REVIEW OF CHRISTINE D’CLARIO “DEEPER” ALBUM
Our God loves colors, that is, people of all colors. Such a sublime truth is germane to the ministry of Integrity Music. Over the years, this God-honoring imprint has tried to spread the fame of God's name through music to beyond just English-language speakers. Sprouting off from the label's kernel of love for the nations are notable Spanish language albums such as Don Moen's "En Tu Prescencia," Lenny LeBlanc's "Fe!" and Kari Jobe's "Le Canto." Further, Messianic worship leader Paul Wilbur also has a band new Spanish album in the works. Not only has Integrity Music encouraged their mainstream English artists to record foreign language albums, but they have a whole Latin wing committed to raising local talents to sing in their own mother tongue. And many of these Latino artists are also encouraged to cross pollinate back into the English-speaking market with Julissa releasing a 3-song English ep "Forever" and a full-length English-language album "Metamorfosis" last year. 2013 ushers in Christine D'Clario. Those not exposed to Christian Latin music are in for a treat. Born in Yonkers, New York in 1982, D'Clario spent her first seven years in the Big Apple until the death of her father. After which they moved to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico where she began involved in music by age nine. After years of perseverance, D'Clario was finally signed to Integrity Latin Music. As a result she has caused quite a stir in the Hispanic Christian community with her albums especially her latest Spanish record "De Vnelta al Jardin" (which means "Back to the Garden').
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"Deeper" is D'Clario's first foray into the English-speaking market with 10 newly cut worship songs. From her Spanish-only choreography, one would never have guessed that English is actually the bilingual singer's first language. "Deeper" ranks up there with many worship albums especially that of Jesus Culture's Kim Walker-Smith's. Often lauded by fans and critics alike as the Spanish Kim Walker-Smith, such comparisons are by no means groundless. Just like the Jesus Culture worship leader, D'Clario likes her worship slow, intense, contemplative, Spirit-led and torch like. Moreover, one of the songs often associated with Walker-Smith is the John Mark McMillan's "How He Loves." Similarly, D'Clario's most incendiary performance caught on disc is her rendition of the Spanish version of "How He Loves" aka "El nos ama." Months after Kim Walker-Smith has just recorded Daniel Bashta's "Pursuit" on the "Live from New York" CD, D'Clario follows suit with her own version here. D'Clario offers a crisper version of this modern day companion to Francis Thompson's "The Hound of Heaven" where God is mercifully presented as a relentless Father. Also in chorus with Walker-Smth's style is D'Clario's take of Desperation Band's "Magnified."
Though Kim Walker-Smith may have been D'Clario's vector of influence but she does demonstrate that she has her own individuality too. She shows that she can gravitate around a captivating pop hook with the sunny "Reign." On the other hand, she can shed any thread of pretense and bares her soul with childlike trust on her cover of Fike and Dana's "Who is Like the Father." The way she cries out to God, "I need you daddy, I love you daddy" is just heart warming. And she kicks off her heels and delivers a passionate take of label mate Paul Baloche's "Arise;" while offering a really heartfelt version of Israel Houghton's "Your Presence is Heaven to Me." While Houghton's version is way too crowded, here D'Clario's version is more intimate and far more worshipful. Interestingly, Hillsong leader Darlene Zschech (yet another Integrity Music artist) also has offered her reading of this same song that will be released a month or so after D'Clario's album drops.
"Faithfulness" follows in the footsteps of Hillsong's "Cornerstone" and Chris Tomlin's "Crown Him" where modern verses are tagged onto a hymn. Here the evergreen hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness" is tagged onto the end of a newly written song that works out seamlessly well. Perhaps, the only dip with this album is that there are far too many covers. Though many of them are fairly obscure, one would want to see more of D'Clario as just another singer of worship songs. Maybe if she could somehow incorporate her Spanish roots a little more, the outcome might be even more diverse and interesting. And her music would be more even more colorful just as our God himself loves colors.
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