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LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Troyer Goldman has a “complicated” relationship with religion. While he recognizes that much of his moral framework is built on Christian principles, he identifies as neither Christian nor religious.
But on Easter Sunday (April 21), Goldman, 21, was singing along loudly and “feeling the rhythm of the music” of Kanye West’s Sunday Service, an unmistakably Christian performance that was broadcast online from Coachella, the music and art festival in Indio, Calif.
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“I did not expect to personally feel moved or challenged, but I was,” said Goldman, who watched the performance on YouTube from his home in Anderson, Ind. “The gospel songs are rich with meaning, but I really heard them and sang along differently today.”
Since early this year, West has been hosting what he calls “Sunday Service,” backed up by a gospel choir and rapping numbers that are shot through with talk of God. Before Sunday’s performace at Coachella, these performances have had a cloak of almost secrecy: Attendees have largely been celebrities, whom Kanye asks to sign nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from revealing the show’s content.
Coachella - Music - Event - Tickets - Rapper
At Coachella, pop music’s premier annual event, where tickets go for $500, the rapper opened Sunday Service to a slightly wider, but still elite, in-person audience, while also allowing the masses to watch via livestream on YouTube.
Still playing hide-and-seek, West, dressed in choir robes, was barely discernible from the backup singers as they sang atop a low hill on the festival grounds.
Choir - Song - Everything - West - Songs
The choir sang a previously unreleased song, “Everything We Need,” before West emerged to perform two new songs, “All Falls Down” and “Water.”
Rap music has taken a spiritual turn of late, with Chance the Rapper and Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar sermonizing in their recent albums about a higher power. But no performer plays with religious themes more than West, the...
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