In talking with people about worship music, I hear a fair share of critiques. I frequently hear about the content of songs being theologically thin, or that the songs are too much about “me” as opposed to “we.” Where are the songs that are about the people in the Kingdom, about justice, about how we are united together in Christ? I also hear that people are interested in learning songs in different languages, but don’t seem to have access to them.
Enter the Multicultural Worship Collective Album, #1!
Hopefully you’ve heard of the Multicultural Worship Leaders Network Facebook Group. It’s a great group of people who are passionate about worship music that honors different traditions and cultures. These people are creatively expanding the imagination of worship through music through original songs and by teaching. The contributors have lots of fantastic advice to offer, and you can even feel free to vent about your experiences in engaging in multicultural/ multiethnic ministry (within boundaries, of course). If you pose a question or thought to the group there will almost always be a response. I have learned so much from the conversation threads and deep discussions. There are so many resources shared by the people in the group, and there are occasional job postings, too! It’s a great online community.
Now onto the album. This is a great collection of songs from of the thought leaders behind multicultural worship.
Here are some interesting things to note:
Songs that use “we” language. Many of these songs are focused on the collective body of Christ worshiping together as a community. This is refreshing, since there are few songs out there that are like this compared to the number of songs that talk about a personal relationship with God. “We Belong” by Eric Lige, “One Kingdom/Un Reino” by Proskuneo, and “Yallah Yallah” by Evan Rogers explicitly talk about the Kingdom of God and our collective body as worshipers of the Lord. “Yallah Yallah” is an upbeat praise song that requires dancing!
Songs that incorporate different languages. Songs in Korean, Spanish, and English. These are my favorite languages! As well as French, Arabic, Xhosa, Malayalam, and Hindi. I feel that these are done in an accessible way, and are easier to sing.
Songs that pull from different traditions. I can’t help but hear a combination of different genres in each song, like it’s one big musical mashup. For instance, in “Surrender,” sung in English/Korean by Eric Lige and Christine Lee, I hear notes of K-pop, R&B, and African-American gospel. “Yallah Yallah” has Arabic, Hindi, and a mashup of other sounds that I’m sure I don’t even know. “Holy, Holy, Holy” remixes the classic Western hymn to a Cherokee setting, returning back to the traditional melody at the end. Hip-hop, rap, jazz, and African spiritual genres are also on this album… see what I mean?
To be honest, a lot of these songs first sounded foreign to my ears. It serves as a reminder that I’m still narrow-minded and lacking in imagination when it comes to worship music, which points to my narrow mind and limited imagination when I think about what it sounds like to worship the Lord. I also wonder about what it means to be a “multicultural worship leader” and if there is a genre of worship music that should officially be labeled “multicultural worship music” that is more than just about a song sung in a different language. This collective and the music they’ve created have taken a step in the charge to help define some of these terms.
The more I listen to these songs the more I fall in love with them. And I hope you will, too. I love that they’ve titled this album with a “#1,” which suggests there will be at least a “#2.” This is hopeful, and I’m looking forward to more collective albums in the future.
One other cool thing about this collective is that the people are extremely nice! The artists simply want to share their creative expressions of worship with the world, and especially with you. The album is $15, and I think it’s a steal because they will also send you the lyrics and chord charts absolutely free of charge. It goes into supporting the work that they do, so they can continue to create, equip, and teach new worship leaders. AND, because you’re super special for reading this post…
…When you go to purchase this album, use the code “FRIENDOFANGIE” and you will get an extra digital download! That means you get 15 songs for $15 with lyrics and chord sheets! I told you they were nice. 🙂
A big thanks to Josh Davis and Peter Kihyun Park for reaching out and making this great offer. Thanks for all you do!
Purchase “The Multicultural Leaders Network Collective [#1]” for $15 here. Use “FRIENDOFANGIE” and your e-mail address in the comment box to receive a free digital download.
Join the Multicultural Worship Leaders Network Facebook Group here.