“Music is a language and we have to speak through all the different languages whether its soca or alternative...The message is gospel and the message doesn’t change.” This is how First Church of the Open Bible youth pastor David Charles describes the music on the upcoming album Hope of Nations. Recorded in front of a live audience on at the church Ruth Avenue, San Fernando on August 7, the CD features original compositions by young band members spanning genres from alternative to zouk. Charles, and the other musicians featured on the 12-song album say there’s no such thing as a secular genre. They focus on creating a unique, quality sound that conveys their faith. “I think every church has a culture and culture in this case in not necessarily a calypso genre or a soca genre. Its every church having its own sound, its own style of music. We are a church that has people here who are 30-years-old, five-years-old and we have to cater to all. So that’s why I think our sound is unique,” said Hamilton Durant, musical director.
Durant has been mentioning the church band for more than two decades where he says he tries to impart on youth the importance of both playing by ear and music theory. Keyboardist Reuel Lynch says he looks up to Durant. Lynch and the other members like drummer Chad Ramkelawan and guitarist Kohl Hosein impressed Grammy-award winning veteran sound engineer John Yosh Jaszcz. Jaszcz spent two weeks in San Fernando working with the band last month and will complete the album’s post-production at his studio in the US. “Their musicianship is beyond their years. The compositions are wonderful. They’ve done a great job of both editing the compositions to make them commercial and for a larger market, a world market and that’s the whole point of this record is to bring nations together. They did bring a lot of energy to the project and it will be easier for the music to transcend to real youth and the market they’re looking for,” said Jaszcz. Ramkelawan, who’s been playing drum-set since age three, said there was an extra “umph” youth add to the music that can be heard from intro to outro. Ramkelawan, at 20, is not the only member with vast experience, some members have played with local steel bands or gospel groups and one is a former member of the soca-band Asylum. All players are under 30.
Having youth execute the project was important according to Charles. “The future of the nation is the youths and music is one of their biggest influences. So many times we make music for the youths and its like they’re left out so we thought of bringing them into the mix.” The message in addition to that unique sound is above all says Charles. “Music was made long before us and we’re not bigger than the music, but definitely the message is important and we want to send a current message, a relevant message. To do that we have to be on par with the music that is already playing, not just in Trinidad, but in the rest of the world,” said Charles. “So the aim is not to satisfy a Trinidad population—we’re from trinidad we respect that forever—but God is a God of nations and worship is international and without boundaries. Everybody worships something.”
• Hope of Nations (Gates Praise Music, 2012) will be available in stores and on iTunes October 27. For more information: www.gatespraisemusic.com