Religious Popular Music

January 4th, 2011

In the English speaking world, “quality” has become antonymous (is that the right word for the opposite of “synonymous”?) with “religious music”. Sure, there are a few Christian bands who make decent music (MxPx, for example), but they are few and far between. It wasn’t always that way, of course. From the 10th century, with the plethora of Gregorian chants, right through the 18th century, with Handel’s Messiah, “Christian music” has had its share of quality music. But somewhere in, I guess, the 20th century, it all went downhill, so now “modern religious music” now essentially means “modern not-so-good music”.

On sober reflection, though, that’s working from a sample set which consists exclusively of Christian music in the English language. So I’m wondering: is there some culture out there in which modern religious music is not synonymous with shite? I don’t mean “is there some high quality religious band / singer / group”. I’m sure that in any country, any religion, any language, there are one or two quality religious musicians. But given that the Western world managed to produce a high volume of quality Christian music for several hundred years, it would seem logical that there must be somewhere a country or culture which produces a lot of modern religious music which isn’t all terrible. Perhaps Turkey has a plethora of awesome Muslim Metal, or western India has a cornucopia of killer Jain Ska.

So, dear reader, are you familiar with any country/culture/region which produces a lot of high quality modern religious music?

2 Responses to “Religious Popular Music”

  1. Iain Says:

    The only Muslim music is a male voice unaccompanied by any instruments. There is only so much you can do with that… And anything else attempted results in your death.

  2. bugbread Says:

    What about multiple singers? You could have a barbershop quartet, doo wop, or a full chorus. You could even do the a capella instrument approach, with each singer vocally miming the sound of a different instrument. Lots of possibilities if multiple folks are allowed.

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