Tony Cummings spoke to Rosemary Gibbons, whose TMCMUSIC are pioneering the marketing of Latin gospel music in the UK.
One of the most unusual Christian record labels to emerge in recent times is London-based TMCmusic. Here is a label working in a musical area which has previously been ignored by UK Christian retail, that of Latin music. As most Christians in the West know, churches throughout Latin America have been experiencing the fires of revival. What the Church has been slower to realise is that this revival has inspired a veritable flood of God-breathed music. Now TMC, run by Rosemary Gibbons and Nidia Gonzalez, has been launched to bring much of this music to British music lovers. With a large catalogue of almost a hundred releases and with such well known figures in the Latin music world as US-based worship leader Marcos Witt (who has sold an astonishing seven million albums), TMC are determined to break down the wall of ignorance that exists in the UK about Latin Christian music.
Tony: I understand you grew up in Tanzania, East Africa. How did you first get involved in Latin Christian music?
Rosemary: In Honduras I had the privilege of hosting international mission groups, organising massive evangelistic crusades in stadiums, managing an FM Christian radio network and working on foreign TV programme acquisition and scheduling for the Christian TV channel. Through all this my eyes were opened to see how the media and music were powerful tools to communicate the Gospel, revive the Church and influence a nation for good. I saw Christians needed to take back music and media for Christ, to see revival not as a momentary event but a sustained state of being which also restores and transforms lives and even whole nations. All this was happening in the largest church in Honduras where I was working at the time, which had grown from a small group of five people in the red light district of the city to 30 000. Most growth had happened over the last 10 years through the sustained prayers of faith by committed hard working Christians using radio, TV, and dynamic anointed praise, worship and preaching, touching society at every level.
It was whilst working at the church I met my Honduran colleague and TMC co-founder visionary Nidia Gonzalez who was working in public relations and the Communications Department. A journalist by training, Nidia has extensive experience in press, TV and radio. We had a mutual passion for mission, media and music and so we started to pray about what the Lord wanted to accomplish through us.
Tony: So how did the TMC network start?
Rosemary: TMC was born after two years of praying together with my colleague Nidia, and during a fast the Lord revealed the vision: Three M Communications, M for Missions, the heart of the Father; M for Media, a powerful tool to proclaim the message of His Son Jesus; and M for Music inspired by the Holy Spirit to touch peoples lives to heal, save and deliver souls from sin, death and the devil. God impressed upon us that London was the strategic location from which to launch the vision to impact the UK, the rest of Europe and the nations. The vision therefore is to use mission, media and music to impact the nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ. TMCmusic produces, manufactures and distributes music in English, Spanish and other languages. TMC identifies the new "Davids" of today who have the passion to serve God through music with their God given talents and who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. For TMC every CD represents a life touched and transformed by the presence of God. We believe music has no barriers, it crosses generations, race, cultures, it penetrates through prejudice, hard hearts and has the potential to deliver healing, peace and even life itself. Through the Biblical word "JUDAH" which means "this time I will praise him", we believe that God wants to move powerfully in this generation through music. Music with anointing is a powerful testimony and evangelistic tool to bring people into the kingdom as well build up the church. We want to make available Spirit filled music by people who are not just artists or good musicians but Gods chosen ministers. We believe the anointing that is over Latin America which has and continues to cause such revival, growth and witness in so many countries, God wants for his people here in the UK and the rest of Europe also.
Tony: What releases have you put out so far?
Rosemary: Well, we've released four albums in English: 'You Are The One' by Daniel Chua, 'Amazing God' by Marcos Witt, 'The Turns' by Jez and 'Open Doors' by Legado. We also released about 80 Spanish language albums as well as some instrumental releases, a couple of Marcos Witt albums in Portuguese and even one in Japanese.
Tony: Why do you think it is that Latin-orientated music of every type is growing in popularity?
Rosemary: Because it is has such a range of rhythms from salsa, merengue, cumbia, bachata, tropical among others, it's full of passion and it captures the whole human creative expression through involving body, mind and spirit in its rhythms, lyrics and delivery. It's music you want to sing to, dance to, remember and share. When this great variety of rhythms and passion is given over to God then Christian Latin music becomes very powerful in attracting non-believers into God's presence. Music is in the Latin American blood and the Hispanic church naturally uses music in big concerts in stadiums or on the streets to reach out and touch people's lives with the Gospel. When people are tired of words they will listen to music.
Tony: To a Christian bookshop manager who has never heard of TMCmusic and who is already complaining about a ever-growing torrent of CD releases into a small marketplace, how would you describe your particular market niche?
Rosemary: The mindset of the world teaches that you need to see in order to believe, however as ministries and Christian businesses which operate under God's word we need to believe in order to see. TMC would like to encourage bookshops to believe in a bigger market, because they are not simply managing a commercial venture but have the privilege to be light in the darkness. For this reason TMC confidently distributes Spirit-inspired music of all genres and different languages by musicians who demonstrate the purity and power of God in their lives, because what is born of the Spirit will bear fruit. We distribute to Christian and non-Christian outlets believing it is God's purpose and desire to reach everyone with His love. TMC prays for bookshop managers and decision makers to have spiritual discernment and faith to choose the music which God wants to use as His tool to heal, save and deliver, bringing people closer to Him and enabling them to worship Him as He deserves. Remember, the Christian market is the one market that is destined to keep growing!
Tony: There seems to be a bit of international interest in Marcos Witt's 'Amazing God'. Is that so and why do you think this is a significant album?
Rosemary: Yes, the Stadium of Latin America and the USA are insufficient to hold the crowds who want to enter into a time of worship with Marcos Witt to come into the anointed presence of God Himself. It is incredible how 'Amazing God' and every album of Marcos Witt has been a hit but in his own words it's because "all the songs are inspired by the Holy Spirit" - they come to him in the bathroom, at the piano, in a hotel room - he never composes out of his experience but he has an intimate relationship with God. Many songs from 'Amazing God' have already been hugely popular in churches, Christian and secular media in Latin America and the USA. God has used Marcos as one of the pioneers to revive worship in the Latin Church and we have witnessed the fruit of this in the growth of the Church. Marcos' father was martyred at the age of 21 years in Mexico leaving Marcos a small boy of three years. He has grown up with a like passion for mission and he wrote "Amazing God" praying it would impact the English speaking world; now he is Pastor in Lakewood Church, Houston.