School of Music


Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology (MA)


Jeff Meyers


Ethnomusicology, Nagaland, Naga, Christian Music, Folk Music, Christian Worship


Ethnomusicology | Music


Christianity has historically suppressed Naga traditional music and culture, and yet Christian music plays an important role in the construction of Naga identity. A brief history and overview of Christian music in Nagaland including, hymn singing, contemporary Christian music, and revival songs demonstrates how the unique social, cultural and political context of Nagaland has created a generational divide in worship style preferences and the birth of the revival song genre. Snapshots of the life and work of Naga composers further illustrate these themes and provide insight into the incorporation of Naga folk music in Christian worship. While advocates make strong arguments for the incorporation of Naga folk music in Christian worship, several obstacles to incorporation exist such as young people’s lack of familiarity with folk music, the current exclusive use of Naga folk inspired songs for special music, and potential difficulties transcribing Naga folk music in western staff notation. Despite these obstacles Nagas and the author suggest several strategies for encouraging the composition of Naga folk inspired songs, disseminating these songs to Naga congregations and meeting the need for trained worship leaders in Naga churches.