Expires 5th April
SINGER | SONGWRITER
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Founder, UKG/ UKGospel.com group of sites.
I really didn't want my picture here, but I'm bowing to pressure.
Freelance journalist, all-round nice guy.
Has a weird obsession with international gospel music.
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'...There was a lot of energy and life - but it seems to have gone quiet now..'
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One of George Luke's many media specialisms is perhaps best described as 'international gospel'. In addition to him reporting on all the local and US names you're probably familiar with, he has a particular passion for charting the growth of gospel music in far flung places.
Through the Global Warming series, he'll be bringing news of the global gospel industry, stopping on all of the continents, typically outside the more familiar US scene.
Prepare to read about the Latino gospel explosion, the rhythmic expressions of Africa and the strains of European and Middle Eastern worship music.
As a regular visitor to quite a few of these locations, George's reports are typically first-hand views, recollections and opinions. And even more good news: UKGospel.com's Global Warming is actually good for the planet. The gospel beat - as it were - is turning up the heat, and we're gonna be reporting on it.
Take it away George...
In true 21st Centrury style, George evolves the series by moving from text-based features to podcasts. The good news for you is that you now get to actually hear the music he's writing about...
One of the most worrying aspects of the Western Church is how faintly we grasp that we all live in a global village.
While God does awesome things in China, Brazil, and a dozen other places, the West usually talks of "the Church" in terms of the UK or the US. And the Christian music scene, be it CCM/Pop or 'Urban' Gospel is no different.
A trawl through the Christian bookshop racks will reveal very, very little music that doesn't come from the UK, USA or Australia. In fact, we've been so indoctrinated, many of us sincerely believe America is the only place in the world where you can find gospel music.
Well, Americans may have coined the 'gospel music' phrase; they may also have built it into a multi-million dollar industry, but the concept of singing songs to or about God existed long before America did (see Psalm 150), and is not restricted to any one nationality or musical style.
with George Luke
GLOBAL WARMING PODCAST 1: Soukous
All over Africa (and beyond), Congolese Soukous music rules.
It’s catchy and highly danceable… and many fans would be surprised to discover that there’s often a Gospel message under those nifty guitar solos and dancey grooves.
George discovers the high-energy side of Congolese gospel music, and chats with, Kanda Bongo Man, one of the legends of Soukous music.
GLOBAL WARMING PODCAST 2: Salsa
Born in the nightclubs of 1960s New York, Salsa music is Latin America’s most popular musical export.
In this podcast, George talks to some of the artists bringing El Sabor Latino (the Latin flavour) to gospel music – including legendary ‘King of Salsa’ Richie Ray, and popular Contemporary Christian Music acts Salvador and Jaci Velasquez (pictured with George).
GLOBAL WARMING PODCAST 3: Swaziland
George discovers the popular gospel acts in the southern African kingdom...
And while he was there he also checked out a Kenyan gospel track being used to raise awareness of preventable blindness in Africa.
Global Warming 1 - The Introduction: George sets out his stall for the series and observes how the church sometimes lags behind the mainstream in exploring international music. (Coming soon)
Global Warming 2 - Salsa! El Ritmo Caliente (the hot rhythm): George unearths the Christian Salsa music scene in Latin America. (Coming soon)
Global Warming 3 - Gospel from East Africa: Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. George speaks to East African artists about their experiences both in their home countries and even here in the UK. (Coming soon)
Global Warming 4 - The Original Sound of America. Christianity hasn't got the best historical track record in parts of Native America. George explores how some of the US's first citizens are taking the faith back to the reservations.
Global Warming 5 - Praise Under Pressure. Looking at the persecuted church across the world and the activity of Christians under extremely difficult conditions. (Coming soon)
Global Warming 6 - Winter Warmers. Jack Frost rules in the UK, and George pulls out a few tunes that help through those short, cold days and long dark nights. (Coming soon)
Global Warming 7 - Home Stories. George returns home to Sierra Leone for the first time in a long time, and speaks to people who have just come out of civil war, and he looks at the role of gospel music as Sierra Leone rebuils itself.
Global Warming 8 - ARK stories. So what's the most difficult thing you have to do today? Does it include a 3-hour canoe ride to school...? George talks to George and Lucy Mhondera about their work for the Amazon River Kids charity in the Amazon jungle of South America. (Coming soon)
GLOBAL WARMING PODCAST: Operation Christmas Child, Swaziland
Every year, thousands of schoolkids across the UK fill shoeboxes up with toys and all sorts of goodies.
The charity Operation Christmas Child (OCC) then distributes those shoeboxes to needy children in parts of Africa and Eastern Europe.
George Luke accompanied a team of people who are usually involved in getting the shoeboxes together, to report on what happened as they saw the gifts being distributed in Swaziland. “It was a profoundly moving experience,” said George.