Turn up the turmeric! Is worship music the latest thing to be globalized?

In the genre of worship music, are we missing the taste of diversity? Sue Rinaldi offers some thoughts from a recent trip to India…

Earlier this year an opportunity to lead worship and speak at an Arts gathering in India was very exciting for me. I love the food, the people and exploring the fascinating cultural changes that are happening fast…but more importantly, I was enthusiastically expectant about the music. I imagined a rhythmic-fusion between East/West, a cross-cultural mash up of indigenous and established ‘rock’ instruments plus vocal cords re-arranging syllables and sounds in ways that my more western perspective delights in…

As I observed and participated in various worship encounters, each passing day brought another dose of a style I can only label as ‘Hill-Jesus Song-Culture’ . Please hear me, I am saying nothing negative about Hillsong or Jesus Culture – on the contrary, I am thankful and full of respect – BUT deeper questions emerged. Where is the authentic, indiginous, ancient enriched, future-innovative, musical voice of India? Do they not believe they have something unique to nurture and express?

On a wider scale, I wonder if the globalisation of worship music for mass consumption is silencing and surpassing cultural stylistic differences – and so it’s goodbye to geographical creativity and diversity and hello to ‘the worship brand’. The ultimate conclusion will be that wherever you collectively worship in a contemporary fashion, the same song, style and delivery awaits! I am aware that influence plays a big part and there is nothing wrong with being inspired by other people, genres and sounds but if it represses the authentic indigenous expression or sub-conciously infers that ‘THIS one way is THE way’ – then we will all become victims of creativity-theft.

We are born originals and God’s design is infinitely vast and diverse! These are two things I intentionally try and remember whenever I travel to train and encourage the creative class so that a ‘one-single-currency’ does not operate within the global sound of music!

This post was written in response to Imported vs Indigenous Worship.

What do you think? Please comment in the box below.

Sue Rinaldi is a singer/songwriter, worship co-ordinator, observer, creative consultant and author. She blogs at Apocalipstick.