Creator Came Down

    -- Native American New Life Praise Singers, 2000, self-distributed, 4-page booklet.

Imagine the pulse of the powwow drum. Imagine the singing style of the Southern Plains. Imagine Scripture songs for teaching, evangelism and worship. Imagine it all taking place together in Texas, in a Christ-centered service geared to Native American culture.

This is what you find on this wonderful recording by Robert Soto and his church members. Soto is the pastor (M. Div.) of a church in southwest Texas, near the Rio Grande across the border from Mexico. He is a member of the Lipan Apache people group of Texas, and composed these eleven songs for use in his church. All are based on Scripture, and the biblical references are listed with the song titles.

I found it striking that all of the songs are performed in one of the Plains Indian musical styles, but eight of the songs are sung in English. This of course makes it easy for non-Apache speakers to learn the songs. The three sung in Apache have English translations printed. In most songs, musical phrases consisting entirely of vocables alternate with the same melodic phrases attached to Scriptural lyrics interspersed with vocables. One song with the title “Joyful Noise Unto the Lord” is composed entirely of vocables (syllables sung without textual meaning).

It is powerful to hear the Greatest Commandment (Deut 6:5) sung with the big powwow drum, or “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). And from Psalm 119, we can join them in singing to God “Your word I have hid in my heart that I might not sin against you” even as we memorize Scripture through these songs.

Soto and his fellow Native Americans invite us to praise our Creator and his presence with us incarnated in Christ. The driving beat of the drum spurs us to celebrate his goodness with our whole being. Put the CD in the player, turn it way up till the drum is rattling your windows, and dance in worship.

To obtain the CD, contact or write:

Native American New Life Praise Singers
P.O. Box 3751
McAllen, Texas 78501 USA

    --reviewed by Paul Neeley

Published in Vol.1, No.3 of

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