Thinking Out Loud

July 15, 2013

Worship In Another Tongue

Paul Baloche releases second French worship album

Paul BalocheIt’s hard to believe, but in many circles, Paul Baloche is still not exactly a household name, though he is in fact responsible for many of our modern worship songs. So vast is his catalog of compositions, that on a Sunday morning four years ago, we took a 2-hour driving listening to his first French language worship album, knowing the words to all but two of the songs in English.  I reviewed that album here. I wrote:

Aujourd’hui nous avons conduit pendant deux heures pour aller à l’église. Dans la deuxième heure, nous avons écouté le Paul Baloche & Friends; une collection de chansons de culte et louange par Paul Baloche traduit en Français et enregistré au Québec.

Okay, I didn’t write a word of that, I got my son to translate it.  About a year later, we got to get out of the house for the first time in years (literally) and attended one of Paul’s concerts. I reviewed that here.  I wrote:

…Admittedly in the middle of a tour that had left some of the band a bit punchy, he later defined what he was doing as trying to blend the worship into the everyday; something about which he believes strongly. My wife put it this way, “I liked that he didn’t take everything seriously, but he knew what to take seriously.”…

…The worship songs were strong; actually it was a kind of worship “greatest hits” evening, to the point where the projected lyrics were redundant…

…My biggest take-away from the evening is that when you subtract the stories and testimony and some of the lighter moments, just about 100% of what was shared was from the Bible. If you want to make your mark as a worship leader, begin in the Word…

But today’s review of his new album requires one more set-up. It concerns a thought I had watching a video of the worship time at InterVaristy’s Urbana conference, which I wrote about here.

But what if some of the songs we sing in heavenly places are songs that we now know, with each one singing in their own language? Think about it, we’ve increasingly seen some of today’s worship choruses transcend the broadest denominational spectrum. And the internet takes songs around the world instantly.

But what of the people who didn’t live in the 21st century?

What if the saints who have gone before us live out their role as a “great cloud of witnesses” are eavesdropping on our weekend services and learning our songs? Do they sing along on some (not all) of them? What if their greatest delight is to hear sincere praise emanating from our lips as we sing the songs which advance the purposes and power of God in our generation?

What if those people who said after a good worship time, “I believe we’ll be singing those songs in heaven” were partly right? What if those who offered, “I believe that was a taste of heaven” weren’t completely off the mark?

All this to say I’ve had some interesting takeaways listening to music where I didn’t understand a word, at least in the language being spoken.

Glorieux - Paul BalocheWhich brings us to Glorieux, the new album. Paul Baloche is one of the hardest working Christian musicians out there. Anyone who follows Paul on Twitter — where he seems to tweet something new every five seconds — was aware of the number of different people who were involved in putting these songs together and making them sound natural in a second language, recording almost right up to the release date.

In the American Christian music market, the second language is usually Spanish. But in Canada, where French and English are both official languages, worship music en Francais is equally rare. Quebec-based worship usually emphasizes the composition itself and ‘feel’ of the song over enhanced production values.

So…what we have in Glorieux is 14 songs including some you know in English (Glorious, The Same Love, King of Heaven, Today is the Day, and some I should have recognized) and some that are unfamiliar all done with a full studio sound and the aforementioned host of vocal helpers. (The first album had all the exterior packaging in English for some reason, making song recognition easier. This one is mostly French, though the cover art describes Paul Baloche and Friends instead of et amis.)

Christian music reviews are rare in a Christian blogosphere that emphasizes book reviews; and to review an album in a language that few of my mostly American readers speak may seem absolutely pointless.

So here’s the point: It’s a big world out there. The Body of Christ is much larger, so much more varied than what we see from our vantage point sitting in North American weekend services. In fact if you’re not taking that summer trip to Paris this year, maybe you should just buy this and let your mind transport you to another part of the bigger, capital ‘C’ Church that worships God around the world. 

In Canada at least, Glorieux is available as a physical CD. For more info check out the album page at Your Music Zone. Enjoy a sample of the title song on YouTube. (Static image video loads at all connection speeds.)  And if you have a francophone friend, you know what to buy them as a gift.

Glorieux (Glorious)
Tu Nous A Sauvés (You Have Saved Us)
Tout Mon Espoir (My Hope)
Roi Des Cieux (King Of Heaven)
Cet Amour (The Same Love)
Nous Sommes Sauves (We Are Saved)
Par Le Don De La Croix (All Because Of The Cross)
Être Près De Toi (Just To Be With You)
Voici Le Jour (Today Is The Day)
Oh Seigneur (Oh Our Lord)
Vois Donc Le Seigneur (Look Upon The Lord)
Règne En Moi (Reign In Me)
Merci Pour La Croix (Thank You For The Cross)


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