This is a short video interview with lead singer, Latifah Phillips, from a group called Page CXVI (116) that I recently discovered:
They have pretty dope concept. They resurrect old hymns from the pews of your grandma’s church and remix them with more modern sounds. I’m definitely diggin’ it, mainly for it’s lyrical content. Plus, it’s a great way to relearn some old hymns that I vaguely remember. What I found interesting about the lead vocalist is how she used her Charismatic Chinese church background to breathe new life into old hymns.
The great thing about hymns is that they never ventured far from scripture, and the simplicity of that serves as a reminder of how we often make things far too complex. Sure, grandma and grandpa’s life wasn’t “purpose driven”, and they didn’t have Barnes and Nobles Stores with two floors (one floor for self-help books alone). But, they didn’t feel the need to go searching for so many other distractions, because they found purpose in the security of God, his promises, and knowing him.
It’s not at all surprising that this music is being resurrected by younger generations, who also vaguely remember it. It’s also no coincidence that many people my age dig grandma and grandpa’s style of faith and consequently the lyrics of their music. Grandma and grandpa’s faith was simple. No mega-churches, no mega-conferences, no celebrity preachers (maybe aside from Billy Graham and a few others). No televangelists begging for money, no mutli-million dollar church buildings. No hottest book that will lead to some epiphany or personal breakthrough (Prayer of Jaybez, Purpose Driven-Life, The Shack). You know, that secret that somehow has managed to evade centuries of believers before – LOL.
Nah, grandma and grandpa’s faith was Christ-centered and people focused. Potluck was served after service for anyone who wanted to stay and fellowship. People visited together in their homes on weekends, and fellowshipped around food and card games. Their faith consisted of a community of believers who truly loved and supported one another. They accepted that they were feeble people who needed help and couldn’t make it without encouragement and support. Their music reflected their lifestyle, and the tradition of their churches. That was, simple preaching and teaching from God’s word, trusting in God, fleeing from sin, and admitting that we’re all sinners in desperate need of God’s grace and mercy.
The cool thing about the group is that they currently offer all of the their hymn albums online for free. However, they do ask for voluntary donations. Here’s the link to the website where you can sign up for access to the albums:
My favorite collection is the Remixed version (Page CXVI Re:Hymns). It has an alternative, experimental, Indie-Pop type of sound. My favorite hymn from the Remixed album is “Joy”, but it’s so dark and melancholy that I didn’t want to scare anyone off before they listen to the other tracks – LOL. Here’s another track from the album: