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The Blessing – how many languages will it be sung in? May 10, 2020

Posted by Pete B in multilingualism, worship.
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Updated Aug 12, 2022
A new song based on an ancient blessing quickly became the anthem of 2020 for virtual choirs around the globe. I first heard the “UK Blessing” performed by a virtual choir from 65 churches and received almost 2 million views in it’s first week.
The UK Blessing wasn’t the first and definitely not the last attempt to bring churches together from a single country.

One day blessings will be sung in over 7000 languages, but not necessarily to this tune

I like the song and love the significance of so many people coming together to sing (or sign) it. This same concept has been repeated in many different communities and countries so I went looking for how many different languages I could find it in and began adding them to a playlist.

To start with I found English (a few varieties), French, Spanish, Hebrew, Tagalog, Farsi, Italian, Malalayam, Hindi, (and another in both Malalayam and Hindi) Nepali, Romanian, Polish, Papiamentu, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Luganda, Mongolian, Lingala, Thai, Mandarin Chinese, Nigerian Pidgin, Tamil, Amharic, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Swahili. I then added Shona, Ndebele, Xhosa (each part of The Blessing – Zimbabwe), Rukiga, Haitian Creole, BSL, ASL, Makaton, and Filipino Sign Language (There are 380+ sign languages in the world). One artist sings in Portuguese, French, English, Lingala & Korean. The Malaysian Blessing includes singers from 80 churches and includes English, Tamil, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Dusun, Kelabit and Iban. Then came Ukranian, Fijian, Ekegussi, Afrikaans , Vietnamese, Burmese, Mauritian Kreol, and Hungarian , and the list kept growing. I almost stopped counting at 70 but then I heard the Nigerian and Ghanaian versions, soon followed by a version from India with 31 different languages.
By the start of June there were over versions in over 140 languages. If it wasn’t already the most translated song, it was probably the song that had been translated most quickly into so many languages.

New versions were still coming out and by of Sept 1st 2020 it had been sung and signed in at least 160 languages.

By the end of 2020 this was one curve that was flattening out. By Feb 2021 there were 130 videos in the play list comprising of both single language and multilingual versions brought the total to 175 languages, and by December 2021 I had found another 20 and yet more from 2021 found later in 2022.

The most recent update to the list comes with twelve videos from Cameroon as part of a national competition Heal the Land in which groups made original covers of the song in four local languages or dialects from the over 250 spoken across Cameroon.

Other additions included a five language version from Australia, an eight language version from South Sudan, and a compilation World Blessing that has well over 100 languages. Here is the full alphabetical list of what I’ve found so far:

Albanian, Afrikaans, Ambon, American Sign Language (ASL), Amharic, Ao Naga, Arabic, Armenian, Assamese, Australian sign language, Bafamg, Bagangte, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Bakossi, Batak Pakpak, Batak Simalungun, Balanda, Bali, Bamoun, Banen, Bassa, Batak Karo, Batak Toba, Bayangi, Bengali, Benin, Bhojpuri, Birom, Bisaya, Bodo, British Sign Language (BSL), Bulgarian, Bulu, Bundeli, Burmese, Camaroon Pigin, Cebuano, Chatino, Chhattisgarhi, Chichewa, Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), Cilacap, Comores, Damara Nama, Dari, Dayak, Duala, Dusun, Dutch, Ekegussi, Ende, English, Esan, Eton, Ewe, Ewondo, Farsi, Fijian, Filipino Sign Language, French, French Sign Language, Fulfulde, Ga, Garhwali, German, Greek, Gurene, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hakha Chin, Hausa, Haryanavi, Havakinau, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Iban, Ibibio, Igbo, Igede, Ijaw, Ilocano, Italian, Japanese, Jarai, Jawa, Kabyle, Kalabari, Kankanaey, Kannada, Kaonde, Karenni (Kayah), Karina, Karo, Kashmiri, Kelabit, Khasia, Khmer, Kikuyu, Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, Kokborok, Konkani, Korean, Krio, Kutai, Kwassio, Kyrgyz, Ladakhi, Lahauli, Lamnso, Lampung, Lingala, Lua, Luganda, Maban, Macedonian, Makaton, Maithili, Malagasy, Malayalam, Malaysian Sign Language (BMI), Maltese, Manado, Manguissa, Manipuri, Marathi, Mauritian Kreol (Morisyen), Mexican sign language, Mewari, Mixteco, Mizo, Mongolian, Mungaka, Nagamese, Ndebele, Ndogo, Nepali, New Zealand Sign Language, Ngadju, Nias, Nigerian Pidgin, Nishi, Noongar, Norwegian, Nuer, Nyiyaparli, Nzema, Odia, Okrika, Oshiwambo, Otjiherero, Padang, Pangasinan, Papiamentu, Papua, Pitjantjara, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Rukiga, Russian, Sadri, Samoan, Sawa, Scottish Gaelic, Shilluk, Shona, Sinhala, Slovak, Spanish, Suomi (Finnish), Sunda, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Ternate, Te Reo Māori, Tetun, Thai, Tiv, Tok Pisin, Tongan, Toraja, Tupuri, Turkish, Ukranian, Ukrainian sign language, Urhobo, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Waray, Welsh, Wimbum, Xhosa, Yoruba, Zapotec, Zomi and Zulu.

This also included versions in 13 sign languages (so far) from UK, Singapore, Mexico, Philippines, USA, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Nigeria, New Zealand, Columbia, Japan. The final one in my playlist being Makaton, a sign language developed for children and adults with communication and learning difficulties.

Inspired by the global impact of the song, and aided by the playlist, one person has now pulled together over 500 clips into one amazing eight minute video. I’m not sure yet how he counts 257 languages but it does includes 57 ways of writing Amen in different languages and scripts.


According to Billboard.com, “The Blessing”, was written by Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes on Feb 27th and first recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 1st. The lyrics are much older, based on Numbers 6:24-26

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

(NIV)

These verses have been translated into at least the 724 languages that have full Bibles, of which at least 4-500 are available via bible.com, bible.is global.bible, find.bible and scriptureearth.org .(Over 75% of the 3500 languages in which some scripture has been translated now have at least part of the Bible online in some form)

Since I first posted about this I’ve added many updates, each ending with the same question:

In how many languages could be it be sung by the people connecting online to your church?


This final video is from one congregation in London, UK, in a city where well over 300 languages are known to be used (and others are yet to be counted). If you like it, share it. The Blessing in over 200 Languages playlist has passed 10,000 views in June 2022, but the goal is not to see how many hits that can get, the goal is simply to join the prayer and celebration and celebrate as part of the #multilingualchurch.


Comments»

1. Bradley Hill - April 20, 2021

Do churches have permission to play this video without copyright infringement?

Like


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