Expires Oct 1 2013
ADDED 2 August 2013
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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Back in one of the early UKGospel.com
Podcast episodes the team engaged in
a heated debate.
It centred around the reasons why
many Gospel artists had (and arguably
still have) a very narrow expressive
palette from which to sing about life
It certainly isn't because they lack the
expertise. Far from it.
However chances are your favourite mainstream Christian radio station or TV show rarely offers anything other than reverent music: you know, the songs that mainly deal with the 'vertical', focusing God-ward.
And in many respects, rightly so. That's as it should be.
But where then do we - and in this context, our Gospel artists - go to sing about, explore or engage in discussion about 'horizontal' issues?
The deep and everyday tales of life and living?
I'm willing to bet that your answer - whatever it might be - falls under the category 'outside of church life'.
Whatever the reason might be and however it's transpired, we've somehow ended up with one of the biggest unspoken rules in popular mainstream Christian music:
If you don't bring your full artistic endeavour to bear addressing grand Christian themes (like deliverance and salvation), don't bother showing up: there's a strong possibility you won't get much exposure - if any at all.
Don't get me wrong: I realise these are very broad brush strokes I'm painting: Hip-Hop and RnB have covered stories on life and living for years, and the occasional horizontal song does seep though from time to time.
However the main point here is that much of it doesn't find its way into our 'mainstream'.
Perhaps that's also why the church continues to lose many a promising talent:
This unwritten rule makes it difficult to even acknowledge the existence of the greyer issues of faith, restricting the artist's freedom to chronicle the everyday in a context that may not be overtly connected to faith.
Which brings me to the newest release from Dami Adeoye.
If you know him at all it'll be under his nom de plume 'Mr DaMention', a 24-going-on-25 year-old singer/songwriter/drummer/producer and one of London Gospel's bright talents.
Blue Hearts & Golden Treasures
'Blue Hearts & Golden Treasures' is the latest release in a long line of individual Mr DaMention projects going back quite a few years (he's worked with the likes of Karl Nova and Triple O, to mention just two other names you're likely to be familiar with).
It's telling that when I tweeted him to ask where I could find the new EP his first response was (and I quote): 'these aren't love songs to Jesus though'.
Once again, our unspoken rule kicks in.
Still, this is an extremely strong set. And like the man says: these ain't love songs to Jesus, but something much closer to home.
Blue Hearts & Golden Treasures deals with something more mundane but nevertheless quite universal: the exploration of the love between a boy and a girl.
Yes, folks. These are love songs, plain and simple. If that offends you in some way, look away now.
Here's the shocker, though: young Christians fall in love. And if this our weird convention is to be believed, this process shouldn't be creatively documented anywhere.
Thankfully Blue Hearts & Golden Treasures shows what's possible when this restriction is ignored. This is a collection of lush RnB, a sensitively written and
well-observed slice of life in the best of classic love story conventions: boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy pledges love to girl.
Even the longing pain of waiting to hear back from the girl of your dreams is somehow made pleasurably wistful.
It's all here: the wonderfully high-flown language and the hope of requited love ('The Pearl' and 'More Than Friends' are delicious highlights), and the reckless joy of the early stages of falling in love (wonderfully demonstrated in 'Wear My Love' - Nego True deserves special mention for the spoken word segment).
And since the original release of the EP, an excellent remix of 'The Pearl' has swiftly followed, featuring Triple O (so you know it's going to be quality).
Production is up the usual impressive DaMention standard, and the entire set is draped in a brilliant, mellow sonic atmosphere that works wonders for the subject matter.
In case you're still in any doubt: I not only really like this project, I urge you to download it and give it a listen yourself.
The sooner we can encourage our artists to explore and express the entirety of life and living every which way they can, the sooner the entirety of Christian music becomes all the better, richer and more fulfilling for it...
Blue Hearts & Golden Treasures
New Release from Singer/Songwriter/Drummer/
Producer is an Excellent Departure from the Gospel Norm...
and the UKG Group of sites.
That's really all I have to say...
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LISTEN: MR DAMENTION: BLUE HEARTS & GOLDEN TREASURES (Full EP)