On Sunday January 20, The Prayer House band was officially launched in a live music concert at The Prayer House in Kicukiro.
The event’s profile was raised a notch higher by performances by Christafari, a U.S Christian reggae band.
About 10 worship leaders and 15 musicians make up The Prayer House band. It becomes the third gospel band under The Prayer House, joining Beauty For Ashes, and Alive and Free bands.
“When we started in 2010 as just Beauty For Ashes band, we would play in different places and would meet young people, some of who had bigger talent than we in the band had. They would ask if it was possible that they could join the band. For a while, we didn’t know how to help them,” explains Olivier Kavutse, the co- founder of The Prayer House ministry, and founder of Beauty For Ashes band.
In December 2013, The Prayer House organised a three day youth conference dubbed, Alive And Freed. The conference featured a wide range of speakers, local Christian celebrities and performers, including Burundian drummers, hip hop dancers, gospel singers, comedians, actors, and spoken word artists.
“After the conference, some of these young people came together and formed Alive and Free band,” Kavutse reveals.
However, the creation of Alive and Free band only did solve part of the problem, Kavutse explains.
“When Alive And free came up, many young people again approached them asking to join and record music together. We kept wondering how we could incorporate them in what is happening in our creative processes. Then we asked; why don’t we start a band that actually includes everyone?”
According to Ishimwe Christian, aka Chrisau, the music producer at The Prayer House and brains behind the new band, each of the three bands has curved out its own identity.
“Each band has its own sound and style they do. The Prayer House band will be like a blend, and will be more of worship performances. The Prayer House band also has more musicians.”
For his part, Kavutse explains that the ten worship leaders and 15 musicians in The Prayer House band “are the ones that are ready –to lead worship or write music, but our plan is to continue to build more worship leaders and create more musicians.”
He added: “The other bands are still there, but we have now a community band whereby all of us can meet there and create together and give a chance to other people who are not part of Beauty For Ashes or Alive And Free. We include everyone in our Prayer House community.”
“The main difference will be in styles. The Prayer House band will be writing lots of worship songs, both in Kinyarwanda and English, so that we can continue to grow the church globally and nationally. Usually when Beauty For Ashes and Alive And Free write songs, most of the time we target young people. But the songs that Prayer House will be writing will be songs for everyone, for people who have been through different seasons in life.”
Asked what the criteria for joining the band is, Chrisau explained.
“You first join the community. When you join the community you eventually find your way. If you’re into music you’ll know. One of our goals is to raise new musicians, so those who want to learn, we teach and mentor them, and eventually they will join the band.” He adds that the band will be performing mainly at The Prayer House community’s worship sessions, “but will also perform elsewhere on special invitation to go lead worship, because it’s not just in house, it’s also for the people outside.”
New as it still is, the band has already secured two invitations, one to perform in Kenya in April, and later in the year in Uganda.
As the Prayer House community we meet every Monday night for worship and most of the time we do live feeds, so when we sing, people see. Even before we had made any official communication that we are a band, people already knew that we’d been leading worship and impacting people worldwide,” added Kavutse.