African Sanctus - Music Summary

African Sanctus is a universal work whose impact is immediate, whose message is simple, the driving force is one of Praise and a firm believe in One Music - One God. It informs both listener and performer about African music and its relationship to Western polyphony and captures the eternal and spiritual soul of music. It is an event, a celebration of power and energy, both visual, aural and multi-cultural, now performed live all over the world.  For David Fanshawe there are no musical barriers.

African Sanctus is an unorthodox setting of the Latin Mass harmonised with traditional African music recorded by the composer on his now legendary journeys up the River Nile (1969-73).  The taped music from Egypt, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya is heard in counterpoint with the live chorus, soprano soloist and instrumental ensemble.  The work is composed in 13 movements and reflects geographically the composer’s cross-shaped pilgrimage, from the Mediterranean to Lake Victoria, whereby Kyrie represents Cairo and Sanctus Northern Uganda.

  1. AFRICAN SANCTUS
    Acholi Bwala dance, North Uganda
  2. KYRIE: CALL TO PRAYER
    Mu'azzin from the Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo
  3. GLORIA: BRIDE OF THE NILE
    Egyptian wedding, Luxor
    Islamic prayer school, East Sudan
  4. CREDO: SUDANESE DANCES
    Courtship dances, Kiata trumpet dance
    Koranic recitations, Marra mountains
  5. LOVE SONG: PIANO SOLO
    Hadandua cattle boy with Bazenkop harp
    Desert bells, East Sudan
  6. ET IN SPIRITUM SANCTUM
    Frogs, Zande refugees of South Sudan
  7. CRUCIFIXUS: RAIN SONG
    Dingi Dingi dance, rains & thunder
    "Rain Song" by Latigo Oteng, Uganda
  8. SANCTUS: BWALA DANCE
    Bunyoro madinda xylophone
    Acholi Bwala dance, Uganda
  9. THE LORD'S PRAYER
    Lamentation, Lake Kyoga, Uganda
    The Offertory (in English)
  10. CHANTS
    Masai milking song, Kenya
    Song of the river, Karamoja, Uganda
    Turkana cattle song, Luo ritual burial dance, Kenya
  11. AGNUS DEI
    Hadandua war drums in the desert, Sudan
  12. CALL TO PRAYER: KYRIE (reprise)
    Mu'azzin from the Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo
  13. FINALE & GLORIA
    Acholi Bwala dance, North Uganda
  • (optional)
    DONA NOBIS PACEM
    A Hymn for World Peace
    (short or long version)

Text of the composed music taken from the Latin Mass and Anglican Liturgy (The Lord's Prayer).
Field recordings made by the composer in Egypt, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya (1969-73).

2002