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.
"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.
The Luttrell Psalter is a mid-14th century English illuminated manuscript containing a large number of illustrations of everyday life in medieval England. In 2008 the Psalter was adapted into a 20 minute short film for The Collection Museum in Lincoln, drawing on 35 scenes from the manuscript. There is also a blog describing the making of the film. [more inside]
Akhetaten (a.k.a. Amarna) was the city built by Pharaoh Akhenaten, famous for his monotheistic beliefs and his queen, Nefertiti and son, Tutankhamun. The Amarna Letters has translations of correspondence sent to the Akhenaten, but a trove of it was found at the Amarna site. During his reign a distinctive style of art rose to prominence, only to vanish after his death. The Boston MFA has 40 objects from the era in its collection. Perhaps the most famous of the cultural artifacts of Akhenaten is the Great Hymn to Aten (hieroglyphics, four different English translations: 1, 2, 3, 4). This poem was set to music by Philip Glass for his opera Akhnaten (information about the opera). Some see direct parallels between The Great Hymn to Aten and Psalm 104. Though it was billed as a new beginning, like many utopias, Amarna was no haven for the regular folk who lived there.
Christians become aquainted with the Almighty. "When the Wheat Ridge man got laid off from his computer-programming job in June, his friends and family asked what they could do to help. He asked them to pray for him and offered a daily reminder: an automated text message on cellphones and pagers. Now, Wostenberg, a devout Catholic, is offering that same technology to anyone who wants a psalm sent to him each day at 3 p.m. He's selling the service online at PsalmWeaver.com He charges $19.95 a year, plus a $4 setup fee."