Surprised by a multi-cultural sound!

Desert Rain
Artist: Trinity
Label: The Fuel Music
Length: 12 songs/56 minutes

It’s not often when I start to listen to something new that I’m taken by surprise. Such is the case with Desert Rain by Trinity. It starts with the title track, a short instrumental with Andean-like flute, hand percussion, and a few other exotic sounds. It’s a foretaste of a world music experience; a hybrid of folk, pop and rock styles drawing in particular from South America.

“Rise Again” follows starting with gentle guitar and some type of woodwind. It’s like a moving tribute to courage:

Though I’m bending in the storm
I’ll never break

It makes me think of the bravery of people in the Ukraine. If they could hear this, they might be encouraged in their struggle.

Another memorable line is found at the end of an interlude: “truth crushed to earth will rise again.” It can be an anthem for anyone engaged in a noble struggle.

“Metropolitain” is partly in French with a tight, fast rhythm and a definite South American vibe. The lyrics are broad in scope and juxtaposed with some opposites: “City of artists, of searchers and martyrs, of lovers and violence, of lambs and lions. What if getting was giving, what if losing is winning? What if the sacred comes out of its hiding, joining the searchers in finding?”

“A Miracle” is a mid-tempo exploration of the profound mysteries in a relationship. Here as it is throughout the perspective is from a position of faith rather than being overtly about the Christian life. I have nothing against the latter but the subtlety is refreshing. I found it interesting that a non-Christian friend told me the other day that the music by Christian artists that he likes best is when it’s not obvious. This falls in that category. There is as much attention to overall craft as the lyrics.

Low end bass, synth and sassy brass give weight to “Satellite Television.” The playfulness in sound and the use of satire make this a lot of fun and a favorite:

I hardly have a roof
but I’ve got Satellite television
My love life sucks
At least I’ve got Satellite television

A chorus of voices join in on the title to emphasize the gravity of the subject. Music could use more of this kind of humor.

A cheerful tune on the flute. Mandolin strumming. A chorus of voices gaily singing syllables. It adds up to the Celtic-sounding depiction of a father’s tender love for his infant daughter on “The Way That I Do.” It’s promise of constancy mirrors God’s lasting love for his children:

My baby my dear
I wish it weren’t true
But the world and its sorrows will someday hurt you
But know when you fall, I’ll be there with you too
To hold you and love you the way that I do

Festive sounds return on El Sonido De Mi Tierra, a mid-tempo Salsa-style number in Spanish and English. It lends itself to being interpreted as a prayer:

Be the reason that I live today
Be the air that I breathe, fill me now

“It’s All Gonna Change” is the first of three songs toward the end that include Neema Ntalel from Kenya on vocals. They take the form of a duet on the somber “Shooting Stars,” a reflection on bereavement.

C. S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” This idea fits with the sentiments expressed on “We Are Born,” whose sound has Middle Eastern influences. A driving rhythm propels the forceful thought:

We are born with an aching for more than we’ll ever know
To be fighters and lovers to know what we are living for
There’s a burning desire inside that can’t be controlled
An unquenchable fire that tells us we’re made for more

Trinity consists of three Dutch brothers, Elbert (lead vocals, flutes, saxophone), Johan (acoustic guitars) and Nick Smelt (drums & percussion), who grew up as missionary kids, and Dutch-raised Bert Bos (bass). It’s amazing that these four produce such a variety of earthy but sophisticated sounds. Listen and find joy in hearing a multitude of diverse cultural influences.

Michael Dalton