New album breaks mould for Gospel Music
01 March 2017
A unique collection of music representing social consciousness through the gospel genre has been produced to move away from the traditional gospel ‘praise’ music, which focuses on social and political justice.
The Jamaican Bible Remix is a conceptual musical collection by Professor of Theology and Culture in the African Diaspora at Canterbury Christ Church University and broadcaster, Robert Beckford. The album samples audio from Di Jamiekan Nyuu Testiment(The Jamaican New Testament), and combines it with themes from black liberation theology, and component sounds of music from the black British music canon.
Diverse genres from the black British music scene, such as UK Soul, Drum n Bass, Grime, and Jazz, embellish the album. However, genres are chosen carefully to underline particular theological meaning imbedded in each song. One track used for the album, Magnificat, intersects black feminist theology and historical examples of black women’s political practice. The lyrics and narrative of the song are supported by, ‘the only genre ever created for black women in Britain,’ Lover’s Rock.
The Jamaican Bible Remix was produced by Tony Bean at 5AM Records and features guest performances from Birmingham talent including, Jazz saxophonist, Soweto Kinch, rappers, Juice Aleem and Justice Ennis, soul vocalists Darren Ellison and Jerome Bucknor, reggae-dancehall DJ, Witness, and finally opera soprano, Abigail Kelly.
Professor Beckford said: “The collection has two aims. The first is to demonstrate that gospel music can be more than ‘praise’ music: it can also reflect critically on the historical-social world, and gesture towards new or ignored Christian practices. The second is to foreground the Di Jamaican Nyuu Testiment.However, we do more than just promote this version; we also place it in conversation with the postcolonial interpretations, which pervade the collection.
“This conversation has many aims, but none more important than affirming different postcolonial theological viewpoints, the necessity of African and African Caribbean diasporas in Britain using their native tongues to help them reinterpret, rethink and act out anew the word of God.”
The collection, made with the support of The Bible Society, was launched at The Rock New Testament Church of God at the weekend and is free to download from the Canterbury Christ Church University Theology webpages.
Notes to Editor
Videos of two of the singles from the collection are available on YouTube. These are The Incarnation: no blacks, no Irish and no dogs and The Magnificat.
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.
With 17,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.
- 95% of our UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
- We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.
*2013/14 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey