A few days ago, I wrote to Duane Binkley, from whom I was ordering a Sgaw Karen hymnal and a couple of Bibles,
As an inveterate hymnalist and hymnologist, I’m quite interested in your comment that “it would be nice if we could get the whole hymnal done in both languages.” If I can get my Burmese alphabet skills up to where I can comfortably type in Karen, I’d be thrilled to work on some such project. It would be wonderful to hear a congregation singing bilingually, with the English text of something like, say, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” sung to the tune in the Karen book (not a Karen tune, but also not one I’ve ever seen it set to in an English hymnal, and a fine tune), but it might also be very useful to have it set (again bilingually) on the opposite page to one of the “normal English” tunes for the text (BEECHER in US Baptist and Methodist circles, HYFRYDOL in most other US churches, or BLAENWERN or LOVE DIVINE [Stainer] in British churches). It would be good to create a new hymnal including more recent material, more indigenous material, more “World Church” material, etc., and prepared in formats that would allow either printed sheet music or projectable images in both languages. I’m starting to learn Lilypond to assist in this sort of thing (I’m working on a music resource for the Evergreen Region, so I need these skills whether or not I’m also working on a Karen hymnal)…
and he replied
I hope you can get the typing skills down and get to work on a Karen/English hymn book. One like you describe I think would be a real asset to the Karen and those working with them all around the world.
I’ve decided to set up a Google Group devoted to this project, located here: “New Sgaw Karen Hymnal”. The group will be by-invitation-only as to membership, to reduce the ongoing headaches associated with porn-links and other spam being posted to such groups. So to join the group, just post your interest here.
Leland aka Haruo
Etikedoj: New Karen Hymnals