Today's Praise: Singer aims to help Rwanda and change the world
Stars and Stripes March 12, 2006
Changing the world is a big job, but it’s one that worship singer Darlene Zschech isn’t afraid to tackle.
The idea is in the title of her most recent CD and the focus of an upcoming campaign to help the African nation of Rwanda. This spring, the Australian singer launches “Hope Rwanda … 100 Days of Hope,” an effort that springs from a mission trip that Zschech and her family took to the nation, which saw 100 days of ethnic slaughter in 1994.
The impoverished nation has set an example for reconciliation but still struggles with the genocide’s legacy — 1 million deaths that left 15 percent of the country’s children orphaned, according to Hope Rwanda statistics. The campaign will coincide with the dates of the genocide — April 7 to July 15 — and seek to raise awareness, funding and other aid to build homes, schools and wells and supply medical, educational and training assistance. For information, go to the effort’s Web site at www.hoperwanda.org.
The campaign is in perfect sync with Zschech’s new CD — “Change Your World.”
The disc is a well-produced, full-sounding collection of soft- pop praise and ballads. The title track urges the listener to “be strong a little while and live to change your world.”
The CD opens with “You Are Here,” a rich- sounding exploration of God’s ever-present love. An Asian sound dominates the fast-paced “Miracle” as it anticipates a miraculous kingdom of God. “Call Upon Your Name” opens with simple piano accompaniment and rises into a full-bodied praise song.
In “Change Your World,” Zschech’s voice is as beautiful as ever as she explores joy, praise and mission. It’s a perfect match for her efforts to change the world.
On the Web: www.darlenezschech.com.
Trial and hopeWarren Barfield’s soulful voice and insightful lyrics made him one of the top new artists of 2003. His sophomore disc, “Reach,” picks up where his self-titled debut left off.
“Reach” consists primarily of pop ballads, with a few bluesy and funky overtones. Its themes include encouragement, thankfulness and a desire to be used by God.
The songs flowed out of Barfield’s trying experiences of the past two years, including the death of a friend and a large amount of turmoil within the recording labels that handled his music. The songs offer an overall feeling of hope, despite difficulties and mistakes.
The opening track, “I’ll Be Alright,” is a fun, somewhat funky song that expresses thankfulness and confidence in God’s grace. “Head Held High” offers hope because God will still forgive someone who’s a genius at making mistakes. “Come Alive” uses some retro-feeling pop to express praise. The disc closes with the title track, an intimate look at a believer and God reaching out to each other.
Barfield’s vocals, lyrics and music are very pleasant. However, few of the songs offer much spark or edge. Overall, the disc has that good-for-a-rainy-day adult-contemporary feel.
On the Web: www.warrenbarfield.com.
Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.