Sons of Korah: Singing Psalms
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For a long time, I was very disillusioned with the contemporary Christian music scene. There were certain artists I was a fan of when I was younger. But in the last ten to fifteen years, I’ve been very unimpressed. Granted, there have been exceptions. But even among the exceptions, I couldn’t find any artists that I just loved. That is, until several summers ago…
Enter Sons of Korah. This music group is from Australia and therefore not very well-known in the States, but thankfully I have close friends in New Zealand so the word was passed along.
What makes this band unique on the Christian music scene? Well, they sing psalms.
Other than several instrumental pieces and two original songs, all of what they sing is taken pretty much verbatim from the text of the Bible. And these aren’t your typical four-part harmony to organ music psalms (which definitely have their place): they’re the words of David and others set to very eclectic music. Sometimes calm and contemplative piano laces the background, sometimes strong beats and rock music accompany the more intense psalms, sometimes strains of different types of ethnic and international music take the stage.
Yet no matter the music style, the Word of God comes through loud and clear.
After I heard the first couple Sons of Korah songs, I was hooked. Over the course of the next several months, I ended up buying all their CDs, and for a long time, they were all I listened to. Often I would set my computer (my music player) to shuffle all their songs and just let it play in the background of whatever I was doing. Even the upbeat songs made this very calming as the words of Scripture flowed through the air.
And an unexpected benefit? Now the songs that got stuck in my head (a quite common occurrence) were the words of David and other psalmists as they cried out to the Lord in both hard and happy situations.
Since discovering Sons of Korah, I’ve also come across several other artists whose music I like and respect (including Josh Garrels, Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves), and thankfully my musical library has expanded some. But Sons of Korah still tops the list. And despite the fact that I’ve heard their songs so many times, I’ve not grown tired of them at all.
Though the words are so familiar, in a way they seem new as they continue to encourage me and renew my mind.
(originally published in 2011; edited from the archives)
Photo: A view of En Gedi in the Judean Wilderness, one of the refuges of David and his men.
I love Sons of Korah and thank you for bringing attention to them. They are fantastic!
My wife and I listen to http://www.wordoftruthradio.com “Praise Cafe”. They play a ton of artists you’ve never heard of and a lot of them are outstanding. The downloadable player will play whether you’re connected to the site or not. The website shows the current song & artist that is playing. “… this station centers around the passionate sound of the acoustic guitar combined with a lyrical depth, which results in music that is relaxing as well as meaningful.”
Thanks for sharing – you’re right, it’s so hard to find good Christian music. My family and I enjoy Scripture Songs by Patti Vaillant.
If you ever get the chance to hear Sons of Korah live – they’re amazing!!!! The CDs are great, but their live performance has a whole other layer of awesomeness 🙂
Debbie, I’m a big Sovereign Grace Music fan too – and they have some awesome sermons to download & listen to for free.
Check out Sovreign Grace Music. It’s great, lyrics and music, both.
I love music and Scripture together! Sadly, there seems to be a lack of well done compositions.
Thanks for “introducing” me to The Sons of Korah! I’ve been listening to their music since I read this article–I really like them!
Another artist you might like is Steve Bell. He writes some songs based on Scripture and has a semi-unique style.
I attend and am a member of a church that sings Psalms exclusively a cappella. I too like Sons of Korah for the same reason you give. Have you looked at Eden’s Bridge Celtic Psalms CD? I really enjoy listening to it. Though, not all of Eden’s Bridge music is Psalms. I also like listening to Fernando Ortega, Derek Webb, Sovereign Grace music, etc.
Have you checked out Glory Revealed? Its a compilation of several Christian artists. Every song is scripture. If you enjoy bluegrassy stuff like Nickel Creek, you’ll love them. 🙂
Thanks for sharing this. I don’t listen to contemporary Christian music because of your reasons. I will have to check these out….appreciate it!
My church sings the metrical Psalms exclusively in worship which I love. After over 20 years of singing the Psalms I have most of the memorized (without trying to!). It’s been such a blessing to have so much of God’s word in my heart and often through that just the right verse will come to mind for my circumstances.