STYLE: Gospel RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 93587-16692 LABEL: SGC 7090022470014 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2010-04-01 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by David Faulkner
On the surface, a region of northern Europe known for blonde-haired people is not the likeliest location for the continuation of the black gospel choir tradition. But Scandinavia has an honourable history in this cause, from Choralerna in the 1970s to the Oslo Gospel Choir in more recent years. To these serried ranks now add the Stavanger Gospel Choir. Yes, at times even the most passionate of European voices sounds a tad unconvincing vamping lines like "You've been mighty good to me", but the choir engaged American crew Light Of Love to co-produce and co-write this album, and it's a worthwhile partnership. Songs like "Thank You" even evoke the grand tradition of Andraé Crouch and the Disciples in their feel. And while several tracks fall into the category of what might best be classified as 'performance worship', others such as "Rejoice" might well be adapted for congregational use. Mostly the album is uptempo, with dynamic, engaging songs, but it then ends on a gentle gospel ballad, "In His Eyes". Overall, this 2008 Norwegian release keeps the listener engaged.
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Stavanger Gospel Company from Norway have worked on the CD project It’s Amazing for more than a year.
The CD is a collaborative project between the choir and Chicago artists Anita Holmes and Light of Love. The two groups met ‘by accident’ after Light of Love were on tour in Norway and Sweden.
Anita Holmes explains: “Our flight was supposed to go through Oslo, but the flight was sold out, and so they rerouted us through Stavanger.”
Light of Love performed at a church while delayed in Stavanger, and then agreed to meet the choir and listen to their songs. “We had a really nice session with the group and their musicians, and we had about two hours to sing together and work together.” After the session, the two groups agreed to keep in touch.
The Choir travelled to Chicago in 2009 to record some of the songs and for a number of concerts for the Salvation Army in Oak Brook and to visit Light of Love’s home church - New Life Covenant Oakwood.
The album contains twelve songs, of which nine have been written by choir members. It has been recorded and mixed both in Norway and the US.