I have never been the least bit religious, despite having a Catholic convent education. Yet in my youth when I went to the cinema I always found the scenes where someone got up in church and sang gospel music exhilarating and wondered why the church my parents took me to didn´t have that kind of music.
In my teens, I ventured into several churches and although still not interested in the religious side of things I loved the music of the Baptist Church. Where else could a teenager listen to popular music of the day like “Oh Happy Day”? I didn´t know anywhere where the choir master would wave his arms in the air while leading the congregation as they sang out their praises to God – it felt like the music I had seen in American films and this was the start of my love affair with “black gospel”
You can understand then why every year I get excited when the Gospel Choirs come to Tenerife, for me they herald the build up to Christmas. Last night, I went with OH and a friend to see the London Community Gospel Choir perform at the Auditorio Infanta Leonor in Los Cristianos. The group was formed by the Rev. Brazil Meade, often referred to as the father of British gospel music and they have performed alongside some of the biggest names in show business, including George Michael, Kylie, Sting, Elton John, Puff Daddy, Mariah Carey, Blur, Gary Barlow, Westlife, and Tina Turner.
Because they are performing their 30th Anniversary Christmas tour around Europe, and the other Canary Islands, we had only a small group entertain us in Los Cristianos, which consisted of the Rev Bazil, himself, 4 female singers and their drummer Leon. Boy the amount of noise these guys made you would have thought there were a hundred of them on that stage.
Every seat was taken or perhaps it would be better to say every seat was sold but we spent a lot of time standing up, waving our arms, clapping and shuffling to the beat of the music. This show is the definitive in audience participation, we sang along to Amen, Amazing Grace and then of course a whole heap of Christmas Carols. Our evening was phenomenal.
Several of my friends have been amazed that I would go to what they think of as some sort of religious entertainment, as one said “was there a preacher casting out Beelzebub”? No there was not but as well as gospel music, there was swing, blues, soul and even a hint of Beatles, making it a great night out for everyone, not just gospel fans, so Praise the Lord! and bring on the next show.