In this series of articles we will get to know more about the Gospel Choir conductors that give the masterclasses in the different editions of the Gospel Weekend choral meeting, organized by Sing & Travel. This way you will know their background, their thoughts, and you will understand why did we choose them to host the Gospel Weekend.
Do you want to know a little bit more about Fred Lewin, conductor of the Good News Gospel Choir and Alleluia Singers in France? We asked him 7 questions that will give you a first sight of this fantastic person and music professional.
1) When and how did you initiate in the Gospel Music world?
Fred: I first started singing gospel music in a local group at age 16, as bass singer. Then I started to conduct the church choir at 18. That choir became GN/AS Gospel. At the same time, other choirs asked me to lead them, and I also founded The SOUL Travelers Quartet, that 15 years later turned into the FredL Gospel Project.
2) What moved you to start giving workshops and masterclasses?
Fred: I realized that singing was not the complete for me. I had to share what singing brings to me. So I started answering positively to demands about masterclasses and workshops over the country (France). I wanted to share the feelings, the joy, the excitement that Gospel Music brings, when you start singing it fully. With all your body, soul, mind and heart.
3) Tell us a gospel song that means something special for you, and why.
Fred: There are so many songs that speak to me. Deeply. Such artists as John P. Kee, Kirk Franklin, Tye Tribett, Mali Music give powerful messages in different ways, and in a music feeling that touches me so strong. Give an hear to John P. Kee’s NOT GUITY EXPERIENCE. The words : «even if you committed a crime, you’re not guilty » changed my life and the way I look and share life with my fellowmen. Kirk Franklin’s messages are so direct. It touches you to the heart. He knows how to connect heaven and earth in his songs. «Imagine me » is a good example. Mali Music’s « walk on water » reminds us that with faith, nothing’s impossible ! And finally, I’ll conclude with Tye’s « keep me ». Just because that’s what God did, does, and will do if I keep my hand in his : Jesus, keep me! And these four artists pushed the walls of traditional Gospel Music.
4)What fills you more, work with the spirituals and classic Gospel or experiment with the new Gospel music of the 21st century?
Fred: I started singing Gospel Music in the old quartet style. I learned to sing listening and getting my inspiration from Clarence Foutain (Five blinds boys of Alabama), Ira Tucker, William Bobo, Jimmy Briant (Dixie Hummingbirds), Ellis Johnson (Harmonquizing Four) and all the quartets (Claude Jeter and the swan Silvertones, Julius Cheeks and the sensational Nightingales, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Robert Harris and The Soul Stirrers, and so many more!!!) and have been listening and started writing gospel songs in the old quartet style. But life going, I started to listen and feel New Gospel. And the actuality of the message, the renewing of the music – going over the traditional chords and rhythms, touch me more now. So I love saying that I experiment Actual Gospel, keeping a foot in what the elders brought us. A kind of mix between traditional and modern music. This is what fills me.
5) Who are your Gospel composers of reference?
Fred: Even if it’s not that original, I’d say Richard Smallwood, John P. Kee, Kirk Franklin, Tye Trybbett with no hesitation.
6) A gospel conductor that you admire?
Fred: No hesitation: Ricky Dillard ! He’s so expressive.
7) What brings the Gospel music to your life?
Fred: Gospel music brought me to life! The message fills me. The music brings me to another level. The emotions and feelings are exacerbated. Gospel Music gets me connected to God, and to my fellowmen directly. Heart to heart.
And here we leave you with a taste of his music:
If you want to join us at the Gospel Weekend special edition of 4th to 6th May 2018, you are still on time! And remember that this time will be very special as the participants of the GW will sing wiht Fred’s Choir, GN/AS Gospel, which is the largest choir of France, in their 20th Anniversary ReLOVution Tour in Sala BARTS in Barcelona, on May 18th.