When tracing for the roots of gospel music, we name the first superstar Lucifer who was doing music in heaven. Thousands of years later, the King David restored the gospel movement with his harp, remember Lucifer had gone secular.
And gospel music came into the reach of our society about six decades ago with the saints who sang revival hymns which are up-to-date sung in cathedrals.
The chorus hymns have been upgraded into modern gospel art common in church today. Let’s talk about that modernity now;
He is one guy who introduced what looked like worldly music with gospel lyrics in the 90’s. He wanted to pull the attention of the youths who were not in position to lend ear to the then dull piano in the cathedral at the expense of Micheal Jackson’s pop.
His style was shunned by some fanatics especially when he made a collabor with secular artist Robert Kelly for ‘Lean On Me’. We meet such controversies very often when gospel music is given a dancehall tune.
He however was gradually accepted into the system and today, almost everyone has gone Kirk. Thanks for pulling out the borderlines boy!
The change did not stop in Hollywood, but stretched up to mother Rwanda. Here I mean even the Catholic Fathers dance to the rhythm today during their Charismatic services.
The likes of Theo of the ‘Bose Babireba’ fame and other gospel artists do the Afro beat or RnB. Some have even borrowed the Eminem flow and gospel music has at last reached another level.
The debatable part:
Some artists however, local or international go further than necessary in the upgrading and we hardly differentiate them from the secular artists.
When this happens, they arouse controversy instead of pulling more youths to church. I will give you one example though I don’t mean he is wrong.
Mann Martin is one of the most popular gospel artists in town. We saw him in 2005 win souls to God with his single ‘Nfite Urukumbuzi.’
Martin returned with ‘Turashaka Amahoro’ last year, a reggae song that was greeted as a ‘real-life’ track. He went on exploring the rings and later came up with the love-songs like ‘Ibihe’ which were really hot and neither the celebrated Meddy nor Faisal could easily write those lyrics.
Mann Martin says that the reason for mixing secular music with his gospel is the fact that he decided to sing for a living. He also tells us that Love is one of God’s works, which gives him reason for singing about it.
The impact to the church
You have gone to church and seen guys with flashy bling-blings or trendy hair styles, maybe dreadlocks. You’ve also seen choir leaders with micro-minis or tattoos all over and you can’t tell how it came about?
Well, it started with artists like the ‘Makoma’ and Mr. Easy who did gospel music dressed like gangsters. Of course most of us want to go by the ruling fashion and so are our teens who picked the design from there.
Don’t mistake me for a fanatic here, no. I mean, it was non ethical in old times, taking a ‘bad-man’s attire’ for worship until the upgrading came. Well, I suggest we better let it do but not take it to up the spheres of controversy.