Recording village music DVDs

When he heardthe songs in his local language and saw his own people singing with such passion,the bikman (village leader) was truly amazed. “Where didthese songs come from and who wrotethem?” he asked. He wanted to hear more. Koen den Hartogh, SIL literacy worker withthe Gadsup language group explained that he had been working withthe people in that village andthey had writtenthe songs to sing in church. The leader was so touched bythe songs that he began attending church.

Eight different Gadsup communities inthe Eastern Highlands Province now have DVD recordings oftheir church music, many filmed in natural settings neartheir villages. A group of students’attending a Christmas Camp saw one ofthe DVDs and asked ifthey could record one too… right away! “Here?” exclaimed Koen, “With over 1000 people making noise? No Way!” Betthe group persuaded him to bringthe equipment and followthem to a place “close by”.

After an hour and a half of walking throughthe jungle,the small path disappeared andthey weavedtheir way throughthe foliage for anther half hour. Finally,they came to a clearing. There inthe centre stood a very large rock. The young people explained to a tired Koen that this was wheretheir ancestors came to sharpentheir stone axes. “We want to record here to show that God&#39’s word sharpens us!” Sothey recordedtheir songs and produced a DVD that is significant and meaningful totheir village.

The Gadsup communities have seen a renewed interest in tokples* andthe church as a result ofthe DVDs, especially amongthe youth. Several churches are now raising funds to purchase equipmentosothey can recordtheir own DVDs. The local youth used to view tokples as “old man&#39’s talk” but nowthey enjoy writing songs to sing in church. The recorded songs have revealedthe strength oftheir language.

*tokples – “Heart language”

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