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el Fuego en Mi (Light the Fire in Me)
Artists: Vineyard Music
Label: Vineyard Music/Viña Music
Times: 12 tracks/63:57 minutes
Vineyard Music's Spanish-language division, Viña Music, is developing a full line of projects, and the latest, Aviva el Fuego en Mi_ is a pleasing, palatable and plentiful project of the best of contemporary Vineyard offerings. In my review of Alma Hambrienta (Hungry), I did not note that the Spanish-language version of Hungry seemed to place Spanish lyrics over the familiar arrangements from that project, perhaps making the Spanish versions sound like carbon copies of the original songs. The excellent news about this latest Viña Music project is that these praise and worship songs are--for the most part--all-new adaptations.
Audiences who speak (and sing and/or dabble in) Spanish who love current Vineyard worship songs will enjoy this project immensely. The only shortcoming of Aviva el Fuego en Mi is a "problem" I am certain the musicians will address very soon; more on this shortcoming in a moment.
The frontispiece title track features an arrangement that I am certain is pleasing to composer Brian Doerksen, with just as much worship-gusto as in the original "Light the Fire in Me." Ditto for "El es Yavéh" ("He is Yahweh" from _Face to Face_), "Reina Tú en Mi" ("Lord Reign in Me"), "En Secreto" (Andy Park's "In the Secret"), and "Siempre Que Me Muevo" ("Every Move I Make"). Each of these songs are true to the original versions, are not carbon copies, and are beautiful readings. There are also delightful variations of Vineyard favorites, including a mellow acoustic version of "Ven y Lléname" ("Come and Fill Me Up") and a very upbeat, rollicking treatment of "Santo" ("Holy"), both of which are incredibly memorable, leaving worshippers/listeners remembering these renditions of favorites long after enjoying these performances.
The shortcoming? Apart from a lovely Spanish guitar on "Santo Amor" ("Holy Love"), violin on "Ven y Lléname," and Latin percussion on "El es Yavéh," I hear very little true, authentic, or--for lack of a better word--traditional Latin American influence in these renditions of audiences' favorite Vineyard tracks. In fact, "El Rio Está Aqui" ("The River is Here") sounds like an Irish jig. The western/North American tone of this project, as a whole, has made me think I need to do one more step of homework, to visit a Spanish-speaking or Mexican Vineyard congregation to see and experience how these songs are being offered "live" in the worship setting. I am certain that as more Viña Music projects are produced, the authentic Latin American influence will be a major inclusion.
Now, this shortcoming is only a slight imperfection in a project which is an improvement over the _Alma Hambrienta_ project. At nearly 64 minutes long, there is plenty for audiences to enjoy for either/or worship on any level (may be intense or for sheer listening pleasure). There is excellent substance with Aviva el Fuego en Mi, which is a marvelous step in the right direction for sorely-needed Spanish-language praise and worship.
Olin Jenkins 1/20/2003