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  • Mohamed Ali Elhaou

Gospel life rejoice at El Jem: Universal brotherhood through music

In this period when most of our fellow citizens are preparing their children for the start of the new school year, we're gradually leaving the festivities behind us. But this doesn't mean that we can not look back at the Gospel Life Rejoice show that took place on Thursday, August 24, 2023. In fact, it's a concert that deserves a little more attention, as it proves once again that our land is a place of tolerance and acceptance of others. This is not a promotional speech, but rather the reality of what happened during this performance at the El Jem amphitheater. The spectacle was organized after the festival's official program by Mohamed Alibi, and was sponsored by Tunisia highway, Tunisair and FTAV (la Fédération Tunisienne des Agences de Voyages et de Tourisme) with the aim of reviving the Sahel region's tourist circuit and promoting cultural plurality in our country. Gospel Life rejoice is an evangelical group that uses art to proselytize and worship God. It carries the message of universal brotherhood and of life as a human journey, with all its ups and downs.

©Dashrawi Oucél

Between the great arcades, the stage and the sumptuous tiers of the El Jem festival, the group sang of joy, love, hope and the power of God. The audience was small in number, but it danced and participated with such determination in the melodies and songs sung by this swarm of artists that this emptiness was almost forgotten. As a reminder, Gospel Life rejoice knows our country and performed under our skies at the Boukornine festival in 2014, certainly with other members, but even those who were there truly fulfilled their mission through voices that speak to the heart, move the sensitivity of the soul and soften the body.

© Dashrawi Oucél

Call for the diversity of black culture and for hope

The El Jem show began at 10:30 pm. It lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes, filled with heartbeats. The duration was also refreshing for the spirits in a promising summer in terms of record-breaking heat. The audience expelled their stress and pressure of life to the rhythm of several songs, particularly Oh Happy Day: a classic of the Gospel music register. It's worth noting that Gospel Life rejoice was formed, let's say stably, in 2004, and mainly sings the American negro-spiritual repertoire. From the outset, this spirit has been closely linked to African culture and the black community's way of worshiping God, particularly in the United States. In this sense, among the famous singles the troupe had performed are: Jesus will, Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Oh When The Saints, Down By The Riverside, The Hymn of Joy, Go Down Moses, etc.

© Dashrawi Oucél

From an ethnic point of view, the troupe includes Caribbean, Guadeloupean, Cameroonian, French and Ivorian members. Deeray, whose real name is Didier Querin, is the leader of this group. He has been a member of the U.S. Gospel Convention since 2010. The idea of a troupe traveling the world had been on his mind since the 2000s. His way of doing things is not only to orchestrate the accompanying choir and the songs played, but also to create harmony between the audience and the troupe. His philosophy, since he began this profession at the age of 7, is that the audience should participate in the show and understand, through music and rhythm, the sense of hope that exists in Negro Spirituality, despite the trials and tribulations that this people have encountered and continue to encounter throughout the centuries of human presence on earth.

© Dashrawi Oucél

A great symbiosis in the tones and movements of the eight singers, one leader with his chorus, on stage, repeatedly lifts the audience from their seats and lets them flying to the rhythm of the feelings conveyed by the sublime voices. This brings back us to the late international star Whitney Houston and the choirs also playing behind the diva Mariah Carey, notably her hit Anytime You Need A Friend. The timbres of each soloist in this magical concert at the El Jem Festival, and the refrains released by all the artists present, are limpid and full of will from the limbo of black culture with its various particularities around the world. In short, a real hymn to tolerance and, above all, to the lightness and fragility of human beings. The audience, hand-picked for the occasion, was highly satisfied.

Mohamed Ali Elhaou

All pictures: © Dashrawi Oucél

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2023년 9월 03일
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Thank you for this great article!

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