As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
A young Spanish film director documents the work of six Gospel choirs. The genre has grown far beyond evangelical churches.
Trying to capture its recent history, Guillermo Roldán, a young film director, has just presented the documentary "Gospel music in Spain", in which he interviews several musical directors of some of the country's best-known Gospel choirs.
"I wanted to show the peculiarities of some representative choirs that we have in our country. Some have a long history and others have begun recently; some are in big cities, others in smaller provinces... Each one is unique and it has some peculiarities", Roldán explained.
GOSPEL, MUSIC ABOUT FREEDOM
"Many people start to do this music without understanding where it comes from, who has written it, and under what conditions", says the director of the Gospel Choir of Madrid at the beginning of the documentary.
The director of the Gloria (Glory) Gospel Choir, explains: "Gospel music started as a expression of freedom, as a statement of principles of people who understood the true message of the gospel, unlike the masters who oppressed them."
SHARING THE GOSPEL THROUGH MUSIC
Almost all Gospel choirs that appear in the documentary began with some punctual performances, and then continued as something more permanent.
"There was not a single Gospel choir in Spain, and we had a great interest in showing this type of music, and above all to use it as a way to open doors, to overthrow prejudices, and to be able to sing the gospel in many places", recalls the director of the Gloria Gospel Choir, which was founded 23 years ago.
Almost all members of the six choirs in the documentary are not profesionals, and they have to find time for rehearsals, which is not always easy. But all of them agree on the priviledge they have of using their passion “to praise God and share our testimony with others.”
“A NEW GOSPEL CHOIR ALMOST EVERY WEEK”
Gospel music has become very successful in Spain at a secular level. "Many people call us because they want a Gospel choir at their wedding, or family events, and when we do concerts, the theaters are full of people who do not believe in God", says the director of the Segura Valley Choir of Murcia.
The boom of Gospel choirs has been very visible in cities like Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia. "In Madrid, there is a new [secular] Gospel choir almost every week, because it is something trendy now, many want to sing in a choir”, the director of the Madrid Gospel Choir explains.
“GOSPEL MUSIC CONCERTS ARE INTENSE”
"The experience of a Gospel concert is an experience of worship, of praise, of feeling used by the Lord, of feeling that the Holy Spirit is using that moment to touch people, it is very intense", the Gloria Gospel choir points out.
"It is very different from any other concert, because we are transmitting something spiritual, lyrics inspired by the Bible and the personal faith of people who suffered very hard things, and through their personal relationship with God, were able to overcome them."
“GOSPEL MUSIC IN SPAIN IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK”
Roldán believes that Gospel music in Spain "has a much a great journey ahead." It can have a "significant presence in cultural circles outside of mainstream music, where it can have a significant presence."
The director of the documentary believes "people are discovering something different, and enjoying it very much."
"In fact, several well-known artists are taking choirs on their tours. Hopefully we will continue to see the gospel grow in our country, but for now it seems that we are on the right track", Roldán concludes.
You can watch the documentary (in Spanish) below: