US publication, Worship Leader Magazine recently released their Top 15 Worship Releases of 2012. As someone involved in worship music, I was naturally interested to see what was on their list.
It was pretty much as I expected, made up mostly of the big names in the worship scene along with a couple of surprises. However, what struck me most about the list was that only two of them were from outside of North America. I had expected most of the list to be US artists, but I had hoped that there would be a good representation of international releases too. The two non-American artists to make the list were the Rend Collective Experiment from Ireland, and Hillsong from Australia. As a worship leader and songwriter based in Asia this is obviously a bit disappointing. I’ve nothing against any of the albums they’ve listed, but I think it’s a shame that some of the great worship music from around the world too often gets overlooked or ignored.
So I’ve decided to get proactive and put together my list of 10 of the best ‘international’ worship releases from 2012. My hope is that people will see this and be exposed to some great worship music from around the world. And if anyone from Worship Leader Magazine is reading this, it would be great to see some more international artists represented next time, or even a whole list like this dedicated to the best worship releases from around the world.
Here they are in no particular order:
True Worshippers (Indonesia) – Favor Live
True Worshippers are an amazing worship ministry based in Jakarta in Indonesia. One of their worship leaders, Sidney Mohede, has recently been making waves around the world with his songs being sung but artists like Israel Houghton and at the Hillsong Conference in Sydney. This latest live worship release features songs in both English and Bahasa Indonesia.
Stand out song: Come Awake Oh My Soul
Parachute Band (New Zealand) – Matins: Vespers
There probably isn’t a more hard working worship band than Parachute Band. These guys tour the globe relentlessly leading worship and are some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. I love the ethos of Parachute Band – they take the best worship songs being written in New Zealand and record and release them to the world. ‘Matins: Vespers’ is as good if not better than any modern worship album being released anywhere today.
Stand out song: Keep the fire burning
Ben Cantelon (UK) – Everything in Colour
Ben is part of Worship Central based in London and is helping to spearhead the next generation of modern worship in the UK, and his songs are sung in churches worldwide. ‘Everything In Colour’ was recorded in Nashville and carries that recognizable worship sound and contains some great songs that are perfect for singing in church.
Stand out song: New Day
ICF Basel (Switzerland) – Gottpop
ICF Basel is an international church based in Basel, Switzerland. You’ve probably never heard of them and that’s a shame because I believe they are making some of the best worship music on the planet right now. ‘Gottpop’ is a mix of songs in German and English and sounds like no other worship album I’ve ever heard. A mix of indie rock, electronica and 80s pop, this probably the most exciting worship album I’ve heard in a long time.
Stand out song: Hope
Joshua Band (Taiwan) – Let Love Win
Joshua Band are a worship band based in Taiwan who release albums in Mandarin that are a mix of original and well known worship songs from around the world. Think of them as Asia’s version of the Newsboys. Their latest album, ‘Let Love Win’, sees songs from popular western artists such as Bethel, Planetshakers, Gateway and others, given new arrangements and recorded in Chinese.
Stand out song: Jesus at the center
The Remission Flow (Ireland) – The Light That Floods
There’s something about the Irish and music that just makes it sound good. These guys have just released their first full-length album under new label, 7 Core music, and it’s full of musical surprises that make it stand out from the usual worship stuff.
Stand out song: Your Word
Hillsong (Australia) – Global Project
I love the international nature of this project – Hillsong combining efforts with other international worship ministries around the world and to record 9 albums in 9 different languages, including some of the most loved Hillsong songs.
Stand out song: 祢 (You)
Nikki Fletcher (UK) – All Glory
Nikki is also part of Worship Central in London, having previously been a worship leader at c3 church in Sydney. This release features 6 heartfelt songs including the title track ‘All Glory’ that has featured on the Worship Central live album, ‘Spirit Break Out’.
Stand out song: Wait For You
Kees Kraayenoord (Holland) – Running Into Love
Kees (pronounced Case) is a Dutch worship leader, well known in the Netherlands for his songs, and has recently been making a noise in the UK with his co-writes with Martin Smith, Tim Hughes and others. His latest album, ‘Running Into Love’, features 12 songs all recorded in English.
Stand out song: Saviour’s Song
Diante Do Trono (Brazil) – Creio
Diante do Trono (meaning Before the Throne) are from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The group is led by worship leader Ana Paula Valadão. Although most of us have probably never heard of them, they have recorded 25 albums and sold over 8 million copies worldwide. They sing in Portuguese and are definitely worth checking out.
Stand out song: Canta Minh’alma
Did I miss any? List your favourite international worship release from this year in the comments section below.