Gospel House History and Meaning
As previously outlined in the house music article, in the late 80s the “House” sound split into many sub-genres as a result of so many influences being incorporated into the now trademark 4/4 rhythm.
Gospel House can be considered one of the strongest of these sub-genres, mainly because of its links to soulful house – in that its direction is taken from the 70s and 80s soul, funk, disco and jazz club classics – but its vocal roots go further back, and re-join a strand of the origins of soul music – namely, what are termed as “Negro Spirituals”.
Gospel house is essentially written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding life in spiritual or religious terms (predominantly Christian), as well as (in terms of the general music styles) to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music. as the term suggests, is about giving praise and worship to God, Jesus Christ or The Holy Spirit.
Gospel music utilize, in the main, choir vocals with a featured soloist, piano and/or Hammond organ, drums, bass guitar and, increasingly, electric guitar. Percussion in the form of tambourines and handclaps is also prominent. In comparison with hymns, which are generally of a statelier measure, gospel songs tend to have a refrain and often a more syncopated rhythm – hence why it works so well within the “House” framework. The vocals are mainly repetitive (a legacy from the days when slaves were unable & not encouraged to read, and repetition was the easiest way for people to worship), and the staple vocal format is known as “call and response” (an excellent example of this structure being “The Underground Ministries feat. Kenny Bobien – I Shall Not Be Moved”).
Featured artists include the likes of the afore-mentioned Kenny Bobien, Stephanie Cooke, Michelle Weeks, Ann Nesby and Jasper St. Company, and on the DJing/production side, DJ Spen and The Muthafunkaz, Timmy Regisford and The Basement Boys are among the most notable. Article by DJ Brother C