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Brother Isaiah’s “Angelsong” is a superb meditation on prayer

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His 2018 album 'Poco a Poco' is full of great Catholic music, brought to you by a Franciscan.

It’s been a while since we revisited Brother Isaiah’s 2018 album, Poco a Poco (Little by Little), but when we put the record on we had to let it run twice. Songs like “Struggler” and “Rising,” two tunes we’ve previously featured on Aleteia, hold up extraordinarily well, as was expected from their infectious hooks, but this time around we were most taken with songs we had all but passed over the first time around.

In particular, we were significantly touched by “Angelsong,” featured above. The lyrics are simply put: the angels bless and praise the Lord, and they help us to sing. The chorus is the height of simplicity, where Brother Isaiah sings “Glory” along with the angels. The tune reminds us that prayers do not need to be extravagant; in fact, a simple “Glory” is usually enough, because prayer is about intention.

Brother Isaiah found a perfect way to exhibit humble yet devout intention throughout his song by singing in falsetto, a style of singing that utilizes the upper register without reaching the full volume of one’s voice. The result is a very small sounding voice, singing an explanation of the greatness of God and his angels.

This smallness of voice becomes all the more potent when he mentions that “The angels help [him] sing,” which gives the impression that his modest voice might be carried to new heights by the grandiose voices of God’s messengers. The song maintains this gentle timbre throughout and the only thing we could suggest that it lacks is the choir of angels itself. Perhaps in a later recording Brother Isaiah could revisit the tune and invite a “heavenly” sounding choir to sing the “Glory”s of the last chorus.

The song lasts only about three-and-a-half minutes, with few lyrics, but there’s so much going on in “Angelsong.” Brother Isaiah utilizes every aspect of his music to fill with it deeply introspective symbolism and themes, which are present on all the tracks of Poco a Poco.

Another track that caught us by surprise this time around was “Come Follow Me,” a song that references Jesus’ call to the disciples to leave their lives behind and follow Christ. The lyrics weave between the scriptures and how they could relate to the faithful of today. The music is much livelier than “Angelsong,” with some very trendy lyrical rhythms and a driving laid-back accompaniment that calls to mind a sunny day.

The whole Poco a Poco album is worth a listen for any Catholic. Listeners should be warned that quite a few of Brother Isaiah’s melodies will get stuck in your head for days at a time. Hear the whole album here.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDm3-OOi99w&

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