Defaults and the resetting of them

At the evening of the choir competition, I was surprised by how strongly a solo rendition of “Just as I am” resonated with me in the midst of the other Cameroonian selections I heard that night. Most of the other offerings were, if not in English, in Pidgin at least, so it’s not as though this hymn was the first thing I understood all evening. I’ve never had a particular love for that hymn (nor particular dislike, either) so I was surprised by the emotion it evoked for me. I really want to appreciate the Cameroonian style of music and I thought I was, so this was a surprise.

The reverse effect surprised me on Sunday. Having attended the Presbyterian church in Bekondo in the morning to hear Joe’s first service there as an ordained minister, I was listening to some worship music on my Walkman in the afternoon and was struck by the drums. Perhaps it was in part the quality of my player, but the sound of the North American drums sounded so harsh and plain after the booming, rhythmic, “poly-beat” drumming I hear here. It was a thoroughly unexpected reaction; though I’ve always enjoyed African drumming, it was never to the exclusion of appreciation of a drumset.


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