Ugandan liturgy features indigenous, uplifting music

  • The Cathedral choir, St. Peter's Nsambya, Kampala, Uganda.
  • One of several choirs practices outside St. Charles Lwanga church.
  • In a village in Western Uganda, parishioners celebrate the baptism of a couple's long-sought child.
  • Choir members practicing at the national Shrine of the Uganda Martyrs.
  • Often, young people in Kampala are more interested in contemporary, globalized Christian music popular in Pentecostal churches like this one than the indigenous music sung in Mass.

Following Vatican Council II, efforts were made to bring indigenous music into the liturgy, and this seems to have been quite successful, even as the liturgy itself is not indigenized.

Interviewees said that music was especially powerful as a way to lift them up and to express what they feel to God. Songs are “a way to thank God for having kept me safe during the week,” one said. Most songs are about uplift.

Young people, including Catholics, often say they are more interested in a more globalized, rather than indigenous, musical sound. Pentecostalist styles and musical forms are regarded as more “modern” and “up-to-date,” and youth are often said to prefer the music from Pentecostal churches to the traditional European or indigenous music sung in most Catholic churches. 

Excerpts of a choir practicing for Sunday liturgy at St. Peter Claver community, Kampala
Audio file