Shembe Hymns by  Isaiah Shembe & Galilee Shembe

Shembe Hymns by Isaiah Shembe & Galilee Shembe

  • R 200.00
    Unit price per 
Tax included.

ISBN: 9781869141363

University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 30 December 2010

Soft cover, 220 pages

Composed by Isaiah and Galilee Shembe between 1940 and 1940, Izihlabelelo zama Nazaretha - Shembe Hymns - is one of the earliest known books in the Zulu language. Drawing on the poetic traditions of lzibongo (praises), the Biblical Psalms, and local renditions of African American Spirituals, these texts speak to conditions of oppression and suffering, but also to the will to joy and hopefulness in such moments. The hymns were translated by Bongani Mthethwa before his death and are edited and introduced by Carol Muller, who also produced the accompanying CD. Muller's introduction brings the song texts to life and recounts the controversial moment in the 1990s, when the organ was introduced by church member and ethnomusicologist, Bongani Mthethwa, to accompany the hymnal repertory. The initiative gave birth to dozens of youth choirs who subsequently began composing their own repertory about Shembe in a more 'gospel-inflected' musical version of their faith.