Gospel Music Wake Up Call

Tuesday 8:01 am

Morning in Neskantaga 

I have developed the habit of using my alarm clock to wake up to music instead of the buzzing noise so I thought I might be in trouble when I got here. Not to worry, the radio station is just down the street. 89.9 FM is only radio station you can get; broadcasting from downtown Neskantaga. With a 200W transmitter it can be received anywhere in town. With only 1 family in 3 owning a phone there was a time when it was the only way to get ahold of people, before MSN and the internet that is.

Bonnie says that if they needed to get someone to come to the medical centre; all you had to do is call the radio station and have them announce after the next song.

“Joe, your pills are in. Go the medical centre and pick them up. Now where were we? Ah yes, on with the countdown!” Confidentiality up here is not as big a concern up here as it is down south.

Last night when I went to bed they were playing a live recording of local gospel music. It was pretty good! After finding the station I sat and listened to it for a while. ‘Don’t You Know My Jesus?’, ‘Hold the Master’s Hand’, I was surprised. Duane Moonias is one of the organizers of the radio station and he is quite a fan of Gospel. They were holding a Gospel Music Jamboree last week when the shooting happened.

Brian says that Gospel is one of the more popular genres of music. It is not necessarily considered an expression of faith but instead just one of the musical forms. You have white people music: Rock, Country, Gospel, and you have Aboriginal Music, which is a form of chant with drumming.

For northern people you are no gangster just by listening to hip hop and you are no Christian just by listening to or performing Gospel music.

There is however a significant spiritual connection for the drummers. Drummers are expected to be exemplary citizens. They are to be of the noblest character. You simply could not be a drummer and live a lifestyle that is considered incompatible with that.

Brian thinks that this someday could be an avenue to have a spiritual conversation: There is a gospel lifestyle that needs to be compatible with gospel singing. This Jesus you sing about “is both Lord and Christ…”

I was woken up by the words of Isaiah 9:6 – 9 this morning first in Ojibway, then in English:

For to us a child of hope is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

…Next Blog Entry


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