'Ibteda me kalam tha' (In the Beginning Was the Word)

Here’s a song in Urdu from Pakistan, based on John 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

ابتدا میں کلام تھا

The title means, ‘In the Beginning was the Word’ and you’ll hear this phrase in English at the start of the song.

The song is by by Anil kant and Jagjit Singh. Over the years I’ve picked up a couple of CDs - he’s released 15! - by Pastor Anil Kant, who lives in Pune, India.
image

You can follow Anil Kant at
https://www.facebook.com/anilkantindia

and learn much more about him and his ministries at
http://www.anilkant.org/

Here’s the first half of his online testimony…

Anil Kant comes from a Hindu-Punjabi family. His parents being very devout and religious, taught Anil all the Hindu scriptures from a young age.  With all the spiritual guidance from his parents, but Anil was searching for more  and the questions he had in his mind were still unanswered.

Anil Kant started writing, composing and singing at a young age of twelve. He took it as a profession at the age of eighteen, while studying in University. He met his wife, Reena and they got married in 1986. After getting married, he along with his wife spent three years in Singapore and ten years in Indonesia pursuing a career in music that put Anil on the fast track to fame and prosperity giving ghazal shows & performances, traveling frequently all over the world.

At the same time, Anil Kant continued his search for the truth as he had been longing for a deeper relationship with God.  During this time some close friends invited him to train their church choir in Indian music. During these training sessions in church, the love of Jesus was being shared with him. They prayed consistently for Anil’s family while he resisted it. Anil found this love which the believers shared very different yet he did not give it much thought and his heart was closed though the words of Jesus stayed in his mind …

Read more of his story at
http://www.anilkant.org/anilkant-testimony.html

Jagjit Singh (8 February 1941 – 10 October 2011) was a prominent Indian Ghazal singer, songwriter and musician known as the “Ghazal King.” You can learn much about him at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagjit_Singh

'Show Me' - Audrey Assad

Audrey Assad was in her early 20s when her parents told her they were considering divorce. An hour later she was at a sound check for a church worship service. Be happy, she was told. Smile!

"They wanted us to be bright-eyed. To smile and be perky," she says. "I just wanted to throw the microphone down and shout the word.”

That reaction forms the pillar of Assad’s career as a Christian musician. The ever-present need to be “positive,” she contends, is a distraction. Her music is made in direct—often conscious—opposition to that expectation.

image

Apparently you can still succeed in the genre of contemporary Christian music (CCM) even if you dissent from its ethos: reassuring, upbeat, and “safe for the whole family.” Those sentiments weren’t enough when Assad’s parents divorced and they weren’t enough when her husband was diagnosed with cancer six months after their wedding.

"I don’t think the words positive and encouraging have ever historically been adequate to describe Christian life,” she says. “Yet these are the words being thrown around now as the two main characteristics of music made by Christian people.”

Learn much more about Audrey in the rest of this interview, published July 9 2013 at the Christianity Today website, from which all the above is excerpted.
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/june/audrey-assad-fractured-and-beautiful-faith.html?paging=off

image

Here’s a song from her 2010 album, 'The House You're Building.' It was pointed out by a friend going through a sad and serious life event.

You could plant me like a tree beside a river
You could tangle me in soil and let my roots run wild
And I would blossom like a flower in the desert
But for now just let me cry

You could raise me like a banner in a battle
Put victory like a fire behind my shining eyes
And I would drift like falling snow over the embers
But for now just let me lie

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die

Set me like a star before the morning
Like a song that steals the darkness from a world asleep
And I’ll illuminate the path You’ve laid before me
But for now just let me be

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die
Oh, not before You show me how to die

So let me go like a leaf upon the water
Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea
And I will disappear into a deeper beauty
But for now just stay with me
God, for now just stay with me

“Show Me” is a song about redemptive suffering, she said in an interview.

“It’s about not wanting God to take away the pain just yet because I know it’s worth something,” she said. “And I have something to learn so just leave me here for right now, but be with me.”

Assad hopes her songs will resonate with the misfit in us. She knows we all have issues we face as we reconcile what kind of Christian we are, that our suffering gives us a chance to understand somewhat the suffering of Jesus.
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/14/audrey-assad-hopes-to-strike-a-chord-with-her-lyrics/

 

'This I Believe (The Creed)' - Hillsong

Story behind the song at
https://hillsong.com/blogs/collected/2014/july/this-i-believe-the-creed-song-story#.U8sP2fldWSo

…. The Apostles’ Creed is one of the most extraordinary statements in history; one of the most unifying statements of Christian belief. It centres around the core beliefs that have united the Church for centuries, and is a great part of many corporate worship services around the world.

image

With this in mind, John Dixon, Director of the Centre for Public Christianity, tweeted a brief request on January 4th, 2014:

"Dear @hillsong, could your brilliant songwriters please put the Apostles’ Creed to inspiring music. Do world-Christianity a massive favour.”

John explained his reasoning behind his tweet,

“I just thought a song that really was reminiscent of the Apostles’ Creed, that covered its main points, would be a beautiful way of calling modern churches to reflect on the foundation of the faith that unifies us.”

Cass Langton and Ben Fielding quickly replied that our team would ‘have a go’, and 
a little while later, Ben and Matt Crocker sat down to write the song that became This I Believe (The Creed).

“We took seriously what we were setting out to do; putting music to the Apostles’ Creed, which for centuries has been such a revered set of words in the church. You don’t want to treat it lightly.”- Ben Fielding

image

Reflecting on the first time John heard this song, he said, “It’s not just a beautiful tune with good theology. It’s a beautiful tune with good theology that has captured the essence of the most unifying Christian statement in world history. I can well imagine, right across the spectrum of denominations, people singing this and going, “Wow, this is the core. This is what unites us—the Father, Son, Spirit with a focus on the work of the Son on the cross for us.”“

To get sheet music and more for the entire album, go to
https://hillsong.com/store/products/music/hillsong-worship/no-other-name

Our Father everlasting
The all creating One
God Almighty

Through Your Holy Spirit
Conceiving Christ the Son
Jesus our Savior

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

Our Judge and our Defender
Suffered and crucified
Forgiveness is in You

Descended into darkness
You rose in glorious life
Forever seated high

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

I believe in You
I believe You rose again
I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord
[x2]

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus
[x2]

For I believe in the name of Jesus
For I believe in the name of Jesus

I believe in life eternal
I believe in the virgin birth
I believe in the saints’ communion
And in Your holy Church
I believe in the resurrection
When Jesus comes again
For I believe, in the name of Jesus

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus
image
Here’s a live version:

Dion DiMucci - ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’

Happy 75th Birthday to Dion Francis DiMucci! Better known mononymously as Dion, is an American singer-songwriter whose work has incorporated elements of doo-wop, pop oldies music, rock and R&B styles—and, most recently, straight blues. He was one of the most popular American rock and roll performers of the pre-British Invasion era. He had more than a dozen Top 40 hits in the late 1950s and early 60s.

image

In December 1979, there was a radical spiritual change in Dion, who had become a born-again Christian. Thereafter, his recordings for several years were in a contemporary Christian vein, in which he released five albums. 

image

In the late 1990s, Dion visited his old Bronx parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and returned to Roman Catholicism. Now a practicing Roman Catholic, Dion pursues prison ministry and reaches out to men going through addiction recovery. He is also a member of the American Board of Directors of Renewal Ministries.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dion_DiMucci

image

Here’s one of his overly Christian songs from 1980 which I remember from CCM radio. It’s autobiographical in nature.

Read a terrific interview with Dion from 2011, about his spiritual journey, at
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/dions-spiritual-journey-for-truth

'The Other Side' - Andy Gullahorn & Jill Phillips

Today was the funeral of a close friend of a close friend. This song was played there by Andy Gullahorn, who composed it, and his wife Jill Phillips. Since each of us is headed towards our own deaths, it’s a good sing to listen to and ponder each day we’re alive.

This video is from an outsid live event in July 2013.

All the treasure you hold, you can’t take it with you 
Any silver and gold, you can’t take it with you 
You could make yourself a name with fortune and fame 
But you can’t take it with you to the other side 
You could build your mansions high but you can’t take it with 
you
 
All your hard-earned pride, you can’t take it with you 
Any plans you made to keep you sheltered and safe 
You can’t take ‘em with you to the other side … (but) 
Love, Real Love, Love 
Love, Real Love, Love
 
When that day comes, don’t look back 
Love will be the bags you pack 
For the other side
 
All the scars that show, you can’t take them with you
And the ones that don’t, you can’t take them with you 
Though your body breaks from years of labor and pain 
You can’t take it with you to the other side
 
Chorus 
All your worst mistakes, you can’t take them with you 
All your secret shame, you can’t take it with you 
At your final breath you see all that’s left is… 
Love, Real Love, Love 
Love, Real Love, Love 
Love, Real Love, Love 
On the other side

And the ones that don’t, you can’t take them with you 
Though your body breaks from years of labor and pain 
You can’t take it with you to the other side
 
Chorus 
All your worst mistakes, you can’t take them with you 
All your secret shame, you can’t take it with you 
At your final breath you see all that’s left is… 
Love, Real Love, Love 
Love, Real Love, Love 
Love, Real Love, Love 
On the other side

The song is recorded on Andy’s album ‘Beyond the Frame.’
http://www.andygullahorn.com/2013/08/beyond-the-frame-available-now/

image

Get the download or CD at
https://store.rabbitroom.com/product/beyond-the-frame

image

The same song is also on the album by Jill Phillips called ‘In This Hour.’
https://store.rabbitroom.com/product/in-this-hour

Here’s another live performance of them singing the song.

Asian Hymn Service in Ohio, July 2014

This week is the annual meeting of The Hymn Society, involving about 350 people. Part of their meeting was an ‘Asian Hymn Service’ planned by my friend Swee Hong Lim (resident in Toronto) and Chi Yi Chen (resident in Virginia).

Here’s a 95-second video with excerpts from the service:

The video is reposted from
http://www.dispatch.com/content/pages/video.html?video&cmpid=share

Learn more about the Hymn Society at
http://www.thehymnsociety.org/

Free Album from Lowana Wallace

from press release:

Lowana Wallace discovered her deep enjoyment of the music making process at a young age. Between many hours spent in the basement on the old piano at her grandparent’s house to having her first song penned at age 14, Lowana has come to know her truest and most honest self between the solitude and companionship found at a piano. 

image

Throughout her teen years, Lowana often found herself at the piano writing very personal songs about worship, faith, doubt, guilt, longing, and love. Her timid voice soon found its way into her church where her experience and confidence slowly grew over the years as both a background and lead vocalist. Wishing to gain further understanding of both music and worship after high school, Lowana left home to study music at Briercrest College in Saskatchewan. During these years, she began to gain a deeper understanding and love for both Christian theology and jazz theory. Lowana’s writing began to grow in maturity both lyrically and musically. In 2005, her first album was eagerly received by friends and family across Canada. Since, Lowana has continued to incorporate subtle jazz styles into arrangements of worship songs as well as her own compositions. Carrying a deep emotion that is both sensitive and courageous, Lowana’s vocals communicate her desire to show honor to her Lord, Jesus Christ.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lowana-Wallace/205194918351?sk=info

She’s just put her first album (from 2005) up for download on Noisetrade.

image

She writes, “This recording is intended to give you a small picture of me - I love to play a piano and I love to sing. One of the aspirations in making this album was to record each of the songs in one take and to produce them with a minimal amount of editing. It was our hope to keep the sound as close to what you would hear in a live performance.”
http://noisetrade.com/lowanawallace/lowana-wallace

All songs are piano and voice. There’s a mix of hymns and originals. If you like solo voice and piano, don’t miss this wonderful gem!

Hear her later album of hymns and carols (some with a jazz band) at
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lowanawallace

Zaboor (Psalm) 121, Pakistan

Pastor Nasir Taj sings Zaboor (Psalm) 121 from Pakistan.

The Urdu lyrics are in the video.
image

Psalm 121

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

The singer is Pastor Nasir Taj.

image

Originally from Karachi, Pakistan (where I’ve been briefly), he now lives in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
https://www.facebook.com/nasir.taj.94

image

ANÚNA : “Victimae Paschali Laudes”

Victimae paschali laudes immolant Cristiani 
 Let all Christians offer sacrificial praise to the Passover victim

Laudes, Agnus Dei
Praise, Lamb of God
image

Victimae paschali laudes is a sung sequence prescribed for the Roman Catholic Mass and liturgical Protestant Eucharists of Easter Sunday. It probably dates from the 11th century.

It is one of the few sequences that are still in liturgical use today. Its text was set to different music by many Renaissance and Baroque composers, including Busnois,Josquin, Lassus, Willaert, Hans Buchner, Palestrina, Byrd, Perosi, and others.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victimae_paschali_laudes

The contemporary setting from Ireland in the video below is a short excerpt from the longer liturgical text. Those opening lines are followed by these:

Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
reconciliavit peccatores.

The lamb has redeemed the sheep:
The Innocent Christ has reconciled
the sinners to the Father.

Here’s an excerpt from a book by Rev. John RW Stott titled "The Cross of Christ."

Propitiation underscores the wrath of God upon us, redemption our captivity to sin, justification our guilt, and reconciliation our enmity against God and alienation from him. These metaphors do not flatter us. They expose the magnitude of our need.

Secondly, all four images emphasize that the saving initiative was taken by God in his love. It is he who has propitiated his own wrath, redeemed us from our miserable bondage, declared us righteous in his sight, and reconciled us to himself. Relevant texts leave us in no doubt about this: ‘God…loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’ ‘God…has come and has redeemed his people.’ ‘It is God who justifies.’ ‘God…reconciled us to himself through Christ.’

Thirdly, all four images plainly teach that God’s saving work was achieved through the bloodshedding, that is, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. With regard to the blood of Christ the texts are again unequivocal. ‘God presented him as a propitiatory sacrifice, through faith in his blood.’ ‘In him we have redemption through his blood.’ ‘We have now been justified by his blood.’ ‘You who once were far away have been brought near (i.e. reconciled) through the blood of Christ.’ Since Christ’s blood is a symbol of his life laid down in violent death, it is also plain in each of the four images that he died in our place as our substitute. The death of Jesus was the atoning sacrifice because of which God averted his wrath from us, the ransom-price by which we have been redeemed, the condemnation of the innocent that the guilty might be justified, and the sinless One being made sin for us.

So substitution is not a ‘theory of the atonement’. Nor is it even an additional image to take its place as an option alongside the others. It is rather the essence of each image and the heart of the atonement itself. None of the four images could stand without it.

The song is by Anúna, an Irish choral group. In 1987 Dublin composer Michael McGlynn founded An Uaithne, a name which describes the three ancient types of Celtic music, Suantraí (lullaby), Geantraí (happy song) and Goltraí (lament). One of the group’s stated aims is to explore and redefine this music. An Uaithne became Anúna in 1991 and in 2010 adopted the name “Anúna, Ireland’s National Choir”. Most of the material they perform is written or arranged specifically for the group by Michael McGlynn. He also has reconstructed and arranged a substantial amount of early Irish music, which has been recorded by the group. McGlynn’s choral arrangements are written specifically for their combination of classically trained singers and untrained voices.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anuna

image

'Yu Yet Yu Namba Wan' (PNG)

Some acquaintances connected with Papua New Guinea (PNG) released an album in 2013 as a band called OneBell. The album is original Christian songs, with urban music styles, in PNG’s language called Tok Pisin (Pidgin), spoken by about 5 to 6 million people in PNG.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tok_Pisin

Here’s the second song on the album, “Yu Yet Yu Namba Wan” ( You Yes You [Are] Number One).

The lead singer is Robin Kawaipa. Originally from PNG, he now lives in Sydney Australia where he ministers in churches and conferences throughout PNG such as PNG EncounterFirst.

image

You can contact Robin via
https://www.facebook.com/robin.kawaipa?fref=nf

You’ll find the song as a download at
http://onebellmusic.bandcamp.com/track/yu-yet-yu-namba-wan

and that will take you to the entire album, called “Kisim I Go” where you’ll hear Robin share lead vocals with Ray Badham. Ray is of the producers who you see in the video above playing guitar and singing in the green shirt. Robin and Ray composed this great song which I’ve now enjoyed 5 times in a row!

image

Ray Badham is an established songwriter for Hillsong Music and has written songs such as Magnificent. Ray was born and raised in PNG as his parents were missionaries and lived there till he was 15.

"The purpose of this album is to resource the churches in PNG in which people can engage with the lyrics and worship God," Robin told me.