Gospel singer ‘resurrects’ spouge for new album

Gospel singer Lana Spooner-Jack is as dedicated to spouge as those who sang and played it decades ago. Determined to do her part to ensure it lives on, she takes issue with anyone who declares the genre is dead.

Her name might not be a familiar one nationally as she prefers to limit her music ministry to churches, but she has been writing songs from teenaged years. She released her first ten-track album, Return To Me, in 2007; won the 2008 Flame Gospel Award for her calypso You Can’t Drown Me and was nominated for the Songwriter Of The Year for the same album. She also won Gospel Artiste Of The Year after that at the Barbados Music Awards.

When she sat down with Weekend Buzz to talk about Pure Spouge Gospel, her new five-track EP, she said
between 2008 and now, she’s been recording mainly Christmas songs. She has six of them. While recording one of them in the spouge genre, she said she was “stuck” on it and that’s how the album came about.

“I wanted to be unique and that’s why I chose spouge. This EP album has five original spouge songs written and performed by me and produced by Jeffrey Grosvenor – Come And Bind based on Isaiah 55; In The Same Boat As You; Drop By Drop; Singing Over Me; and A Christmas I Believe In.

“Excluding the Christmas song, the others were written over about three years and it’s not really about writing but producing them. You write them and they’re there but it’s about when you get to produce them because sometimes you don’t know when, how or with whom. I really, really do love this spouge genre. I remember reading an article by Richard Goodwin from the Guardian newspaper which said it’s no small thing for this island of ours to have our own genre. I wanted to be unique. Lots of times you hear that spouge is dead; that hurts a lot.

“So for me, in addition to highlighting the gospel news, I wanted to highlight the spouge genre. Jeffrey would have played with the Troubadours International for over 15 years, he’s familiar with it and he did things differently with the songs. The spouge is probably not the same you would hear from the 1970s . . . .  A lot of what he did is new. He wanted to do something fresh and add certain elements . . .,” she said.

Lana, who performed at the Linda Randall Concert as well as a Gospelfest Sunset Concert, also said during the interview that it was Ordeane Anathase who sang with the folk group Sing Out Barbados who “surrounded me with music when I was three or four”. Not only did her “second mother” play music for her but as she grew, she gave her the albums so she could read the lyrics and stories on them.

“I have to credit her for the singing and perhaps the song writing and exposing me to the lyrics of music. I grew up in the church and when I became a Christian, gospel music meant more to me than anything else. I don’t know what it is about the blood of Jesus, but I like to sing about that.”

Her favourite song on the EP is Singing Over Me which was released in January and uploaded to her YouTube channel.

“Singing Over Me is a favourite. It was different for me in terms of the singing and the time signature that’s attached. It veers away from the evangelistic songs and is more like a praise, appreciation song. [I also like] Drop By Drop which is about the blood of Jesus, because I feel it all in my being.

“Writing the songs was cathartic for me. It’s like you know there’s something to be said, you have a message, and you actually feel you need to say it. That’s why I say Drop By Drop is special because it speaks about me.”

Her reason for releasing the EP now is simple. She felt she had enough songs to do so but she also noted more songs will be added so “it eventually it becomes an album and not just an EP”.

“The plan is to finish the other songs we’re thinking about doing, one of which is a spouge praise medley original. We don’t have a date, but it will be before the end of this year,” she said. (GBM)

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