James Weaver reports on the eclectic musicality of Dutch world-travelling musicianaries, TRINITY
When Cross Rhythms first wrote about the early albums by Netherlands-based group Trinity, our rather puzzled reviewers classified them "Latin". Indeed, there was a strong salsa element to 2007's 'Inicio', 2009's 'Cada Dia' and 2010's 'Este Momento', though our reviewers were also keen to point out that Trinity brought African and Celtic elements into their wildly eclectic sound. Trinity - consisting of siblings Elbert Smelt (vocals, flutes and saxophone), Johan Smelt (guitars) and Niek Smelt (drums) and friend Bert Bos (bass) - went on to gain interest away from their homeland and have performed at the UK's Big Church Day Out. But it's now, with their latest album 'The In Between' distributed by America's The Fuel Music, with production by multiple Dove Award-winning Ian Eskelin and Barry Weeks, that Trinity's world music expansions are finally finding creative focus.
Speaking about the album Elbert Smelt said, "'The In Between' is an album daring people to let go of ego, certainties and black and white thinking, and encouraging people to jump into the river, the party, the flow and the community of God and his people. I stubbornly hold on to this God-story, that no matter how much I doubt or hurt sometimes, this Gospel is good news for me, for everyone who his hurting and for all of creation. Because we believe in love, we sing with hope and bridge the gaps with joy. Feet in the dirt, eyes fixed on the horizon and our heads in the clouds, we're good at throwing heavenly parties and celebrating unity. We celebrate Jesus because we're on our way home together, like pilgrims."
Trinity have experienced quite the pilgrimage. They started their musical journey under the Trinity moniker in 2004, but for the trio of brothers, their musical origins can be traced back to their childhood. Raised as missionary kids in Peru, the Smelts bartered for lessons on indigenous instruments in exchange for lessons in English, resulting in an organic discovery of Peruvian street music; a key component to Trinity's sound today.
Music is a universal language, its ability to connect with people regardless of race or creed has no equal. This is something Trinity know all too well, in both their incorporation of world music and from the sights they have experienced when performing their music. Elbert references to this when talking about the single "Anthem Of Love" from the album. "We've danced to this song with people from all over the globe at many festivals. One of the most memorable times is definitely at World Youth Day in Panama. Playing for so many believers from all over the world made us realise how we can only experience God's love in unity. Because every person reflects a different aspect of God's love. Just like sunlight is composed of many rays of colours: together all these colours become light."
Trinity continue to record and release albums such as 2011's 'Pueblos Todos (Live)', 2012's 'Qué Mas' and 2014's 'Mundo', but 'The In Between' arrives after a five year wait. Now with a flurry of singles and the release of 'The In Between', the band are finally making inroads into the USA. They recently made their US live debut at Creation Northeast Music Festival, one of the largest Christian music festivals in the country. Elbert said of playing the festival, "We started off by playing at the food court and on the camping site, acoustically, like buskers. People liked it, so we invited them for the evening's dance party at the Worship Stage. Loads of teenagers showed up and we had a good time. At one point, I even got a group of about 10 to dance on stage with me."
Creation Festival Executive Director Bill Darpino added, "There was an immediate connection when Trinity stepped onto the Creation Music Festival grounds for the first time. They are sincere, fun, dynamic musicians that love the Lord and very quickly have you dancing and worshipping as soon as they start their eclectic music experience. It is honestly so refreshing to hear something so new and creative; they truly bring the world to your stage and listening experience. If you have not listened to them, you need to, but more importantly, see them live! It truly is an experience in music and worship that we have not seen in a while that will connect people to the world and to the hope that is in our saviour, Jesus."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.