We are proud to announce the release of the 13 track CD “Long Story”, performed by the Amen Choir and produced here at Euphonic Studio. It is available as a CD or download through all the usual digital sources. We would prefer that you use CD Baby at this link:
Probably the best way to describe this project is to just let you read the CD notes. We are very happy to have the project finished and in our hands, but at the same time a bit of sadness that the joy of creating it is through. Here are the CD notes.
LONG STORY – The Amen Choir
An upbeat, inspiring, beautifully performed collection of praise music in contemporary African styles
The Amen Choir’s own Long Story began in the Burundi civil war of 1993. Many outside of Africa aren’t familiar with the geography or the history, so here’s a bit of background.
Burundi is a tiny African nation located between Rwanda and Tanzania. During the 1993 genocide, Western journalists mostly reported about Rwanda, and we heard stories of some of the worst brutality imaginable between the Hutu and the Tutsi peoples. The fighting crossed national borders. In Burundi, more than 300,000 people were killed and many tens of thousands were forced to flee for their lives.
Many of those refugees made their way to Tanzania, and then on to various parts of the US. Families were split and then reunited. Members of the two opposing groups often lived in the same housing.
Eventually, order began to return from chaos and the Burundi refugees began to reassemble in the upper Midwest in the unlikely city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. During the gathering process, ancient tribal barriers began to fall away and the new Americans united to a common purpose… to serve God and love one another.
This CD exists due to a series of improbabilities. It’s improbable that anyone could have escaped the bloodbath in Burundi, and improbable that survivors could have relocated to the US. It’s improbable that those refugees would regroup as a community in the upper Midwest. It’s improbable that young people with no written tradition of music could write and perform music like professionals. And it’s very improbable that an African praise choir would have created this beautiful work in my little studio in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Yet, despite the odds, the Amen Choir worked through their legacy of struggle and many daily challenges to make this improbable CD. That leads me to believe that although it was improbable, it was also inevitable.
When the human spirit is bursting with song, music will be sung. When your people’s history is written in the blood of genocide victims, everyday adversity is small potatoes. When a songwriting talent of the magnitude of Eddie Niyonzigiye meets 20 young people who are moved to praise God and rejoice in his name… well, the CD is before you. It is a testament to the gifts of these musicians and the devotion they have to their faith, families, their church, and to each other.
The heart of this music was hammered in the foundry of human suffering, burned by the searing heat of irrational violence, tempered by wisdom one can only learn by experience, and given life by its creators in their love for our Creator.
This project has changed our lives forever.
Euphonic Studio, August 2016