Posts Tagged Africa
Two weeks ago, we had another African worship service at New City Fellowship. I enjoyed working on the service, but Friday night before the rehearsal, I got to experience the stomach bug that’s been going around. So even though I was out for the rest of the weekend, I wanted to share two of the songs that we added to the repertoire that weekend.
Moyo is from Congo and in Lingala, it’s basically saying, “Greetings Mother, Father, Youth” in the chorus. The verses say, “You can’t get to heaven by your riches, wisdom, strength, but you have to be changed by Jesus.”
Amenitendea is supposedly a classic song in Kenya. My wife says she remembers singing the song when she lived there as a missionary kid. In Swahili, it’s saying, “He has done it for me!” and the following verses go into what he’s done: “Saved me, blessed me, etc.” and then it’s offering praises.
I hope to have charts for both of these up on ncfmusic.com in the near future.
I’m excited to share with you about an opportunity that I have to go to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. My church, New City Fellowship sends a team to Kinshasa every year to maintain relationships with pastors there as we work on building health clinics and caring for orphans. These relationships developed as Congolese immigrants became part of our church family in St Louis, and we began to share their concern for the welfare of the DRC. Our vision is to partner with churches in Kinshasa to encourage each other in the gospel of Jesus Christ to walk in the light of the kingdom and to produce good works of love and mercy.
Whenever we hear about the D.R. Congo in the States, we usually hear about the violent civil wars or the widespread poverty. However, despite its hardships, the D.R. Congo produces unique and exciting forms of music known as Soukous and Rhumba. The Congolese style of virtuosic guitar playing has garnered fans all over the world, and is a technique that I aspire to master. Every year, when the New City Fellowship team returns from Kinshasa, they share with me stories of amazing musicians and passionate worship that defies the suffering in which it is born.
Last summer, I had the opportunity to meet with Athoms Mbuma, a pastor and musician from Kinshasa. Athoms and his wife are members of Le Groupe Adorons L’Éternel or G.A.E.L., a band of musicians who produce the best known worship music from the Congo. Athoms led songs in our worship service, gave a special concert, taught a clinic on Congolese music, and even gave me a guitar lesson. I was very blessed to meet Athoms for his skill, his faith, and his encouragement. Before he returned to Kinshasa, Athoms invited me to come visit him and to experience Congolese worship at its source.
The door has opened for me to accept that invitation by traveling to Kinshasa with the New City Fellowship team from May 25-June 6. In addition to pastors and medical professionals, we will have two other musicians on the team, Tony Myles and Suzanne Bates. We hope to both learn more about Congolese music and to share some about American music at a 3 day pastor’s conference. Pastor Athoms plans to return with us at the conclusion of our visit in order to have a special concert and worship clinic in St Louis.
Obviously, we need your prayers for safe travel and for spiritual fruit, but we also need financial help. This trip will cost $3000 for each member to travel. My family and I will use $1000 of our personal funds toward the costs, but we need your help to cover the additional $2000 which would be possible if 40 families gave $50 each. If you would like to contribute, please write a check to “NEW CITY FELLOWSHIP” with “WARD-CONGO” in the memo and send it to New City Fellowship, 1142 Hodiamont, St Louis MO 63112.
I’m swamped with extra work these days which is why my blog is being neglected. Here’s some of the stuff that’s going to rock about October (dare I say it – “ROCK-tober”):
October 3 – The Congolese Sunday
We’re going to stack the deck in favor of Congolese music and musicians. We’re even going to have the French house church basically function as the vocal team. It’s an experiment in reconciliation. We’ll be singing in French, Lingala and Swahili. If you’ve been to our church, you know that we usually sing one or two songs from African origins every Sunday. This Sunday will be a big shock for some. Here’s a taste:
October 8-10 – NCF Church Retreat
Our annual church retreat is a great time to relax, meet people, and jam for Jesus in the back woods. We usually have an opportunity to worship in a more informal and extended context at some point in the weekend. I look forward to that time to pull out all the songs that people love to sing with gusto. Let’s not forget the S’mores, too.
October 16 – NCF Choir rehearsals begin!
I am especially looking forward to this year’s choir season because for the first time, we’ll have a part-time choir director! Odetta Fields has accepted the position and I am confident that she will do an excellent job. We’ve already got the tunes for fall picked out and we’re totally pumped about what’s in store. I am hoping that being free of the leadership of the choir, I’ll be able to sustain more focus on the general aspects of worship and music shepherding. Here’s a taste of one of the choir tunes we’ll be singing. Notice the tasteful use of stage ferns in the clip:
October 20 – Jammin’ for Justice 2
I’ll be playing a short set of solo jazz guitar at this event for my friends, Joshua and Taylor Saleem. Hudson and the Hoodoo Cats are the headliners. Here’s some info from facebook:
MCU (Metropolitan Congregations United) for St. Louis presents a night of live music, food and fun to highlight our recent victories and to thank business and civic partners for their continued support for justice in our City. Featuring music from Hudson and the Hoodoo Cats, and food and beverages from Schlafly Tap Room. Fabulous silent auction and raffle along with great door prizes. Tickets are $30 each or $50/pair. Contact Kim Smith for tickets (314) 322-2389.
October 23 – Restore St Louis Benefit Dinner
The NCF choir will be singing a few tunes for the RSL crowd. I’m glad that we can be part of supporting this event. I’m working on a choral arrangement of the Compassion Art Project’s, “You Have Shown Us”.
October 31 – PCA Reformation Service at Chesterfield Presbyterian.
Despite the fact that Mike Honeycutt will be preaching, Chesterfield is hosting, and the choir anthem is my dad’s tune, “Who Can Separate Us?” I will not be in attendance. (It’s Halloween night, people! Is it wrong to skip the celebration of the Reformation by participating in a enculturated, glutonous, semi-Catholic holiday whose origins stem back to pagan rituals?) Here’s a taste of what I’ll be doing:
Here’s a video I watched online today about the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is a community of Congolese immigrants in our church. I’ve grown to love Congolese music and worship. Please cry out and mourn for the Congolese people. Our Father sees from heaven, and His kingdom will prevail against the gates of hell.
Joshua Saleem sent me a link to this article from Bass Player Magazine. It’s great to see that they are going to highlight the skill and unique voices of various African countries in a series of articles. Guitar players: I did a search on the Guitar Player Magazine for “African” but came up empty handed. You’ll have to just check out this guy.
an African Celebration
Music and Food celebrating the work of the Spirit in the unity and diversity of the African communities at New City Fellowship
New City Fellowship (cafeteria)
1483 82nd Blvd STL 63132
Here’s a cool video from John Houmes. He and a few other folks from our South City worship site took a trip to several west African countries. This video is from a Lutheran church in Liberia.
Vodpod videos no longer available.