AMERICA HONORS FEBRUARY AS BLACK HISTORY MONTH
GospeLive, Sharing the Gift of Gospel Music
When "The Harlem GospeLive Revue" sings, "Jesus Loves Me," somehow you know they mean it.
They may start with the traditionally slow version of the famous hymn, but as they get going, the piano, bass guitar and drums soon follow. With the boom-boom of the drums pulsating across the stage floor, the wonderful voices blend together and increase in intensity and passion.
As they sing the chorus - "Yes, Jesus loves me; yes, Jesus loves me; yes, Jesus loves me; the Bible tells me so," the spiritual energy that comes over the audience seems to soothe whatever problems anyone may be having. For the entire length of the show, the air in the room is cleared and charged with an energy that’s almost palpable.
Nationalities worldwide have been moved through the conviction of Black gospel music and as GospeLive raises their hands in song, I began to understand why I felt myself being moved to tears. Never have I been around a group of singers whose warmth and sincerity of purpose radiated like GospeLive. I had to meet the show’s Producer and Director Maurice Lynch to find out what made his show such an emotionally moving experience. His comments and observations are below.
"When GospeLive sings, it's a spiritual, but also a fraternal feeling that the audience experiences. Often, in the middle of the show I might feel an old gospel song stirring within me that would be perfect to share with the audience, but wasn't rehearsed for the show. I may not be able to stop myself from singing it, the spirit may be just that strong, but by the time I finish the first sentence of the verse or chorus, the cast and musicians are already singing with me! It's a spontaneous event that just seems to captivate and move the audience as much as it does us. It's fraternal, because Gospel music emanates from our soul and it’s the music we've shared and heard throughout our lives as Black Americans, like a soundtrack, or like soul food, but it’s also reverent as we get to share the gift of Gospel with others. It’s a very satisfying experience.” Lynch stated.
Lynch continued, “Black religion and Gospel music for African Americans is very expressive - there are no boundaries within the genre. Our music is an extension of our style as a people. Visit any African American church on Sunday morning and you will see ladies in grand hats and men in sharp suits and you’ll find real “American Idols”, talented, supremely gifted singers from small congregations to modern mega-churches! The music is heartfelt and straight from the soul and an ‘electricity’ is always in the air. It’s been said that Gospel is God’s music and while I totally agree with that, I’ll have to add that African Americans present God’s music in a way that is uniquely our own. Our musical style is a mirror and extension of our creative and fashion sense.”
Maurice encourages all who attend their shows and are touched by the music to develop a greater knowledge of the benefits to be had by extending their vision heavenward and past the music.
As America pays tribute to African Americans during February, Black History Month, a month that honors Blacks for their many contributions to society, the music of the Black American church that makes up Gospel music's core continues to heavily influence the culture and spirituality of a people, a musical genre, and its numerous fans across the globe.
February 2, 2013