Our Ethiopia tour post on FB quickly received over 1,000 “Likes”. At the same time we also got some negative comments.
Our Ethiopian coordinator told us to delete those crazy comments.
Overall, we got over 10,000 “Likes” and hundreds of people sharing our posts.
A journalist appraised this as a miracle since less than 10% of Ethiopians are Internet users. What on earth is going on ...・・・・
In the Internet world of Ethioopia, HEAVENESE had become controversial. We were under close scrutiny and were being criticized.
A flood of inquires kept coming in to our Ethiopian coordinator, asking if this was a government hosted cultural exchange event or a religious event.
This is because HEAVENESE made its debut in the genre of gospel in the United States, and our producer was the late Andre Crouch, the king of Gospel.
It is a national characteristic that many Ethiopians can speak English as a second language. They probably checked out HEAVENESE’ old YouTube videos or interviews on the American TV shows. This probably got people speculating that our music was “Christian”.
But since Ethiopia claims to be the oldest Christian country in the world, Christianity should not be target of rejection for them.
Some said, ”You can’t say “Hallelujah” . The audience will be disappointed since religion and secular are completely separated, so don’t mix them.”！“
“Hallelujah” cannot be said in a Christian country? I’d never heard such a thing.
But our representative song “LIFT" has “Hallelujah” in its chorus.
This is André Crouch’s style, and in this song the audience can hear his singers’ amazing chorus.
“Is having “Hallelujah” in our lyrics also not good?” I repeatedly asked our coordinator.
His answer was "Well, I think it's okay but …" I wasn’t happy with his answer. His response was not sufficient.
A Ethiopian female Gospel singer, who we requested to perform with us, said,
“I cannot stand on the stage with you because this is a secular government-sponsored event, and you are going to sing a secular Ethiopian hit.
As "Hallelujah" comes from the Old Testament, it should be no problem for Jews, Christians or Muslims.
We were absolutely dumfounded by the fact that we could not say “Hallelujah” in a country consisting of Orthodox Ethiopians, Protestants, and Muslims. What kind of show were we supposed to do then?
Ask pastor Z!!
We were at a loss not being able to sing “Hallelujah” in this country which consists of Orthodox Ethiopians, Protestants, and Muslims.
I was looking for an answer as to what kind of show we should do, what we can and cannot sing, what type of message I should deliver, what would be rejected.
Not knowing any of that, we were there in Ethiopia. In the meantime, people I had met told me to go see Pastor Z on this matter as he has a good understanding of the current state of religion in Ethiopia.
And on the second day of our adventure in Ethiopia,we met this pastor Z.