Wednesday, January 7, 8928

Guido Haazen (c. 1928-2004) - Missa Luba (1958)

The Missa Luba is a version of the Latin Mass based on traditional Congolese songs.

It was arranged by Father Guido Haazen, a Franciscan Friar from Belgium, and originally performed and recorded in 1958 by Les Troubadours du Roi Baudouin,

[Bukavu, in South Kivu Province, is in the "Wild East" Congo (Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, and Katanga Provinces -- which includes Kamina), in years since the Missa Luba subjected to invasion, re-invasion, civil butchery, refugee-militias from Rwanda, and government armies of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda]

a choir of Congolese children from Kamina.

Father Guido Haazen arrived in the Congo in 1953 from Belgium.

In 1954 he founded the Troubadours (named for Baudouin I of Belgium) as a choir of 45 boys aged 9 to 14 and 15 teachers from Central School in Kamina. In 1958 the ensemble toured Europe to acclaim, at one point singing with the Vienna Boys Choir. There was a high degree of improvisation in the performances, based around traditional song forms.

The first recording, which dates from 1958, features solo vocalist Joachim Ngoi and was released as an album on the Philips label in 1963 in the UK (and two years later in the USA), including a selection of songs used as the basis for the Missa Luba.

Originally the music was not written. The composition was the result of general cooperation and of a spontaneous inspiration. Later, sheet music of Haazen's arrangement was published. The Missa Luba was created by Baluba of the Kasai and Katanga, with Father Haazen.

Congo - Missa Luba


Kyrie is wholly elaborated like the "kasalas" which are still performed according to the Ngandanjika (Kasai).

Gloria is improvised in the typical Kiluba-style of the Katanga.

In Credo, which unfolds as the Kyrie, the text In the "Credo" the text (the crucifixion and the death of the Redeemer) is preceded by the announcement of death, first on the Kyondo and then on the Kikumvi (Tom-Tom). Then follows a genuine "kilio" (elegy - dead-song) without percussion accompaniment, sung by the solo voice. The doleful tone is stressed by the repeated and sustained o-sounds ("... etiam prono ... bis, sub Pontio Pilato... ).

Sanctus was inspired by a magnificent Parting-Song in Kiluba, with the ensuing Hosannah as a genuine rhythmic dance of the Kasai. This was released as a single, which spent some time on the record chart in the UK.

Agnus Dei is a typical Bena Lulua (Luluabourg) song.

In 2004 Philips released the original recording on CD (without the Congolese songs), plus a 2000 recording on DVD.

Since the 1960's Missa Luba has been recorded by other choirs, including The Muungano National Choir of Nairobi, and the Washington Choral Arts Society.

[8928 Fried / 8928 Haazen / 8926 C. Berry]