“Hallelujah,” singer Amy Kasim’s debut offering builds up gradually, gently working its way into one’s spirit till it arrives at an emphatic crescendo–yet its appeal is also immediate.
Spanning nearly five minutes, the entire song—verse and hook—comprise a single word; that Hebrew call to worship that also commands greater grace and an atmosphere of miracles. Because the record is also set to familiar chord arrangement, the ear picks it up with instant recognition, as if recalling a beloved memory.
At the same time, a striking guitar nuance that carries through the sonic experience invokes closed eyes and the feeling of being attuned to non-physical instruction. In fewer words, it is a sublime spiritual moment.
Due to the weight of having to court commercial charm even as a gospel artist, minutes like those curated on “Hallelujah” have now become a rare exception, not the custom. It is why the song distinguishes itself straightaway. There’s the absence of the plastic vocal affectations that obviously target a safe place among the charts or radio success. It is simply the expression of an untainted desire to lift both hands in supplication and engage the lips in the privilege of worship. And because of the organic honesty upon which the song is founded, it is easy to foresee great things that the song itself will witness, and blissful psychic heights that it will facilitate. How can we tell? The same way we can infer that Jesus inhabits the song.
“Hallelujah,” which traces its etymology from two words: Hillel (to praise) and “Jah” (a shortened form of YHWH, one of the titles God responds to) is a truly formidable refrain. Across generations, it has served as the go-to reference to extol the Supreme Being, unlocking closed doors in the process. It has galvanised multitudes into the single-mindedness of meditation that gets results, that opens up heaven itself. With her song, Kasim adds to the roster of anointed minstrels who have wholly harnessed the angelic profundity retained in the word.
Produced by Emmanuel Cobbold Oppong of Mahanaim Studios, “Hallelujah” receives choral assistance from the Voices of Change, who arrive as both a delicate and deliberate accessory to Kasim’s cloying vocal countenance which, right out of the gates, establishes her as a brazen and noteworthy vessel of the higher spiel.
What else is there to say of “Hallelujah,” except this: when you find yourself, at the break of dawn, towards the concluding moments of the song, or in public transport after work, uttering unknown tongues induced by the melody percolating your heart via earpieces connected to your smartphone, don’t say I didn’t notify you.
“Hallelujah” precedes the Mfantsiman Girls and Pentecost University College alumnus’ first full body of work, which is currently in the works. A consummate storyteller, Amanda Naematu Kasim (as she is known to her mother) also practices as a songwriter, poet, and author of fiction.
Get it here.