Christians in the Southeast Asian country of Burma, also known as Myanmar, make up approximately five percent of the national population. The Christian community of Burma includes both Catholics and Protestants, and Baptists predominate among the Protestants. In this article I argue that twenty-first century Protestant Burmese Christians fulfill both aspects of a “twofold legacy” bequeathed to them by Adoniram Judson, the first Baptist missionary to Burma, and that their fulfillment of this legacy is manifest in their musical practices. I further argue that it has been, and continues to be, to Burmese Christians’ advantage to emphasize both aspects of this religious legacy, because at various times both aspects have highlighted their affiliation with more powerful groups inside Burma.

Author Biography

Dr. Heather MacLachlan is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Dayton. She is the author of two monographs and of numerous scholarly articles focusing on topics including music making among Burmese people, music pedagogy, and the LGBT choral movement. She speaks English, French, and Burmese, and has taught in each of these languages at various institutions.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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