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Saturday, December 3

Julien Jouga's choral gift to the world wove African, Muslim, and Christian music (UPDATED 12:40 am EST 12/04)

Julien Jouga with some members of his chorale


A commenter at YouTube referred to Julien Jouga (1931 - 2001) as the "Great artisan of the Islamo-Christian dialogue in Senegal" but that hardly conveys the scope of his contribution to choral religious song and African music:
Taking full advantage of the evolution of the Church following the Second Vatican Council, Julien Jouga could move from the Gregorian chant of the white fathers to the polyphony inspired by the traditional Senegalese music of different ethnic groups (eight masses in national languages ​​- diola, Wolof, Portuguese Creole), but also from different confessions (Walaay composed on a Muslim melody).
If a couple tracks from this recording at YouTube, which features several short choral works from the choir, sound familiar they're from Jouga's collaboration with the (Muslim) Senegalese drummer Doudou N'Diaye Rose (1930-2015) for the album Djabote. Earlier this year I featured the complete French documentary about the making of the album -
... on the Isle of Gorée in March 1991 [which features all the musical works on the Djabote album]. It was recorded in one week with [N'Diaye Rose's] group of 50 drummers and Julien Jouga's Choir, an 80-member, all-female choir." [Wikipedia article on N'Diaye Rose]  
(There were also males in the choir, at least by the time of the above recordings of the choir posted to YouTube.) 

The first quote above is from a short biography in French by a chorale organization, which I put through Google Translate with imperfect results but with enough to convey to English speakers something of the musical accomplishments of this extraordinary man. It will have to suffice until a Wikipedia article or more hopefully a book about him in published:
http://www.journeeschorales.org/?page_id=22
Julien Jouga (1931-2001)
 Man known and recognized of all, in Senegal as abroad, Julien Jouga left an indelible trace in the musical landscape of the choral song, but also in the heart of those that crossed.
An accomplished sportsman, captain of the Senegal national basketball team, with a charm that could hardly resist, Julien Jouga devoted his whole life to choral singing, from animation [production] to interpretation through composing.
Creator and director of the Saint Joseph de Médina parish choir since 1950, as well as the Senegalese Choir, Julien Jouga will participate in the development of choral singing in Senegal by broadcasting choral works through numerous concerts and concerts. Animation of religious ceremonies.

Taking full advantage of the evolution of the Church following the Second Vatican Council, Julien Jouga could move from the Gregorian chant of the white fathers to the polyphony inspired by the traditional Senegalese music of different ethnic groups (eight masses in national languages ​​- diola,  Wolof, Portuguese Creole), but also from different confessions (Walaay composed on a Muslim melody).

Touching all the directories, Julien Jouga will cross the path of personalities as diverse as Manu Dibango, Nicole Croisille or Maxime Le Forestier.

Julien Jouga, native of Casamance, will visit many countries to carry the good word of Senegalese choral singing. After a first trip to France in 1974 for the animation of the Senegalese contemporary art exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, the journeys of the choirs of Julien Jouga will be numerous: representatives of Africa at the Chorales de Vaison la Romaine in 1977 , Participations in the celebrations of the bicentenary of the French Revolution in 1989, trips through Africa, Europe, North America and Asia.

A man of duty, Julien Jouga left the army where he spent his whole career with the rank of Commander, participated in numerous official ceremonies, harmonized the national anthem of Senegal and always touched the heart of the humblest and most powerful.
Listened to by all, Julien Jouga will be in 1982 the first African elected to the world office of the choral singing within the International Federation of Choral Song.

Messe Ouolof of the Cap des Biches & Wallaye - A Coeur Joie editions (acj.musicanet.org)

Discography: JAMA - Chorale Julien Jouga - label bleu MCA - LBLC 2531
 Update: I've just learned that the sound track has gotten messed up on the YouTube posting of the Djabote documentary. While there are still clips posted at YouTube from a number of scenes in the documentary, to my knowledge there's only one complete copy of it available at YouTube (and it seems the entire internet). I hope the glitch gets resolved because it would be a shame if the general public lost this important record of N'Diaye Rose -- and Julien Jouga's -- work.
        
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