Several weeks ago, I shared a link to an Amish wedding chant. Elva Bontrager, a reader and a former Amish person, introduced me to Gaelic Psalm singing in Scotland. Since then I have listened to this and one other recording of this amazing singing at the Back Free Church on the Isle of Lewis too many times to count. And every time it takes me to that place in my soul where I had only gone when listening to or contributing to Amish church singing.
Elva and I both wondered how these two very different traditions could sound so similar when singing their sacred songs. The second link above gives an explanation of when and how the Gaelic Psalm singing developed. I cannot help but wonder if they stem from the same origins five hundred years ago.
This question led me to a search for other anaccompanied chants, and I found that many, many traditions have their own version of a sacred chant. Here are some of the ones I found:
Russian Orthodox Chant
Gregorian Chants from Assisi
Old Regular Baptist Chant
Native American Chant
Because I am constantly looking for the universal messages and traditions in various religions and philosophies, I find it absolutely fascinating that unaccompanied chants are a way of expressing the sacred in such diverse traditions and religions.
In this same theme, I found this short documentary about the Gaelic laments. This explains why back in 2009, right after my sister Lizzie died, I listened to a song by Lisa Kelly called A Soft Goodbye. It expressed my grief better than anything else at the time. It is a wonder I didn't wear out the CD.
In my next post, I will share links to chants from traditions even more diverse than the ones here.