I have, time and again, bemoaned over the Kenyan gospel industry. From singing songs that are more or less secular to the singers beefing, there is something definitely wrong. I hear they are now performing in clubs. Of course, they are quick to deem this a form of evangelism but it is just a cover story. Mainstream gospel music ceased being about spreading the word ages ago. Of late, what used to be soothing music has turned to a racket, with gospel artistes competing with secular artistes as to who will produce the biggest club banger. When did we get here?
Still, I am not one for pessimism and I believe we stand a good chance of rectifying what is wrong. I was present at the Don Moen “I will Sing” concert and listening to the pastor cum musician sing, I was like, “Now, here’s real gospel music.” Don Moen has never been far from us who were raised in Christian families. Having listened to his music since I was young, it was a emotional experience seeing him perform live. When he sang, “God Will Make A Way”, you could feel the air radiating with a holy presence, the atmosphere infused with soulful spirituality. His music strikes a chord to the heart and one is forced to rethink his faith. It is the kind of music that uplifts someone. Not only food for the soul but also balm for the bleeding heart.
Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that all Christian music should be soft. Music, after all, is evolutionary and the delivery is secondary to the purpose. This is where the rain started beating us-when we forgot about the original intent of Christian music which is to express personal or communal belief regarding Christian life and faith and in so doing, bring the good news to the masses. If only we went back to this, I believe we would begin seeing the impact of gospel music. It does not make sense that as the gospel industry grows bigger and more popular, so do the morals continue deteriorating.
Gospel artistes need to borrow a leaf from Don Moen and strive to compose music for religious purposes and not aesthetic pleasure or as a product for the marketplace. Maybe then we could begin seeing the impact of gospel music in the society and its popularity with the youth could serve to curb the moral decay. Until then, it will continue being more of a business and less, much less, of evangelism.