Cardiphonia offers up yet another album full of great music, chiseled from the stone of liturgical history. And this time, the liturgy is not just ancient. It’s from some of the earliest songs of doxological antiquity. Psalms 113-118 are often called the “Egyptian Hallel”: “Egyptian,” because these psalms as a body were used by ancient Jewish singers during Passover, which took place in Egypt; “Hallel,” because that is the Hebrew word for for “praise,” and these psalms in particular are full of joy and praise.
Cardiphonia has focused on these songs to aid in the Church’s sung vocabulary for this past and all future Holy Weeks. What I love about Hallel Psalms (March 2013) is that, because the disciples themselves used these psalms during Passover (and therefore during our Holy Week, the last week of Christ before His crucifixion), here the church has a way to more fully rehearse the life of Christ in the Christian Calendar. I’ve written more fully elsewhwere about what having a worship-oriented sense of time does to you, but here we have a way to dive even more deeply into holy week, putting on our lips the very same psalms that were on Jesus’ and the disciples’ lips during those fateful final days.
Artists from across the Western world contributed to this flash mob project, and I’d encourage you to get it and support this worthy endeavor. Some of my favorite “ear candy” songs are Nathan Partain’s groovy, rhythmic “None But God (Psalm 113),” Rebekah Osborne’s quirky, fun-loving “Praise the Lord with Glad Thanksgiving,” Bruce Benedict’s “When Jacob Out of Egypt Came (Psalm 114),” with its western-meets-70s vibe, splashed with Latin-style horns and Cake-esque guitar riffs, and Castle Island Hymns’ electronic, ethereal, “How High (Psalm 113).” One of my favorite tunes that I hear quite easily transferring into a simple contemporary context like mine at Coral Ridge is Jered McKenna’s “Praise the Lord (Psalm 117),” which I could hear at a fast, driving tempo in addition to the mid-tempo version McKenna has recorded.
Check it out, and support the great local artists and worship leaders who are faithfully serving their local assemblies of Christ’s Church. Finally, be sure to check out Cardiphonia’s post about some of the artists, with a few helpful pieces of explanation.