- This EDM styled tune has a driving, energetic beat that will make even grandpa get up and dance. Two of the writers, Tommy and Daniel Deuschle say, “We believe this is a call back to courage,” which is reflected in the lyrics and energy of the tune.
A Song Review: “Hallelujah” by Celebrate Africa and Kingdmusic
Celebrate Africa, an afro-dance music collective from Harare Zimbabwe, has teamed up with Denga “Kingdmusic” Takalani of Hillsong Church for the celebration song “Hallelujah”. This EDM styled tune has a driving, energetic beat that will make even grandpa get up and dance. Two of the writers, Tommy and Daniel Deuschle say, “We believe this is a call back to courage,” which is reflected in the lyrics and energy of the tune.
The three verse’s and chorus are in English while the first line of the bridge is in Shona, a beautiful Bantu language of Zimbabwe. There’s no specific scripture reflected in the lyrics; they instead offer general spiritual phrases of praise, common in modern worship music.
The first verse touches on Christ’s sacrifice and our unearned grace. The second is a list of declarations ranging from hope in Christ to his love for us. Verse three has a bit of an identity crisis. It starts by addressing our struggles on earth and ends by referring to reconciliation of sin. Both wonderful truths, but not tied together in the lyrics as strongly as they could be. Perhaps separating them into a fourth verse could remedy that. The bridge and chorus testify to God’s incomparable grace and the hope and trust we can put in his love.
“Hallelujah” has a catchy melody that stays in an octave and a half range. This fits well within an average singer’s comfort zone and is accessible for those who, shall we say, are just making a joyful noise. Its melodic syncopation plays well against the backing tracks syncopation, giving it a sugar-rush of energy.
Musically, it stays within a standard I-iii-V chord structure throughout the song. Although simple, this gives it accessibility for worship leaders at all levels. The recurring chord progression is broken up with instrument breaks, keeping it musically interesting. A little tonal variation would be nice, but overall the accompaniment works.
Pitched as an Afro-beats and victorious dance music fusion, “Hallelujah” does not really fit in the Afro-beats genre. It has a strong EDM vibe with a driving quarter note kick drum and a plucked, syncopated synth that remains throughout the piece in different variations. But it does not have the complex intersecting rhythms or organic percussion you see in most Afro-beats music.
The song is mixed with everything pushed forward, and nothing held back to provide depth or movement. However, with the limited number of elements used in the mix, it is functional. There is room for more musical creativity, but in the end, the mix offers a suitable backdrop to sing and dance to.
Celebrate Africa and Denga “Kingdmusic” Takalani have created a wonderful song of celebration and hope. Its strong melody, sing-ability and EDM vibe make it accessible, danceable, and a high energy addition to any worship leaders’ set.
This song is a celebration and just fun to listen to.
There is room for additional musical creativity and could use a more nuanced mix.
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Christopher Watson is an author of six books, both fiction and non-fiction. He is also a musician and composer with a B.A. in Music from Azusa Pacific University. For several years Christopher led worship at The Springs Church while attending Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas Texas. He's been involved with worship in a number of churches in California and the Pacific Northwest both as a musician and in production and technology. Now he lives and writes in Washington State with his amazing wife, wonderful daughters, and highly intelligent dog, Ellie Mae.