Exciting New Irish Albums being released
Ireland is home to great music, and over recent years there has been an explosion of musicians sharing their Christian faith through their songs and worship music. Here VOX magazine highlights three new Irish albums that are bringing faith to life.
(From the January - March 2019 issue of VOX)
Open Arms Kids
Claire Afolabi is the Kids Pastor in Open Arms Church in Newbridge, Co. Kildare. She shared a little of her story and the inspiration behind the new album from Open Arms Kids.
I’m married to Anthony and we have one son, Brayson. I started attending Open Arms in 2011 and just slipped in and out of services for about two years. I’d been working with children since 2008 so when I finally began to get plugged into church, I decided to volunteer in Kids Church in 2013. I got involved with kids camp that year and that’s when everything changed for me! I encountered God in a very real way and my whole life changed! From then, I began volunteering in Open Arms full time and in 2015, became a member of staff as the Kids Church Pastor. I’ve had a hunger to learn more about kids ministry and anything that I’ve learned I want to share!
For our Kids Camp in 2018, I looked up songs to fit our theme and they just didn’t suit what I was looking for. I was feeding my son a bottle and I just started to sing the chorus of Fully Alive. My husband is a guitarist so I asked him to help me to put music to it and finish the song and we did. It happened so naturally! We recorded the song for Kids Camp and used it there and the kids absolutely loved it. I was blown away by the response.
From then, I was continually inspired at random moments - walking down the street, sitting at traffic lights, etc. I have many voice notes of song ideas on my phone! They blossomed into full songs and they are the five songs from the album! Our Kids Camp this year was music-themed and all the kids, in teams, wrote songs too; so it was the perfect opportunity to put them all together and make them available for everyone. That’s how Fully Alive was born! It’s a modern, upbeat and fun album for kids.
I really want kids in Ireland to be able to listen to kids worship music, from Ireland, that sounds like something they would hear on the radio. Kids have so many outlets to listen to so many genres of music so making songs with a good vibe, a life giving message and a great beat is something that needs to happen to appeal to kids.
The feedback from parents on Fully Alive has been phenomenal. Kids actually ask to play the songs. We need more of that… kids hearing songs in church that they want to listen to at home! Also, our churches need to be equipped with solid kids’ worship songs for services. We look all around the world for songs to use in our kids services but the reality is, the gifting and the talent is in our country, we just need to use it more. I am praying that this will be the first of many kids’ albums for us as a church and that more churches will use these songs or even make their own. Lyric videos and dance motion videos will be on our Open Arms Kids YouTube channel in the New Year.
SHELTER IN THE STORM
Matt moved from Switzerland to Dublin four years ago and is currently serving as a worship leader at Dublin Vineyard Church.
My name is Matt Gudel and I am an upcoming Christian artist from Dublin. Leading worship and song writing have been a part of my life for the last decade. I inherited this, spiritually, from my father, who was a successful and pioneering worship leader. I was immersed in music and worship for as long as I can remember.
My debut album, Shelter In The Storm features ten original pop/rock songs, nine of which are Christian worship songs. Shelter in the Storm reflects my experiences with God on my journey with Him in a very intimate way. Songs like I Depend on You and Nothing is Impossible talk about the possibilities and peace we gain when we fully and constantly place our trust in God.
Ballads like Enough and Centre of My Heart are songs that express the love of Jesus and the importance of the cross; that what He did, defines who we are and that we can be renewed and restored through Him. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that God’s power shines most in our weaknesses. Even in our sin and our inadequacies, God can use us and perform the most significant wonders.
The song You Make Me Whole looks at a time when I felt alienated, unworthy and had many questions about my uncertain future. I think this is something that many people can relate to. In the midst of my unbelief, God’s Word proclaims that His promise of His strength and grace are enough for me to believe again.
The last piece on the album is a bonus track. I wrote this song I Won’t Let You Go in preparation for my cousin’s wedding, inspired by the love two people have for each other and promise to each other to keep this love even in the hard times. The song was initially performed at my cousin’s wedding and later played at my own wedding last year.
I have gone through several seasons in the last few years, especially after moving abroad, but regardless of the circumstances, Jesus has met me in my joy, excitement, need, frustration or sorrow. His embrace and His abundant and powerful grace and blessing have guided me at all times. My experiences with Him give me hope and help me to know Him more. These experiences have now taken the form of lyrics and music on this album.
The Secret of Contentment
Brendan Chpweteka moved to Ireland from Malawi. He uses his music to explore and share his Christian faith. Here he talks about his debut solo album.
My name is Brendan Chapweteka and I am a born-again Christian. I am also known by my stage name, Brendan Hurts - ‘Hurts’ is a direct translation of my surname from my native language, Chichewa. I was born in Malawi and have lived in Ireland for six years. I work in IT and I am also a musician. I believe that God has called me to spread His Word through Christian rap. My music is based on my personal experiences as a young man trying to uphold the Word of God in a modern world.
My album is called The Secret of Contentment. It is my first solo album and is inspired by Philippians 4:12-13. While meditating on these verses, I wrestled with the concept and ‘secret’ of being content in all situations - internally and externally, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want... In a world plagued with struggle and strife, how does one learn to be content? And how can contentment in the Lord be experienced in such trying times?
The Lord spoke to me and inspired the title of the album.
This experience took me on a journey of thoughts and meditations, which developed into an eight-track album comprised of stories, insights and experiences of a person trying to understand how to live a life of contentment, found in God and the person of Jesus Christ
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by producer Nemz at the Shedlabz studio in Dublin. All instrumentals were produced by Divine Sense of Bass & Truth Entertainment, Malawi.