ORLANDO – Wycliffe Bible Translators has launched a video about singer-songwriter Gareth Davies-Jones’ journey to Ethiopia to attend a music workshop for the Gamo language group. The video explores Gareth’s personal journey during the week, and reveals the inspiration for his latest album, Your Way of Singing.
The purpose of the workshop was to help the Gamo people to write Scripture-based songs in their language. Gareth took a full part in the workshop, attending the teaching sessions, hanging out with the Gamo, and learning about their culture.
Along the way, he had some profound revelations about the importance of being able to use your own language – particularly in a church community.
‘The workshops that I’m attending here in Ethiopia are looking at how music can be used, particularly by musicians in their own community.’
Gareth Davies-Jones, a well-known singer-songwriter from the UK, travelled to Ethiopia for a workshop that teaches people to write Scripture-based songs.
The workshop was focused mainly on the Gamo people from southwest Ethiopia.
‘I get to collaborate with these musicians, sharing our traditions and understanding each other’s cultures and maybe creating some new material around it.’
‘A few days into the training, and it has been fantastic to share stories and history and common ground with the musicians from the Gamo people.’
‘During the sessions so far, I’ve really learnt how important it is for people who don’t necessarily have the whole of the Bible in their language, to look at all kinds of ways to communicate that message, and music is such a powerful thing, it can bypass a lot of barriers.’
‘I think one of the things that struck me most this week was just how much these Gamo musicians felt prohibited culturally to use their own language when they were expressing their faith. And to see that transformed over the course of five days to a place where they knew that it was absolutely what God had given them to do, to use their own language to write music, to share their faith with other people – that was just really, really amazing.’
The day after the workshop finished, Gareth accompanied Misgana, one of the workshop participants, to her village.
‘It was a beautiful place – just the most incredible scenery and wildlife. The setting was extraordinary, and her family welcomed us and shared everything that they had with us.’
‘And then once we had had our food, we actually danced and sang with them. You could tell that they were so proud of what Misgana had achieved this week.’
‘It’s been wonderful to see how natural it is for the musicians to use their gifts just to worship God and to express their faith.’
‘Being here in Ethiopia, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people, has been an extraordinary experience.’
After returning to the UK, Gareth has written songs based on his Ethiopian experience.
‘Listening to the way the Gamo express their faith, their joy, through the music they were writing – that’s really encouraged me when I’ve been thinking about the songs that I wanted to write.’
‘The overwhelming sense that I have, making these songs come to life, is that sense of gratitude for being out there, and having had the experience of working with the Gamo, seeing what they saw, and experiencing their joy as they realised that it’s a great thing, it’s a blessed thing, it’s a God-given thing, to sing and to play music in your own language.’
- Global News Alliance, Wycliffe Launches Video of Songwriter’s Journey to Ethiopia
- Wycliffe Bible Translators, Official Website