Sat | Dec 14, 2019

Unshackle gospel music - Pastor bats for Church to embrace non-traditional songs that appeal to youth

Published:Sunday | November 24, 2019 | 12:16 AMKaryl Walker - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Marion Hall

Jamaica’s Gospel artistes are moving more and more into secularly influenced beats to carry across the message of the Church, but for Pastor Michael McAnuff-Jones, the Church needs to step aside now and remove the shackles of traditionalism to allow these artistes to produce music that appeals to the generation of the day.

McAnuff-Jones, who heads the Mentoring a Nation (MAN) initiative, was speaking at a recent Gleaner forum ahead of International Men’s Day when he made the observation that the Church was too stiff-necked and may be stifling efforts to increase the number of young people among its flock by holding hard and fast to traditional values.

“We need to remove these biases to allow our gospel artistes to be free and unfettered,” he said.

McAnuff-Jones pointed to a “conscious music space” in modern local entertainment, which he said was ripe for the picking for gospel acts as many in the so-called secular world were not satisfied with the debauchery of some of the music in the dancehall space.

“This space is occupied by Chronixx, Koffee, and others, There is an opportunity to reach out to others through that medium,” he said.

Gospel acts like Kevin Downswell, Marion Hall, Stitchie, and Papa San all have a strong following and have produced music that has been accepted by lovers of both gospel and other genres of music.

“I believe that the country’s music space is a space where the Church has an opportunity to influence, yes, through music. So we have traditional gospel music, and we have what my grandmother used to call ‘jammer songs’, ‘ragga ragga’ music. I really believe we have an opportunity now to get some of our artistes encouraged. As the Church, we have to ensure that some of the vices that we have which may discourage, that we remove those vices to allow our Christian artistes to sing songs that will get young people to lift themselves and consider who they are,” he said.

He said that such a move could only enhance the mindset of the young men in Jamaica.

International Men’s Day was celebrated last Tuesday.