spirit upon us. I’m calling in your name, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Our Father, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead and went to heaven to God. He will come back to earth. The things which were said by Jesus were written in the Bible. Those who turn from their ways and believe will be born again. When Jesus comes, the trumpets will be blown and the heaven will open itself.