Celtic Worship brings traditional Celtic instrumentation to this popular 21st-century Christian hymn.
Lead singer Steph MacLeod drives the song with rhythm guitar, but also shows off a wide vocal range as he moves up an octave about halfway through. His lower register is smooth and tender, while the high notes are delivered in a strong, belting baritone. All the while the tune is accented by the traditional Scottish fiddle and whistle for which the band is known. While there are many elements worthy of praise in this arrangement, what makes it unique is the addition of bagpipes, which open and close the piece in solo. The bagpipes were developed in the West around the 13th century, but versions of them can be found in cultures across the world. The wavering tones, created through the use of internal reeds (technically bagpipes are part of the woodwind family of instruments), mimic the way the human voice works, allowing for a great amount of expression through the use of vibrato and quarter tones.
Celtic Worship describe themselves as a collective of some of Scotland’s most talented folk musicians, which they demonstrate on their many live recordings. The band first appeared in a music festival at Adelaide Baptist Church in 2017 and quickly recorded Homeward the following year. The album is filled with Christian hymns, including “Be Thou My Vision,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “What a Friend.” On their website, they say of their mission:
Celtic Worship is a Scottish Music Worship ministry which blends traditional and contemporary Christian Worship music with the powerful sound of Bagpipes, Whistles & Fiddle. Their mission is to combine their working life as professional musicians with their deep love of Jesus and their passion to share God’s love through their music.
Hear more of Celtic Worship‘s unique Christian music here.
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