Have you listened? ‘The Art Of Celebration’ by REND COLLECTIVE

Rend Collective, currently touring in the USA released ‘The Art Of Celebration’ album earlier on this year to critical acclaim. However it just dawned on me that even though they have become one of my favorite bands I had very selfishly kept them secret while playing them constantly.

The genre-blurring artists have an unusual backstory. Hailing from the small coastal town of Bangor in Northern Ireland, the Collective developed organically, outside of the influence of the music industry and CCM culture, as a self-described “group of confused twenty-somethings trying to figure out faith, life, God and community.”

“We wanted to push boundaries because our God is not safe or small: He has a wild imagination.”

Since these formative years, the folk-influenced troubadours have, to their surprise, been thrust onto the world stage as leading voices in the evolution of modern worship.

Refreshingly, the international spotlight of sold out tours on both sides of the Atlantic, shared stages with some of the biggest names in Christian music, such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Tenth Avenue North to name a few, has little altered the heart of the Irish worshippers.

“We aren’t really so much of a band as we are a family,” explains Rend Collective member Chris Llewellyn. “People are more important than music, art or apparent success.”

This defining passion to foster community is embodied in the intimacy of their live acoustic-folk project, “Campfire” which I am proud to say is the most played album in my music collection, an infectious background sound to many Sunday mornings setting up audio and video equipment in preparation for service.

And March 2014 saw the release of ‘The Art Of Celebration’, an album which according to the enigmatic Tony Cummings of Cross Rhythms “will cement the Bangor-based collective as the act who’ve taken over the mantle of Delirious? as Britain’s most popular Christian ministry band.”

If you haven’t yet bought this simply fantastic album of Rend Collective’s progressive collection of congregational worship songs then do get it now. The Art of Celebration. You will be glad you did.

O’Neil Dennis