Religion: Bouloumboulou

A melancholy chant, full of the flavor of steaming rivers and hot forests, floated from the choir as the priest began the Mass. Suddenly, like the rumbling of a far-off storm, a drum joined in. "Ezè sè kènzapa," they prayed together. "We implore you, Our Lord . . ."

Thus went the "Congo Canoemen's Mass." Its drumbeat did not seem out of place to the natives who crowded the mission church of St. Anne in Brazzaville, French Equatorial Africa. The church's curving Gothic arch resembled the silhouette of an outsized mud hut, and its lofty...

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