Interview: Bazil Meade of the London Community Gospel Choir
Reverend Bazil Meade founded the London Community Gospel Choir 30 years ago. He talks here about the choir's success, the gift of gospel music and the plans he has for the future
The LCGC has been going 30 years. Are you surprised by its success and its enduring popularity?
I am not surprised by the success, more the fact that we've stayed in the race this long - it has been a learning curve.
Every step of the way, LCGC has presented a high standard of Gospel music consistently it its 30 years
What has been a highlight for you over the last three decades?
One of the highlights was being asked to sing the national anthem of South Africa when President Mandela was presented to the public and media in Brixton recreation centre after his release from Robin Island.
The choir has collaborated with some of the most famous artists in the world such as Eric Clapton, Madonna, and Kylie Minogue. How meaningful is it for you as a Christian choir to have the opportunity to work alongside secular artists?
It is a wonderful challenge and experience to work with many famous world artistes. It has given us the opportunity to learn about the industry and breakdown the barriers which existed between Christian and non-Christian artists. We have seen the walls of indifferent views disappear as a result of working with musicians who thought Christians were strange people who only went to church and behaved in a superior fashion to others.. We have been able to share about our faith-inspired music.
Why do you think Gospel music appeals as much to non-Christians as it does to Christians in a way that a lot of Contemporary Christian Music doesn't?
Gospel Music is inspired by faith in God, not by the need to make money or be famous. It has a humility about it you will not find in other genres. It is spiritual music, it encourages total involvement of soul mind and emotion. It has a uniting power that is irresistable.
CCM and Gospel music are quite different. How do you think they complement each other?
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CCM and Gospel are different primarily because they are coming from two different cultural sources Gospel's route is that of slavery and songs written by enslaved people crying out for freedom through the songs they wrote, That same passion and deep human emotions are inherent in Gospel Music, the modern version of those songs. CCM has a different journey. However we both call on the same God to enable us to be better humans. The music we all produce gives us the feeling of being closer to God we use similar language the subject matter is the same our worship and style of music.
The 30 Choir Festival is likely to be a memorable event for festival-goers as well as for the choir. What are your expectations for this event?
I am expecting a very exciting event and an outpouring of fellowship between people of different countries sharing passion for an art form much loved and is increasing in popularity all around the globe. I hope this will start the annual gospel festival I have longed for.
After 30 years, what are your plans for the future of the choir? Is there anything it hasn't done yet that you would like to do with it?
We are under recorded so I hope for more albums more frequently. I wish for a top ten position in the national charts for LCGC that will mean a lot for me. I think we can do it. I also hope to establish my Gospel Music Academy and a successful record label identifying and developing up coming talent in my community.
Are you involved in any interesting projects outside of the choir?
I am currently rehearsing in the National Theatre for a production of the play "AMEN CORNER". It will be onstage beginning of June onwards. Check the National Theatre website for information. A few members of LCGC will be in the cast.
I am an Ambassador for Compassion International, a charity working with children in many countries around the world providing care through sponsoring for children who would not have access to basic comforts i.e. education/health care, and accomodation.