From the album Free Range Hymns

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When All Thy Mercies

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4. When all thy mercies
"Hymnal: A Worship Book" #72
Tune: John Cole, "Ecclesiastical Harmony", 1805

Daryl: akogo, soprano sax
Frances: hang, violin
Nathan: balafon, cello

“When all thy mercies”, both text and music, come from the heart of 18th century Europe which may not be apparent when listening to this particular track. As we imagined how we might interpret this stalwart of church music history (it appears in over 800 published hymnals) we began experimenting with a unique set of percussive instruments: the akogo (a type of thumb piano from Uganda), the hang (more about this later) and a mini balafon (a small, wooden xylophone from Ghana). As we layered various rhythmic patterns on top of each other we were pleased to find that this spritely, very European melody functioned wonderfully as an improvisational tune, inspired by the polyrhythms of traditional African music.