I don't think Kumbaya was sung at today's Consistory at the Vatican where Pope Benedict dressed regally in the liturgical ware of a formal prayer service and gave the cardinals their red hat! Somehow Kumbaya and liturgical high church don't seem to go together, but I could be wrong.
I have often mocked "Kumbaya" as one of those horrid folk songs we sang almost every Sunday at Mass in the 1960's and 1970's. I absolutely hated it, especially when hand-holding and swaying accompanied the easy to sing song. It epitomized all that was wrong with the reformed Mass immediately following Vatican II and what was wrong with the Church of that period.
But it turns out that it has some political overtones and racial overtones and some would say that not liking it, deriding it and making fun of it is actually a form of racism since this song is not really a folk song, but a Negro Spiritual.
I actually love Black spirituals although I'm not entirely convinced that all of these are appropriate for Mass. But I honestly thought that Kumbaya was a folk song written and created by whites who normally like folk music more so than our Black brothers and sisters do.
But here is the New York Times take on Kumbaya, political liberalism and caustic racism, just press the link:
KUMBAYA MY LORD?
They drop only one shoe in that article. Black spirituals are one aspect of the Black experience that was exploited for political purposes. The renovation of 'Come By Me' to 'Kumbaya' to Africanise the tune would be hysterical if not for the actual results for blacks in America as a result of the collected 'solidarity' efforts. The last fellow quoted in the article is correct that 'Kumbaya' is now used to 'disempower' someone (sort of like a 'go-stopper'), but not as he meant it. He could have better used 'disengage', as in disengage the mind of the people who chant the tune. The same has happened to the otherwise good name of 'Stockholm'.
Here is a link to an example of leftists actively coopting the Black experience to their cause, simultaneously exploiting and denigrating the person at the same time.
Note the stark contrast of Mississippi John Hurt and Hedy West as she bolts blindly into the tune at the 5:30 mark. It's like witnessing the creation of antimatter. One can see the manner by which 'Come By Me' was matastised into 'Kumbaya' virtually on the fly.
This blog has discussed the sort of music one would want to see in Mass. If one must surrender to the temptation of a folk tune one should, at least, rigourousy portray the faith. 'Kumbaya' has managed to violate both.
Kumbaya was one of the anthems of the Left in the 60's. Their use of it was patronizing, politically wrong headed, and silly. It has become a tool of the de-constructionists and a panacea for guilt-ridden liberals..."Hey, I'm not a racist; I sing Kumbaya!"
It has no place in the Mass...or in any church. I have a black business partner who hates it and calls it a "field ditty."
Yes, I can see them in memory's eye, sitting in Tatnall Square Park
across from Mercer, some guy with longer hair than most of the girls (that hadn't been washed in a week), in a field jacket (he was never in the military)with a peace symbol on it strumming a fifty dollar guitar with nylon strings... a real three-bong hit Bob Dylan. The girls in granny dresses and sandals all sitting around bra-less with "easy" written all over them suddenly break into a chorus (or whatever) of Kumbaya. Yep, they are all running the NEA now and teaching our children and grand children to hate the Church and America. I wouldn't sing that disgusting song if you held a gun on me!
I thought it was the "max" of the Roman Rite...
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