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The Hymnody of the Harrist Church Among the Dida of South-Central Ivory Coast (1913-1949)

A Historico-Religious Study


James R. Krabill

Little has been written about the early Harrist movement in Ivory Coast following the remarkable evangelistic successes there of Liberian prophet William Wadé Harris, 1913-1915. Harris' converts among the Dida people, however, recorded much of what happened in hundreds of hymns composed during those first dynamic decades. These hymns are today a unique and invaluable resource for understanding the early life, faith and history of one of West Africa's largest independent churches. Over 250 hymn texts, dating from 1913-1949, have been collected, transcribed and analysed in this study. Part I examines their origins and wider importance and the methodology used in collecting them. Part II places the hymns in their historico-religious context. In Part III special attention is given to hymn composition, transmission, liturigical usage, form and content. The full corpus of hymn texts appears in Part IV, arranged according to musical style and date of composition.
Contents: Over 250 Harrist hymns from Ivory Coast presented and analysed - Insights into faith, life and history of early movement among Dida people, 1913-1949 - Methodology and sources for hymn collecting carefully described - Special attention to historico-religious context - Analysis of hymn origins, composition, transmission, usage, form and content - Eighty illustrative maps, charts and photos included.