The Missa Luba is a version of the Latin Mass based on traditional Congolese songs. It was arranged by Father Guido Haazen, a Franciscan Friar from Belgium, and originally performed and recorded in 1958 by "Les Troubadours du Roi Baudouin", a choir of Congolese children from Kamina.


Father Guido Haazen arrived in the Belgian Congo in 1953 from Belgium. In 1954 he founded the Troubadours (named for Baudouin I of Belgium) as a choir of 45 boys aged 9 to 14 and 15 teachers from Central School in Kamina. In 1958 the ensemble toured Europe to acclaim, at one point singing with the Vienna Boys Choir. There was a high degree of improvisation in the performances, based around traditional song forms. The Sanctus is based on a Kiluba farewell song.[1]

The first recording, which dates from 1958, features solo vocalist Joachim Ngoi and was released as an album on the Philips label in 1963 in the UK (and two years later in the USA), including a selection of songs used as the basis for the Missa Luba. The contiguous "Sanctus" and "Benedictus" sections were released as a single, which spent some time on the record chart in the UK. In 2004 Philips released the original recording on CD (without the Congolese songs), plus a 2000 recording on DVD. The CD also includes the Misa Criolla and Misa Flamenca performed by other artists.

Since the 1960s the Missa Luba has been recorded by other choirs, including The Muungano National Choir of Nairobi, and the Washington Choral Arts Society.

Father Haazen died in 2004.

Musical arrangement

The "Kyrie" and the "Credo" are wholly elaborated like the "kasalas" which are still performed according to the Ngandanjika (Kasai); the "Sanctus" and the "Benedictus" were inspired by a magnificent "Parting-song in Kiluba." The "Gloria" is improvised in the typical Kiluba-style of the Katanga. The "Hosannah" is a genuine rhythmic dance of the Kasai, and the "Agnus Dei" is a typical Bena Lulua (Luluabourg) song.

Originally the music was not written. The composition was the result of general cooperation and of a spontaneous inspiration. Later, sheet music of Haazen's arrangement was published.

In the "Credo" the text (the crucifixion and the death of the Redeemer) is preceded by the usual announcement of death, first on the Kyondo and then on the Kikumvi (Tom-Tom). Then follows a genuine "kilio" (elegy - dead-song) without percussion accompaniment, sung by the solo voice. The doleful tone is stressed by the repeated and sustained o-sounds ("... etiam prono ... bis, sub Pontio Pilato... ).

The Missa Luba was created by Baluba of the Kasai and Katanga, with Father Haazen.[1]

In the media

The "Sanctus" featured prominently in the 1968 film If.... and the "Gloria" was featured in Pier Paolo Pasolini's The Gospel According To St. Matthew. "Sanctus" was also used during the closing credits of "Deadly Voyage" with Omar Epps,

The Clash lyrically refer to the recording in the song 'Car Jamming' on the 1982 album Combat Rock.

Original recording

Artist: Les Petits Troubadours du Roi Baudoin (King Baudoin's Troubadours), arrangements by Père Guido Haazen O.F.M. (Order of Friars Minor) Philips 6527 137 (1965), LP.

Re-released (Missa Luba only) on Philips CD/DVD set (2004)


  • Side 1
    • Missa Luba
      • Kyrie
      • Gloria
      • Credo
      • Sanctus and Benedictus
      • Agnus Dei
    • Congolese Folk Songs
      • Kamimbi
      • Maningi Daba
      • Mikomba
  • Side 2
    • Congolese Folk Songs (cont.)
      • Dibwe Diambula Kabanda
      • Lutuku y a Bena Kanyoka
      • Seya Wa Mama Ndalamba
      • Ebu Bwale Kemai
      • Salibona
      • Kansempe
      • Katumbo
      • Tambwe Dishinda

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Information from the original 1963 sleeve notes
cs:Missa Lubaja:ミサ・ルバ

no:Missa Luba pt:Missa Luba

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