I'm putting together a video playlist of French worship courses. This is the most pleasant part of the course preparation that I've been diligently trying to accomplish since mid-December. Next Monday will be the first session in my course in Elementary French starting next week at MVNU. It's the first French course our university has offered in at least seven years. And, I'm probably the least prepared to teach it of anyone I know that speaks French. Mais, je vais en essayer. SIDE NOTE: It's also my 30th distinct course I've taught in the six years I've been at MVNU.
One of my favorite songs is Assemblée Louez L'Eternel. Nothing gets the heart pumping, feet moving, and hands waving like this song. It's hard to describe, because it's necessary to be in the midst of this song being sung to really experience it. And, quite frankly, it's difficult to sing this song outside of Africa #BecauseAfrica.
I've always said worship in Africa is a holistic, full-body experience, not just words spoken or heard but shouted in ways that move the entire being, words that can be felt like the thumping of a drum in the chest. In much of the Western world, the prelude to Christian worship is quiet and contemplative, strings slowly strumming with light piano melodies, to set your mind on things on reflective. Not so in Africa. Worship is the cultural expression of the human response to the Divine. It's always this way, in my opinion, though you are free to disagree.
In fact, you haven't really worshiped in Africa until you're covered in sweat, then you're just about ready. If you want God to hear you, say it loudly. Sing loudly. Live loudly.
The video below captures this song in its fullest expression that I've seen on-line. I had never taken a full video of this song while in Africa because I was too into the experience to care about recording it. What I also like about the video is that it shows the full range of francophone culture.
So, stand up, move the furniture out of the way, crank up the volume, and listen to the whole thing even as it winds down. The uluation you hear near the end is a common expression of worship in most African cultures as well as in some parts of the Arabic and Indian worlds. It's also used in the context of mourning (keening) and battle cries (bean sì "banshee") among the Scottish and Irish. All of these moods are appropriate to worship as well as their cultural representations.
The lyrics are easy, but the rhythm might be difficult at first for some of you. So watch it, sing along, and worship in a way familiar to the majority of Christians living in the Global South.
Assemblée, louez l'Eternal il est vivant*
Ay-ah-ayy, Ah-ahh, louez l'Eternal il est vivant.
*Translation: Altogether, Praise the Eternal One, He is living!
(hand roll to the left) Ay-ah-ayy (hand roll to the right) ah-ahh
(spin around) louez l'Eternal il est vivant (double high five)
At the two-minute mark it goes freestyle for a bit and then closes at the 3:30 mark.