Posts Tagged Swahili

New songs from Congo and Kenya

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 in the near future.


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Video from last weekend’s African Cultural Emphasis Sunday

Christelle Mukendi (the second singer from the left) uploaded these videos onto youtube. Thanks, Christelle!

“Il est Bon De Louer Dieu” was a new song for our church. It’s basically about how God is good and he is able to hear our cry for help – so why not call on him?

“Ta Grâce” was also a new song. I found this one on iTunes and it appears to be from a French group called “Glorious” (They’re kind of a Hillsongs type sound.) It’s a nice balance of simple for the Americans and yet packed with “son-ship” truth that we like to use at the beginning of our services.

At this point in the service, we sang “How Great is Our God” in French with choruses at the end in English and Lingala.

“Eh Yawhe Kumama” is a BIG hit from the DR Congo. It was written by my friend Athoms in Lingala and our church has come to really love it. Here’s the clip of Athoms and his group doing this song. “Yawhe Kumama” means “Lord, be glorified.”

“Anyataka” is crowd-pleaser that we learned last summer from Athoms. It is a celebration of our victory in Christ over satan. Athoms called the style “folkloric” and the language is Lingala.

“Nitamwimbia Bwana” or “Ameniona” is another favorite of our congregation. It’s in Swahili, and Rachel is seen here leading it, but we know that it is sung in the DR Congo as well.  “Ameniona” means He sees me. You can get sheet music for this song is on

“Yesu Azali Awa” is an older, traditional song that is sung at almost every Congolese worship service that I’ve been a part of. It’s in Swahili as well. We opted to sing this more simply with voice and percussion as we were taking the Lord’s Supper. The song says, “Jesus is here, Jesus is life, Jesus is light, etc.”

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African Gospel Lyrics | Praising the Lord… African style!

African Gospel Lyrics | Praising the Lord… African style!.

Check out this awesome blog I found. The blog features 2 or more new songs a day with embedded youtube clips and lyrics. From what I’ve seen, most of the songs are in Swahili or Zulu but there are songs from all over Africa. English translations are often included.

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Why Worship has been REALLY good lately

I’ve had a few comments lately that our worship services have been particularly good lately. I’m not sharing this to “blow my own horn” because if you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you know that it’s not about me. People will say to me, “Worship was sooooo good this Sunday!” I always say thank you, and then I usually say, “I know;  it was awesome, wasn’t it!” That’s my way of subtly reminding them that the worship service is something I am participating and experiencing in much the same way that they are. I know what we’re singing before hand and I am of course leading the song, but I am still just another member of the “congregation” of people who are sharing the experience of God’s presence and remembering His grace together.

Lately, I’ve been having this conversation more often. Why has it been so good these days? Is there a new group of skilled leaders and musicians? Not really, it’s just the same ol’ folks with a few fresh faces. Have I been praying and communing with the Spirit more? I wish that I could say that I have.

I think that a lot of it stems from a deeper sense of humility that our congregation has been experiencing. Some humility is coming as fall out from some ministry failures that we experience a few years ago. Humility has also come as a result of some broken relationships. Our hearts have been broken as we see a faithful servant and friend in our church battling stage 4 cancer. All of us, especially those who are in the music team, feel this growing sense of the fear of God’s sovereignty mixed with a deeper longing for the resurrection and the liberation from the curse of sin. This is exactly what produces good worship: broken hearts, desperate dependence on the cross, a longing to hold on to the unchanging hand of our beautiful savior.
The band might be a little more rockin’ and the singers a little more unrestricted in their praise. But, it’s not because we’ve been practicing any more than normal. We are just feeling a little more dependent on Jesus to be our Lord.

A song we sang this morning says it all:

Mambo sawa sawa Yesu akiwa ezini, mambo sawa sawa

Translation: Things are already better with Jesus on the throne, things are already better.

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