July 17, 1972 - 17B Pokwo Church
Mary Akela's Bead Shop. She is the composer of many of the Anuak Drum Hymns. i
First Impressions - Typical Worship Service
After pleasant nights sleep up at 7:20 – a soft rain falls. Breakfast with Preston’s and then to Anuak service at 9:00. We entered a round screened-in stone and brick building. It’s grass roof is supported by tree trunks and branches – At the front a cement permanent pulpit with Scripture verses in Amharic and English script in Anuak. The people slowly came after the service started until most of the church was full. We sat on the dirt floor – women and children in the center and men around outside along the circular wall. Families do not sit together.
Missionary Niles Reimer began by singing one phrase of a hymn which was entered into by congregation in a form of call and response. The first songs were of slower nature without drum. Then one drum very routinely played to accompany Niles and congregation. After scripture, Niles sat down on the floor and an Anuak gentleman led singing. A drummer then played the larger and smaller drums in combination with a second drummer who kept an even beat. The lead drummer used one stick and hand, the secondary drummer only sticks. They were soon joined by another secondary drummer. It seemed that the function of secondary drummers was to keep a strong consistent beat. The other played on the off beats on the smaller drums. The principle drummer played on the larger drum who also played highly complex and improvised patterns using hand and stick or hand separately or stick on rim of drum.
The drummers traded off so that the principal drummer sat down and another took his place. He made extensive use of elbows of either arm with downward thrusting motions on the center of the head which gave a contrasting higher pitched accented sound adding to the sound of the stick and hand. Again, the drumming accompanying the congregational singing was rhythmic, complex, dynamic, ever changing, highly complex. Generally, we heard an increase in complexity and power from one song to the next and within the song.
A set of bells on a stick were also used being played on even beats. Gentle hand clapping also accompanied the singing. Everyone sang and obviously enjoyed themselves.
Songs were generally call and response with much overlapping and quite a degree of complexity. They have considerable length and seem to be pentatonic.
After the service, we walked to a very neat relatively new village of people whose homes flood yearly by the river and so have moved somewhat inland. The compounds are swept clean with round huts and not much underneath. All family compounds have corn crib storage. The chief has the largest area and seems to be respected and treated with deference. This town probably is Tierlul.
Then we walked down river for a brief way to Pokwomo. Hardly as nicely kept up. An older established yet compound quite well taken care of.
Villages here, not like the Amhara family unity walled off and separated from others. All cattle kept in a general area though owned individually.
Husbands may have more than one wife if they can afford it. Marriage beads are expensive. $100. Of old and of rare quality, kept in tribe for a long time. Marriage spears : female $90.; male $120. Also, expensive and not to be imitated because a curse is placed on any such duplication.
Dinner at Templin’s: Afternoon: discussion until 4:30 on how to prepare for summer here. With Mrs. Templin. Very worthwhile. Worship service at 4:30 with a study of Hebrews 1:1-3.
Supper at Reimers:
Discussed drums. Very skilled for large drums and less so for 2 others. No particular status given to the drummer in the community except that he would be invited to participate in various celebrations and therefore be in place of prominence. Drums have no gender ascribed to it though the names of the drums might be of interest. No particular ceremony at the making of a drum.
Language; Complexity: many words are given to things that have importance to a tribe Nuers each cow has a name and much is said within the name. Anuak: Descriptive words about beads describe color shape purpose, etc. Many words to describe beads. Anuak so called primitive tribe may have very complex relationships and a very highly developed and complex language.
Prayer Meeting: About 14 plus missionaries. After reading scripture, then into 2 groups circles for prayer. Person on the left prayed for the person on the right. Who mentioned a specific request for prayer. A moving experience.
Place of Recording: Pokwo
Date of Recording: July 15, 1972
Performance: Pokwo church congregation
Informant: Paul Abulla and Henry Akway
Date of Transcript: September 26, 1972
1 000 Obero
Information: Refer to15A 2 031 83.
2 007 Obero.
Information: Leader and congregation.
Text: Our father, Jesus the owner of everything. He has gone up to heaven. I’m still asking you. Our heavenly father that has united the whole world. Jesus you’re my Lord, all people are talking of your name. Jesus the son of God was crucified on the cross because of our sins. Jesus the son of God you are my mother and father, I’m still asking you. Repeats
3 029 Agwaga.
Information: Leader and congregation. Agwaga will be slow at first through the words slowly and then rapidly.
Text: O God, send us your salvation and make us believe. Through our father we are still asking in your name and your son’s name. Our father Jesus has been killed. He rose up and went back to his father but he shall come again. Whatever has been said by Jesus has been written in the Bible. That if you convert you will be born again. When Jesus returns the earth will shake. The trumpets will be sounding. The sky will change to a different type of sky. The angels will come back. (slow part) and repeat the preceding in the fast part. Repeats again
4 046 Agwaga.
Text: Savior the son of God, when shall he come? He would come one day. He is still near his father. He died on the cross. It was because of our sins, he gave us good living. When we go from village to village, we are talking of him. It is his deeds that are written in the Bible that we talk of every day. Let us go to the way of God. It is great, the way is great. He lost his blood because of our sins. Please let us all believe in him. Believe in the great God that owns everything. That you leave the idols of before, you will never get anything from them. He came like a poor person to this earth. The guide has come who is the way. Appreciation by all the people all over the world because he’s helping people. We will remove all the idols and they shall never appear. The Bible has said that try to convert yourself before his coming, when he will come, before a conversion they will be no help. Please believe the good message that has been brought. Why don’t you believe in it. Jesus has been sent to this world as if his only giving life to Heaven. That our father helps us, heaven is still great waiting for us. The bad has died, or has been destroyed when Jesus died, the good has been left after his death. My father, Jesus, I’m ready (we are ready) to pray to Jesus. Jesus is something great left or the whole family.
5 062 Agwaga.
Information: Owner sang this song. After 3 months he died 1962 approximately. He was converted that year. After baptism he sang this song and died after 3 months.
Text: All the people when shall our Lord come to get us or to show us the way of life. Jesus is here, the son of God. Our guardian he will come and open the eyes of the blind, he has been left as the leader of everyone. Our father the descended one from God. Our sins have been forgiven by God. But God help us, we are in a container (a pot) of death and pains and injuries. But when he will come, we will be praying happy and trusting in him. The owner of everything is us. Our father. Jesus help us. All of us are being asked, let us go up after our father to heaven. Our father sees our difficulties, or know our difficulties. Your name has come and it was heard by all tribes. When I think of my sins, I mourn because they are so much. But when he would come, God of everyone, my father Jesus help me. Please, you who are worshiping the idols, convert yourselves, don’t believe in these Idol gods, thei’r deceiving you. When you die, your souls will be burnt, or thrown into fire. Jesus is great, I believe I could worship him. But please come for me. At the time he will come, everybody will trust him. We would pray to him with happiness, the owner of everything and the representative of every sin. Every creature. Would come and raise me from death and take me to my heavenly father. Repeats.
6 097 Agwaga.
Information: Leader and congregation.
Text: God, the strongest person. He’s going to unite people, all the people to his way. Don’t get angry. He is the helper, our father who reaches everybody. All people praise him. The helper of people. The whole world is living because of you. Every morning, he sends people to us to read the Bible. It is the book of life. As has been prophesied by Jesus, you go to the whole world and teaching the Bible. No nation or no village remains. Our father’s great. He gives us rain through belief. Our father in Heaven you are great you washed us with your blood. Help us. Help me O God for my sins. Repeats.
7 114 Agwaga.
Information: Leader and congregation.
Text: All of you don’t hesitate, let us pray to Jesus. He who leaves Satan or idols his soul will go to heaven. But please try to convert yourself before his coming. O God, we are still asking you, we are left with sins. Help us. Repeats.
8 124 Agwaga.
Information: Refer to 15A 6 190 87 Leader and congregation.
9 138 Agwaga.
Information: Mary Akela. Leader and Congregation. 15A 9 307 90.
10 156 Agwaga.
Information: Refer to 15B 3 072 95 Leader and congregation.
11 163 Agwaga.
Information: Refer to 15A 11 398 92. Leader and congregation.
12 188 Agwaga.
Information: 16A 3 076 105 Leader and congregation. Quality of sound is not good.
13 207 Agwaga.
Information: Leader and congregation. Quality of sound not good.
Text: Mary Akela. O father the great helper, you are our father. He arose from the dead, but you are our helper. He will come one day. He who asks God Jesus will return with the sound of trumpets and drums and will open the sky. The angels will come to us. Repeats.
14 232 Death wailing.
Information: The third child has died. Abuna.
Text: Praising you with mourning.
15 288 individual singing.
Information: Male voice.
Text: All people, those who think that they could worship Satan understanding that he who worships a thief is destroying himself. You pray to Jesus who gave himself to be killed for you. All of his deeds have been written down in the Bible.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He is our helper. We are to leave sinning. And please do not believe in these idols. You will be burned. All people are praying to Jesus, please convert yourselves. As it has been said by Jesus, I’m now going up but I will come down. Our fathers in Heaven, all the souls are in his hand. The helper arose from the dead but it has been said in the Bible. That I will never leave you you are my orphans. He who believes in idols will at one time think and leave these things. Repeats. Individual singing with soft singing in the background.
16 332 Obero.
Information: Mary Akela. Sung by individual woman. Obero. Popular one with several versions heard. Refer to 15B 7 329 99.