Noel Meek writes about Gaelic psalm singing and includes several recordings from the 1970s and 80s. A precentor sings the opening line from a hymn, and then the congregation joins in, improvising on the melody. With the decline of the Scottish Gaelic language the tradition is fading and lives primarily on the islands of Lewis and Harris in the Hebrides. Here is a video from Back Free Church on Lewis and a BBC radio documentary on Gaelic psalm singing by Ken Hyder.
Around the world, people keep reaching out for something to sustain us. Enjoy these mantras, prayers, hymns, and chants. [more inside]
"Contemporary Christian pop music might be taking Psalm 100’s command to 'make a joyful noise unto the Lord' a little too far," writes Leah Libresco at 538. Libresco analyzed the lyrics from Billboard's year-end top 50 Christian songs for the last five years and compares them with traditional American hymns from the shaped-note tradition. Richard Beck at Experimental Theology notes that the psalms themselves contain much more lamentation than the hymnbooks used by contemporary U.S. protestants.
So what is Stephen Colbert doing between TV gigs? Two things: One, growing awesome facial hair and Two, being an awesome Catholic (with Father James Martin).
Meg Hitchcock creates intricate collages out of individual letters from spiritual and philosophical texts (via).
Enheduanna was a priestess and poet in the city of Ur in the 23rd century BC and supposedly the daughter of Sargon the Great of Akkad. She is the first author known by name. Here are a number of her poems in English translation, The Exaltation of Inana, Inana and Ebih, A Hymn to Inana, The Temple Hymns and A Balbale to Nanna. Here are two alternate translations of The Exaltation of Inana, one by James D. Pritchard and an English rendering of Dr. Annette Zgoll's German translation. If you want to learn more, go to The En-hedu-Ana Research Pages.
Interactive Church Music Player The LDS Church has created a cool new tool for exploring its hymnbooks: a Flash application that not only shows the sheet music, but allows transposition, tempo changes, part selection, and all kinds of other nifty things.