When people ask me about my heritage, I proudly proclaim, "I'm Italian." I've got an Italian grandmother whose meatballs would put an Iron Chef to shame. My family is big and loud. We are proud to be Italian. I'm also part Irish. After listening to Rend Collective, a folk-worship band from Ireland, I quickly identified more with my part-Irish roots.
I first heard Rend Collective a few years ago (back when they were the Rend Collective Experiment), when they opened up for Chris Tomlin at a concert I attended. This past March, I had the privilege of seeing them again, this time they were opening for Kari Jobe. Their lead singer, Chris Llewellyn, is an anointed worship leader that has the ability to turn a lifeless group of South Floridians into hand-clapping and foot-stomping Irishmen (and women). During intermission, I quickly bought their latest album, The Art of Celebration, before it was released to the public on March 18. The album lives up to its name, as it certainly is a celebration.
Rend Collective lets their Irish origins boldly show throughout the album. <<Click to Tweet
The first two songs, “Joy” and “Burn Like A Star," are classic Irish-folk songs, complete with finger-style guitar, claps and stomps, tambourines, a banjo and accordion. “More Than Conquerors” is a tune sung in 6/8 time, which makes it feel waltzy and inspires the listener to dance. While “All That I Am” is a stripped-down song with acoustic guitars and beautiful vocals, inspiring the listener to sing. Later on, “Create In Me” returns to the Irish upbeat style and sound with lyrics that echo King David’s cry in Psalm 51.
Create in me, a clean, clean heart. Create in me a work of art Create in me a miracle. Something real, and something beautiful.
While Rend Collective stays true to their roots, they are not afraid to embrace modern, western musical styles. << Click to Tweet
In “Immeasurable More,” they incorporate synths and electronic beats, with a catchy hook. They even include a remix of "Joy," the first song, to close out the album, which boasts a techno beat and synth lines that sound like a song on top-40 radio.
My favorite is the third song, and their single, "My Lighthouse." In it, they sing,
You are the peace in my troubled sea. My Lighthouse. My Lighthouse. I will trust the promise. You will carry me safe to shore.
I love nautical imagery and can't help but sing this catchy melody every time I see a lighthouse. This song is so great, that it’s included twice on the album: the second time as a live recording.
The title track, “Boldly I Approach (The Art of Celebration),” is a powerful anthem that appears towards the end of the album. As both a worship leader and a worshipper, I love to sing along with the bridge.
This is the art of celebration, knowing we’re free from condemnation. Oh praise the One, praise the One, who made an end to all my sin!
Every time the CD finishes, I feel a little bit prouder to be Irish. I also feel like I have thoroughly celebrated and boldly approached the throne in worship. I’m confident that anyone, Irish and non-Irish alike, would enjoy listening and singing along to this album.
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Denise, Music Editor here at Circles of Faith, is a native of New Jersey, full-time worship leader, mentor, designer, and blogger based out of Fort Lauderdale, FL. She desires to use her voice to inspire others to seek healing and pursue restoration of broken relationships.
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