October 22, 2010

Review: Celebration of Light from Taizé (iTunes Podcast)

Once again, our Music Director Rob Passow (@Rob_Mus) finds us something fabulous for us to check out.


In the ecumenical community of Taizé, hundreds of Christians are drawn together. The community engages in prayer three times a day. The highlight of daily prayer is the singing.
─ Roughly translated from the iTunes podcast description

Taizé chants are short and intended to be sung many times over as prayer, praise or meditation. Their brevity allows for quick memorization so that pray-ers may then become immersed in the experience of sung prayer. Many of us enjoy singing Taizé chants within the context of our own “traditional” worship services, perhaps as a call to worship or at communion, but rarely do we experience a “real” Taizé service.

You can also purchase commercial recordings of Taizé music, but when the chants are isolated from their worship context, and sung by untrained singers, the home listening experience can be somewhat dissatisfying. This is not listening music, it’s participating music. The chants are prayers to be sung and experienced.

Most of us are not fortunate enough to travel to France and spend time working and worshiping with the Taizé community. But now, with these podcasts, we can get closer to experiencing Taizé chants in their natural habitat.

Because worshipers flock to Taizé from all over the world, the chants, prayers, scriptures and even announcements are presented in multiple languages so that everyone can understand. I have only minimal knowledge of German, Spanish, French & Italian – mostly from singing, yet for me it's wonderful intellectual and spiritual reinforcement to hear the same texts several times, even in other languages. The rhythm of singing, praying and listening to scripture draws one in; and if I close my eyes, sometimes I can imagine I am actually there.

I hope the folks at Taizé don’t mind me saying so, but in addition to being prayerful, these podcasts can be soothing and focusing if listened to while doing other things. Each podcast lasts about one hour and they're issued weekly, usually a few days after being recorded.

If you have less time to listen, but still want to have a Taizé experience, try these shorter broadcasts: 10 minute excerpts of prayers, scripture and songs from full worship services: Celebration of Light from Taizé

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