cover

As a body of work, "Arms Open Wide" (released in October 2010), is a testament to God's love and plan for our lives. In the beginning of 2004 I could not play a musical instrument, I did not sing unless I was in the congregation at church or watching a rugby match at home (during the national anthem) and had a virtually non-existent relationship with God. At that time I had nothing more than an attraction to the music that we sang and a vague feeling that I should be more involved at my church. Six years later I look back and can see the amazing work that God has done in me and those around me through this time. It has struck me since that, no matter how unworthy we may be, God uses and reaches to us where ever we are in our lives.

I wrote many of the songs on this album during different times in my spiritual and musical journey and so I originally thought of "Arms Open Wide" more as a collection of songs than an album. I later realised, however, that this is exactly how I have seen God's plan in my life. I see a set of seemingly differing and unrelated experiences and relationships that happened at different times in my life that have come together to form me into the person I needed to be to achieve those things I asked him for in prayer. The recording and release of this album was a result of this plan. And so it is this that is the album's overall theme: we often encounter events that seem random and varied in our lives. We may not always see the bigger picture in God's plan for us. But the plan is always there and its purpose is always our own personal prosperity (even if parts may sometime seem too random or pointless to be part of the picture). If you don't believe me see Jeremiah 29: 11-13. Life is hard and challenging but ultimately if we place our trust in him completely, his plan will come true in our lives. This is the idea behind the album cover and the idea that I believe reflects my sentiments behind my work on this album.

Since this album holds songs from different chapters in my journey in faith thus far, it is diverse in terms of musical styles and content but is generally an easy listening experience and circles the central theme of praise and worship. The songs were written to be sung and prayed, and the purpose of releasing an album was to ensure that as many as possible could do so. It is for the glory of God, and an increased sense of community and unity in praise and worship and not for any one's own glory or fame. I wish all praise to go to our Lord through their singing (and their creation) and so I encourage anyone who feels a call to sing to him to take it up, pick up a guitar and strum along with these songs. The lyrics and chords are up here for this reason.

Arms Open Wide Tracklist:

01 How Great 4:16

02 Arms Open Wide 3.33

03 Light From Light 3:14

04 Back for Help 3:58

05 Hosanna 3:48

06 Adoration 3:32

07 Painted Wings 5:34

08 Stunned Silent

09 Redeemed 4:26

10 Stand Up! 3:42

11 Praise the Lord 3:27

12 The End Will Never Come 3:30

Arms Open Wide Banner

ARMS OPEN WIDE

Arms Open Wide is a journey of faith.
It is an expression of a deep longing to know God.

It is the realization that we are more than just the sum of our parts.
That we are more with him by our side than we could ever have become on our own.
That though the world can be corrupt, it need not be a place of sorrow and conflict.
That diversity and difference and seeming contradiction can produce an offering, through Jesus Christ, that is all the more beautiful and complete for the adversity it has overcome.
The world can sing praise to the God of all the ages and sing in harmony, crying “How great is our God, praise the Lord and Hosanna in the highest” to a God who created infinity and who can still be found in our most intimate thought, and in the silence of our hearts.

It is the willing offering of our lives as a mirror to reflect Jesus’ light to the world.
It is our rallying battle-cry of praise and worship.
It is openness and trust in a king who showed us how to love and live…
Arms Open Wide.

 

Thanks and acknowledgements

This project has been an incredible experience for me.  It has been a journey that has taken over a year to complete and I have to confess that I have enjoyed every second of it.  There are so may people who have shared this journey with me, helped me on my way at times and virtually carried me during others and so I have many people to thank for their amazing enthusiasm, commitment and self-sacrifice though out this period. 

Firstly and most obviously I must offer this up to, and honour, Jesus Christ.  You are my source, inspiration, enabler and teacher and never has that been more so than it has over this period.  Many thanks to Duncan Todd who has been so envolved and accommodating in this project on so many levels:  producer, musician, advisor, recording technichian and friend.  I cannot find the words to express my gratitude to you in helping make this dream a reality.  Thanks to Byron John for all the vocal and guitar work on the album and, at the end of the day, for being the reason I showed up at band practice (some 6 years ago) with a guitar I couldn’t play ready to join in.  If not for you guys in the Victory Park music ministry and Soulsummit my life may have followed a very different path. …So thanks to the old school music ministry as well as Darryl White, Julie Brenner, Anthony Davies and Jeremy Craig for being part of that. Thanks to Jeremy for all the hard work on Light form Light: it is greatly appreciated.  Thanks Julie for the keys and vocals on the album and for all the musical direction and help you’ve given over the years.  Thanks to Rajwin  Chandy for all the hard work you put into the CD artwork and photography for this project, it has really made the album complete in the best possible way.  Thanks Jakub Szuman for enduring great pains to send me the guitar that helped me to write almost half these songs.  Thanks Thanyani Mariba for working with me on the Zulu and Xhosa lyrics.  Thanks to Justin Gent for all the help through live drum recordings and to Hugh Hunt for your fresh perspective and authority on all things rock-related.  And thanks for percussion to the Sherwinator! For backing vocals thanks to Brad Page, Mila Szchechina, Sherwin PrimRajwin Chandy, Thalia Ferreira, Catherine Zoghby, Stacey Williams and Nicole Rodregues for the commitment and enthusiasm with which you all pulled together.  Thanks to Singles for Christ (Andrew, Branden, Andy, Chris, Noel, Dave, Mark…) for all the support and help in inspiring songs like “Back for Help”, “How Great” and “Stand Up!”
Finally I would like to honour everyone mentioned above.  I am blessed not only to have been influenced by your musical ability but I am blessed to know you all as friends.  Thank you all for this self-sacraficing love that you have shown and continue to show me each day.

Thanks to my family: John, Sharon and Shan for being behind me all the way in this calling of mine.  For all the support, love and tolerance you have shown through it all.  You really are the reason I have been able to persist and improve in my musical ability.  You are the reason this is all possible.  Thanks to Nan for telling me to believe in myself and to Bob for teaching me my very first song (“and when I die and when I die, don’t bury me at all…” :-).

And finally to Shirley Marchant to whom this album is dedicated in memory of.  It is most likely that I got my musicality from you gran.  Thank you for your selfless love and the constant encouragement.  I know you would have enjoyed each of these songs.  But I guess that’s cheating because you liked whatever I sang.

 

Arms Open Wide logo

 

Thanks to Rajwin Chandy for all the hard work on the photography and cover design. And thank you to Duncan Todd from Shilling Fox recording studios for the many long hours of recording, mixing and production on the album above and beyond office hours, professionalism and what courtesy required. If you are in need of graphic design, photgraphy or recording mixing and/or mastering; please follow the links below. You will not be disappointed!
Rajwinography www.shillingfox.com